Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Escuela de Jorge Bauger (Dominican Republic)

Escuela Bauger, as they are more usually known, are must be one of the smallest teams in one of the smallest national leagues on the planet. Ostensibly the representative team of a chain of footballing schools across the island, they play in the Liga Mayor de Republica Dominicana, an eight team round robin of teams mainly from the country's two major cities - Santo Domingo and La Vega.

Hailing from the former, they have the option to play in the capital's 20,000 capacity Estadio La Barranquita, although as football is very much the minority sport in this baseball crazy country, they very rarely have the need to, instead favouring a number of much smaller local grounds.

They have been competing in the Dominican top flight for some time, and to our limited knowledge are perhaps the only school side in the world to have currently earned this lofty position.

The school's founder, Jorge Rolando Bauger himself, is also somewhat of an interesting character. Born in Argentina, he had a moderately successful playing career, first in his home country with lower league teams like Racing de Avellaneda and Misiones, then in France with Troyes and Dieppe. It was there he entered into coaching, and quickly became a respected youth coach for the FFF. Further travels saw him coaching in USA, before he found a home in the Dominican Republic where he subsequently set up his school.

But that's not all. he also sponsors, hosts and produces the nation's only televised cup competition, and has been their commentator for every World Cup since 1982. His main mission, he states, is to use football as an educational tool to help young people to attain the highest possible achievement, and to denounce those who attempt to discredit the sport - and we can all say amen to that!

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