Bayern Munich have selected the final 20 aspiring footballers for their World Squad 2022 initiative in cooperation with Volkswagen, designed to give U19 players from structurally weaker regions a stage to showcase their abilities, and encourage cultural exchange.
The lucky 20 will get the chance to move one step closer to fulfilling their dream of becoming professional footballers, honing their skills at a nine-day training camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they will play matches against the likes of CR Flamengo and Vasco da Gama U19s. The World Squad then have the opportunity to showcase what they have learned in a game against Bayern's U19s at the Allianz Arena, scheduled for 16 July.
“The Bayern World Squad project has developed successfully in just its first year,” said club sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. “We’re very much looking forward to seeing gifted youngsters from all over the world. In José Mulato from Colombia, whose development we’re following closely as part of our cooperation with FC Dallas, one of the players from last year has already been handed a professional contract, and many of the other players are on the radar of their respective youth national teams since the World Squad. It’s an excellent springboard.”
Andreas Jung, Bayern’s head of marketing added: “We’re very happy with how phenomenally the Bayern World Squad project has developed. With this initiative, Bayern and Volkswagen want to promote talented youth players from around the world, give individuals a chance from regions that are sometimes structurally weak, and generally contribute to a cultural exchange. Talents from different nations with different cultural backgrounds, united through FC Bayern – this international flagship project is another example of the central values of our club: diversity, tolerance and cohesion.”
Watch: Bayern's Dallas connection
A total of 2,604 players - born in either 2004 or 2005 - from 106 nations applied to be part of the programme by submitting video clips to a coaching team led by former Bayern captain and FIFA World Cup winner Klaus Augenthaler.
José Mulato, one of last year’s World Squad players, signed his first professional contract this season. As part of the talent development partnership between Bayern and FC Dallas, the Colombia U19 international has joined North Texas SC, Dallas’s feeder club, on loan for the rest of the year.
The complete journey of the youngsters, from training to the selection process to the match against the Bayern youth team in Munich, will again be documented in a multi-part series in late autumn this year, so that fans can watch as the dream of becoming a professional footballer takes shape.
Why Sadio Mane deserves to win the Ballon d'Or
There is stiff competition - notably from Real Madrid's Karim Benzema - but the Bayern Munich star has a strong case for adding the prize to his African Player of the Year award.
Official Bundesliga transfer centre: Summer 2022
All the official ins and outs at your favourite Bundesliga club...
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens signs new Borussia Dortmund contract
The England U19 winger has celebrated his first Bundesliga goal by signing a deal that ties him to the club until 2025.