Friday 17 August 2018, 10:37

Vilda according to Vilda

  • Jorge Vilda is a nominee for The Best FIFA Women's Coach 2018

  • His father was a fitness coach under Cruyff, Aragones and Heynckes

  • Father and son have worked together with Spain’s national women’s youth teams

No one is better qualified to champion Jorge Vilda’s nomination for The Best FIFA Women's Coach 2018 award than his father Angel, and not just for obvious reasons. Vilda Sr just happens to be an institution on the Spanish footballing scene.

During his career as a fitness trainer, he worked with some of the leading coaches in the world, including Luis Aragones at Atletico Madrid, Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, where he won a European Cup and four league titles, and Jupp Heynckes at Real Madrid, a stay that included the club’s seventh European Cup win. Angel also worked at Benfica and Athletic Club Bilbao, among other clubs, prior to making the move into the women’s game.

And while Vilda Sr worked, his son absorbed all things technical and tactical as he grew up, dreaming, as all children do, of becoming a great player one day.

“He had a lot going for him but he had the misfortune of suffering Osgood-Schlatter disease, a painful knee condition that affects young athletes and severely restricts their ability to play sport,” explained his father. “He had to rest up for a couple of years when he was a teenager, which ended his hopes of playing football at the highest level.”

The end of Jorge’s aspirations as a player brought with it a desire to move into coaching. After earning a degree in Physical Education, he obtained his coaching badge and completed his training with a master’s degree in injury rehabilitation. At the same time he worked for local club CD Canillas, which partners Real Madrid at grassroots level and for whom the children of Merengue legends such as Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Zinedine Zidane have all played.

Why does Jorge Vilda deserve to win The Best award?

"Because of his dedication and hard work, because he’s very thorough in his preparations, because of everything he’s been through, and because he fights hard to achieve his goals," explained Angel. "Though it’s an award that recognises what you’ve done over a single year, Jorge also deserves it for the career he’s had. He’s a very young coach who’s developed quickly and has huge potential.

The Vilda era in women’s football

Vilda Sr was appointed coach of Spain’s U-19 women’s team in 2005, and was joined five years later by Jorge and current U-20 Pedro Lopez. “Some very qualified people came into the team and that’s when things really started to change for Spanish women’s football.

“Working with my son has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. There’s not a day that goes by when Jorge doesn’t surprise me. He was born to win. Whenever an idea comes up, he runs with it, shapes it and makes it better. I’ve fed off him and I suppose he’s learned things from me too.

“He has pretty much taught himself, though. Football’s always evolving and he understands that perfectly. I always feel that he’s a step ahead of events. He’s ahead of the game in terms of the technical, tactical, physical and strategic side of things. He has a gift for knowing where things are headed.”

The Vildas and Spain’s women’s teams:

Angel Vilda

  • European Women’s U-17 Championship runner-up (2009)

  • European Women’s U-19 Championship runner-up (2012)

Jorge Vilda

  • Two-time European Women’s U-17 Championship winner (2010 and 2011)

  • FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014 runner-up

  • European Women’s U-19 Championship runner-up (2014 and 2015)

  • Algarve Cup (2017) and Cyprus Cup (2018) winner with the senior national team

“Football is a priority between us,” continued Angel. “We can start off talking about anything but we always end up talking about tactics. The family just puts up with it. Luckily, we have wonderful wives who support us, which is very important when you spend more than 200 days away from home every year. Jorge’s mother and wife both understand that. They’re amazing women.”

Another busy year of travelling and football lies ahead, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ coming up fast. Spain have already booked their place at the tournament, qualifying with two games to spare.

Delighted at his son’s success, Angel nevertheless urges caution, albeit from a distance: “After so many years in football, I know how hard it is to be a good assistant coach. But I’m not even a tenth assistant in relation to my son now. I watch, listen and stay quiet. I don’t interfere.”

And the reason for that is because Jorge’s time has come.

“He grew up in the best footballing university of the time, which was Cruyff’s Barça."