Athletic Club And CD Basconia Extend Partnership Agreement Through 2023
In 1997 Athletic entered into a unique relationship with local club CD Basconia. While the Zurigorri have many partnered clubs throughout the area, this specific agreement saw Basconia become an affiliate of Athletic to act as a feeder club. Essentially, Basconia became Athletic’s C team behind Bilbao Athletic and both clubs have reaped the rewards of the collaboration over the years.
Basconia has become the first step that most Lezama players take as professional footballers. Every year several starlets from Athletic Juvenil A are promoted to Basconia, though one rare occasions some will jump straight to Bilbao Athletic. This has given young footballers are more natural transition to life as a professional while Basconia benefits from fielding a very talented squad every year.
While the Basconia first team is made up of Lezama graduates or those who are signed to the squad by Athletic, the club still runs their own youth academy. In recent years, this has also become a benefit for a number of young players who would have been released from Lezama but were given the option to join Basconia in order to remain linked to Athletic.
Current stars such as Iñaki Williams and Yeray got their first taste of professional football at Basconia before going on to become key players at San Mamés. This has been the case for many other Athletic players and will continue for years to come. With the partnership contract between Athletic and Basconia set to expire at the end of the season, the two sides announced an agreementon Friday for a three-year extension that will run through 2023.
Athletic President Aitor Elizegi and Basconia President Juan Ignacio Azurmendi held the renewal ceremony at Lezama where they were accompanied by Bilbao Athletic captain Jon Sillero and Basconia captain Youssouf Diarra. Athletic’s Director of Partnered Clubs Martin Urrejola was also present for the event. When the agreement expires in 2023 the two clubs will have been in collaboration for over 25 years.
This season Basconia are coached by former Athletic player Patxi Salinas who is in his first year managing the team. After a slow start to the campaign, the Basauritarras have now gone eight straight games without defeat and are just two points off of the top four. More importantly, several players have taken an impressive step forward in their development and will be ready to move to Bilbao Athletic in the summer.