Lezama Academy & Facilities
Lezama is a town in the Bizkaian province of the Basque Country, located just 15 minutes from the city of Bilbao, and is home to Athletic’s youth academy (which is also called Lezama) and training facilities (known as the Lezama Sports Center). The facilities were inaugurated in 1971 in response to Athletic Club’s need and desire to have its own space for the first team to train and to have a basis for the youth academy. Lezama is the foundation on which Athletic has been built and is the focal point of the club’s philosophy of developing local players that represent and defend Athletic’s identity.
The first team, Women’s team, and ten youth teams train at Lezama. From professionals down to 11 year olds, everyone trains at the some location. Having all of the different ages and levels of competition close together on a daily basis has always been an intentional goal to build a family environment and community throughout the club as a whole.
The facilities are made up of four full-sized natural grass fields, one of which contains seating for up to 1,500 fans to watch games. There are also two full-sized artificial turf fields, as well as one mini artificial turf field. Also on site is a gymnasium for training, a medical center, press rooms, and residences for those enrolled in the academy. Clubs from all over the globe regularly visit Lezama to study how Athletic runs their world-famous academy and the Lions have always been open about sharing their success and ideas with anyone who is interested. Athletic invests heavily into Lezama in order to ensure that it is constantly updated and improving, but also aids other academies in the area.
Athletic’s unique approach to player development has received vast attention and is the reason for the club’s success with developing young players into exceptional professional footballers. At Lezama, the player is the focal point of development, not the club’s success. From a young age Athletic begins to teach players the fundamentals of the game of football, along with focusing on personal growth. Players not only receive a complete and well-rounded education of the game, but are also taught the important qualities and skills needed as a person as well as the values on which the club has established its identity. The goal of Lezama isn’t just to develop great footballers, but great people as well.