The freedom of actually choosing a club is a privilege that very few footballers in training get to experience. Even fewer have had offers put on the table by two historical Spanish clubs. In this case, Cádiz CF and Granada CF.
Paco Benítez (Huelva, 2002) has worked hard, and always known exactly what to strive for. He arrived, as a trainee of ‘Marcet Professional Program 16/17’, with the idea of pushing his abilities with an elite training that would help him make the crucial leap to a club. No sooner said than done.
Last summer he made it to trials for two of the most important Andalusian teams, which, according to the player himself, he affronted “with the confidence in knowing that he knew he was going to do well”. But one doesn’t just get a call from Cádiz CF and Granada CF for nothing.
“Paco showed a very professional attitude and constant interest in improvement from the very beginning. He was concerned with his rest so as to be at his best for when the time came to compete and didn’t switch off when on holiday; staying in touch with his trainers for the sake of his physique”, says Moisés Falces, physical trainer of the Program.
When the time came to make a decision, Moisés claimed that the player’s “well placed mindset” played its part. The Huelva born athlete explains, “I knew right off the bat that Cádiz was the best place to grow both as a player and a person”.
Nevertheless, the pressure put on a footballer in this situation couldn’t be more intense. For a professional, making the right decision at the right time can affect the rest of his or her life. Today, Benítez is indisputably in the starting eleven for the Cádiz team’s under-sixteen ‘Honour Division’. He’s the player with the most minutes on-pitch in the whole team and has the pleasure of “competing every weekend with teams such as Sevilla, Málaga, Granada and Betis”, admits Paco. A far from gratuitous privilege:
“This forces me to never slow down, every weekend has its challenge. I have to have a different disposition and headset in my day to day”, explains the Cádiz CF player referring to his new life at the team.
The centre back defender acknowledges and appreciates his experience as a student of the Marcet High Performance Academy. “I improved in my awareness of forwards and in my decision-making. I also managed to keep up with the targets set by my coaches.” Far from being a problem, the fact that he was the youngest constituent in the team throughout the year of his stay at Marcet gave him more confidence; something he always thanks to his trainer, Pere Tarradellas, who helped him to gain assurance.
On a more personal note, his year as a scholar at Marcet provided him a step forward with regard to maturity: “At the age of thirteen and over a thousand kilometers from home, I coexisted with people from around the world, many of whom being six or seven years older than myself. All of this coming together to help me grow as a person, so I confronted the situation with all the strength I had because I was fully aware of what I could learn from my experience at Marcet”.
Having reached his first goal, Paco Benítez isn’t about to relax. “I won’t settle for just anything”, he prompts. The next step is establishing himself as a professional football player. Moisés Falces is certain that Paco is no doubt heading in that direction “by virtue of his professional mentality alongside playing in one of the sport’s highest demanding positions: left-footed centre back.
Thanks to said competitive advantages and his persistent and ambitious spirit, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise seeing him make all the right decisions in Ramón de Carranza Stadium as a player of the main team.