Associated with the great youth soccer projects of the last decades in Uruguay and trained in the Defensor Sporting school, the name of Juan Ahuntchain sounds strange in Boston River and in the divisional B of formative. However, behind that particular scenario, this 2020 closed with a historical consecration: the tailor club was champion in the five categories, in three of them undefeated and rose to the A of youth soccer of the Uruguayan Soccer Association (AUF).
At 68, Ahuntchain works Monday through Monday. From sunrise to sunset. And no one is surprised to see him every day in the club’s youth complex on Antel’s land, in Carlos A. López and Belloni, which was loaned to Boston River.
Ahuntchain, who in 1997 led Uruguay’s senior team, and then continued his professional development in youth, worked at Defensor Sporting until 2011, when Juan Pedro Damiani handed him the Peñarol youth project (2012-2017). In 2018 he was without activity and in 2019 he took the Boston River challenge.
He arrived in 2019 as a youth coordinator to start a five-year plan.
The blow of descent
It was found that for the first time the club had risen to A for training, but three points they lost in the AUF courts that season and the finals for remaining against Youth led to their relegation to B.
“The descent was logical, the club was not prepared to play in Serie A,” the youth coordinator honestly acknowledged.
When he arrived in 2019, he found “with a lot to do and work”, and with a reality very different from that of Defensor Sporting and Peñarol, a leading youth soccer team. From there, it was proposed to start preparing the Boston River players for the challenge of starting to be protagonists in the formations. The process is long and slow, and in the first stage he got all the youth titles in the B and the promotion.
“We had to start generating a change in identity. We did? The step back did us good, because we began to walk a new path. Having descended by those points that we lost in the AUF generated a commitment to return quickly and it was achieved ”, he explained.
He only lost five games
Boston River was champion of the five categories, Seventh, Sixth, Sub 16, Fifth and Fourth. Of 75 games he lost five. In four categories he had the least beaten fence, in three the tournament’s top scorer and in two categories he was undefeated champion.
Ahuntchain supervises the work of 200 footballers in training who are divided into about 50 from the school and 150 from youth.
They train on four courts in their sports complex that they must improve, he explains to Referee. The best of the four fields in the sports facilities is the one where they officiated as local.
“It is the great deficit that we have, for that reason the leaders began to work in the complex, because training in bad fields is counterproductive,” he points out.
For Ahuntchain, the silent work of being in every detail every day of the year is what allows us to advance on a path that generates rewards.
“There is no mystery in this. You have to work seriously, orderly, planned, and then put work, work and more work on it ”, he stressed.
The most difficult task, which is the one he has advanced in the last two years, was “to train the players to think with the head of footballers. Those who did not feel like it began to be left to the side ”.
In a team without a youth tradition, the steps are slow, because it has to attract players, discover talents, foster the spirit of growth.
“In principle, the five-year project, and in that time we aspire to position ourselves at a second level after Nacional, Peñarol and Defensor Sporting,” he said. “Five years is a reasonable time to know if the project is going well or not,” he added.
Violets, albos and aurinegros are the three strongest clubs in the youth divisions today. In terms of contribution to youth teams, Defensor Sporting is above the greats.
Then follow Liverpool, River, Wanderers, Danubio, a roster that Boston aspires to join.
“There you have to walk improving the infrastructure of the club, making a complex according to a First team and where parents want to bring the kids out of seriousness at work,” he says.
For the youth coordinator it is essential to advance in infrastructure, because they are the tools that can be given to young people who are starting in soccer.
In the growth and consolidation that the club had in youth, in addition to the successes in the B tournaments, Boston River announces with singular happiness that it has two players in the youth teams under 17, Pablo Furtado and Cristian De Vargas, an experience that was not happening in the club.
When Ahuntchain was consulted why he agreed to work at Boston River, a team with no youth tradition, which always played in B training and has little infrastructure, he explained: “If the projects are serious, I am not afraid of it, and I do not drop anything. by the team name. What interests me is that the projects are serious. So far it is like that and we hope to continue on that path, because the results are beginning to be seen ”.
In Boston River they understand that youth work “is the way for a club to be able to maintain itself, and that strengthens the project we have.”
What was it like working in the closure of the pandemic?
In this 2020, the youth coordinator went through the difficulties of the covid-19 pandemic in his training task, which, in the case of the training divisions, kept them for six months without competition, between March and September.
“They were difficult times for everyone, so it involved the closure, but at the same time with distance training we found a good response from the gurises,” he commented.
However, he spoke of his fears. “Yes, I had fears, because in complicated contexts I was worried that the gurises would grab for other things, that they would leave football. Note that before training was suspended in March, they spent the entire afternoon at the club, came home tired, and no longer wanted anything else. In the pandemic, although they trained, they had a lot of idle time. In that period we lost some, but we wanted the majority to remain motivated, and we succeeded ”, he concluded.
Who makes up the body of work in the Boston River juniors?
Coordinator: Juan Ahuntchain
Sub-coordinator: Alejandro Cichero
Physical trainers coordinator: Fernando Betarte
Fourth: Fernando Rodino
Fifth: Erardo Cóccaro
Sub 16: Ricardo Moller
Sixth Luis “Pelé” Cardozo
Seventh Diego González
School: Leon Bo
Coach: Sebastián Rivero
Physical trainers: Alan Figueredo, Guzmán Fernández, Gonzalo Cerri, Nicolás Buess
Goalkeeper coach: Fabrico Núñez
Kinesiologist: Sofía Porro
Doctors: Cecilia Etcheveste and Noreen Briceño
Psychologist: Germa’n Vikonis
Nutritionist: Jenny Pérez
Delegates: Jorge Salinas, Fernando Riva, Carlos García, Rosendo de los Santos, Osmar Valerio and Víctor Sánchez