Athletic Club Announce 10-Year Partnership Agreement With Antiguoko
Youth football is and has always been one of the biggest focuses and priorities for Athletic Club. Developing players for the first team has played a big role in the club’s success and, in addition to having one of football’s best academies, Athletic have also benefited from partnership agreements with other clubs from around the Basque Country.
Naturally, Athletic have many partnerships with youth clubs from Bizkaia, including the likes of Danok Bat, but their reach is vast. Athletic also have “agreed clubs” located in the other regions of the Basque Country which has seen a number of young players come to Lezama with hopes of one day taking the field at San Mamés.
The importance of having partnered clubs can’t be overstated and on Tuesday Athletic announced that a 10-year agreement has been signed with none other than Antiguoko. Historically a partnered club with Real Sociedad, Antiguoko’s contract with La Real expired three weeks ago and Athletic immediately started negotiations and moved quickly to secure a historic contract which was finalized today.
Antiguoko is a pillar of Basque football and one of the greatest youth academies in all of Euskal Herria. Historic players such as Xabi Alonso, Mikel Arteta, Andoni Iraola, and Aritz Aduriz came through Antiguoko before becoming stars. For years Antiguoko has supplied promising young footballers for Real Sociedad, but will now provide starlets for Athletic through 2030.
Athletic and Antiguoko have always had a good relationship even when Antiguoko served as a partnered club for Real Sociedad. While most of the top starlets went to La Real each year, some did choose to join Lezama instead. Iraola and Aduriz are the most famous players to do so, but Unai López, Gorka Guruzeta, and Peru Nolaskoain also did the same in what were controversial transfers at the time.
At this point it’s unclear why Real Sociedad and Antiguoko allowed their partnership agreement to expire. Antiguoko is, without question, one of the top academies in Gipuzkoa with over 200 young players from Alevines through Juvenil training to one day become professional footballers. Antiguoko also introduced women’s football back in April which will be important for Athletic. Signing a partnership agreement with Antiguoko is a massive deal for Athletic which will make Lezama even stronger over the next decade.
The contract was officially signed on Tuesday at Ibaigane by Aitor Elizegi and Antiguoko president Edorta Salegi. Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta was also present along with Óscar Beristain and Martín Urrejola, who is responsible for overseeing partnered clubs for Athletic. By partnering with Antiguoko, Athletic have extended their reach into the heart of Donosti and will have the opportunity to bring even more talented young players to the club.