Barca Academy Experiences Growing Pains


Barça Academy won an impressive 4 of 5 matches last weekend but unfortunately, they had opposing results this weekend. Barça Academy won just 2 of 6 matches this weekend. With a win coming from the U-15s on Saturday and another on Sunday by the U-18s.

The weekend started on Saturday as the U-15s played in Pleasanton, CA against the Northwest region competitors, Ballistic United, in the first match of their weekend doubleheader.

In very windy conditions, the U-15s managed to successfully implement the Barça style of play and capture a 4-2 win over Ballistic United. Barça Academy opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a goal by Frank Alvarez, assisted by Cayden Clark. Controlling the tempo of the game, Barça Academy entered halftime up 1-0.

Ballistic United equalized right out of halftime in the 45th minute. The tie did not last long as Luc Mikula scored his first goal of the season in the 49th minute to aid Barça to a 2-1 lead. Barça Academy doubled their lead in the 69th minute when Jacob Spurgiesz netted his first goal of the season with a wonderful strike. Barça Academy experienced some difficulties defending corners and set pieces in the last 20 minutes of the game against a taller Ballistic United team who capitalized and scored in the 74th minute, bringing themselves back into the game at 3-2. Barça Academy’s youngest team didn’t panic and showed they are maturing at a very fast pace as they quickly responded in the 80th minute when Clark gained his second assist of the game on a great pass to Diego Zaldivar, who’s goal capped off the match. Barça Academy went on to defeat Ballistic 4-2, moving to 2-2 on the season.

Barça Academy U-16s also played on Saturday when they faced Avondale United in Scottsdale, AZ. Despite dominating the ball and creating a multitude of chances, Barça Academy U-16 team fell 1-0 to Avondale United in an Arizona State League (ASL) clash.

Barça Academy started the match on the front foot and carved out several chances in the early goings. Andrew David came closest to opening the score in the 15th minute after good build-up play found the winger unmarked in the box. His side-footed effort looked destined for the back of the net but was scrambled away off the line by a defender. Avondale United would open the scoring just moments later when direct play cut Barça Academy’s defense open and left goalkeeper Felix Schmidt exposed. The remainder of the half passed by without incident and Avondale United took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Coach Brady Taylor’s halftime team talk certainly drew a reaction from his players, as they were once again dominant in possession to start the second half, but added attacking impetus that was lacking in the first period of play. It only took eight minutes for the first clear-cut chance of the second half to materialize. Isael Soto played a lovely weighted through ball that cut the defense open and released Nick Bisagno down the left channel. Bisagno kept his composure to slot past the onrushing goalkeeper, but a covering defender managed to slide in a clear off the line for the second time in the match. Barça Academy had a multitude of chances in the second half. A late flurry of attacking play saw chances fall in quick succession to David, Bisagno and Alejandro Carrasco, but all three saw their efforts blocked in a crowded penalty area. Barça Academy fell 1-0 on Avondale United game-winning goal in the 15th minute of the game.

“It’s a learning process, like we talk to these boys,” said Taylor after the match. “It’s not about the result, it’s about taking that next step forward and understanding what we do now, how do we learn from this, what are the positives we take from this situation, and how do we grow.”

The U-16s game rounded out Saturday’s competition putting Barça Academy at 1-1 for the weekend.

Barça Academy competed on Sunday in Sacramento, CA against Northwest region force, Sacramento Republic FC (SRFC), who derailed Barça Academy, beating them in all three matches.

The U-15s opened on Sunday morning, on less than a 24-hour turnaround from Saturday, to face SRFC in their second and final match of their weekend doubleheader.

Head Coach, Ged Quinn, made a number of changes to the starting lineup to combat the quick turnaround time, “It naturally took a little time for the guys to adjust” said Quinn about their play in the opening minutes of the game.

Barça Academy got off to a slow start in the first half, giving up an early goal to SRFC in just the 4th minute of the game. In the 15th minute Barça Academy had a golden opportunity to find a quick equalizer, however, Dante Williams missed an open net with a long-range effort after the SRFC goalkeeper gifted the ball away 25 yards away from goal. Barça Academy then saw another chance 4 minutes later on a free kick from Edwin Arias that found Frank Alvarez who volleyed the ball just over the bar.

In the final minute of the half, SRFC tapped in an untimely goal after an initial save by Emiliano Andraux, giving SRFC a 2-0 advantage going into halftime.

Down 0-2, Barça Academy responded quickly in the start of the second half, but Caden Clark (twice) and Jacob Spurgiesz couldn’t finish off three great chances in the early goings of the second half. SRFC countered off of Barça’s failed attempt in the 53rd minute and again in the 58th off Barça Academy’s run of play, widening their lead to 4-0.

Despite the result, Barça Academy players showed true grit and fighting spirit and continued with their relentless attacks in search for their first goal of the game and trying to get back into the match. Nonetheless, the missed chances continued as Dylan Akau, who brought plenty of energy down the right side in the 2nd half, send another great cross into the penalty box where Juan Verdugo was inches short of connecting with a header right in front of the goal. Akau then missed his own scoring chance after a wonderful build-up play by Barça Academy in the 64th minute and Andres Zavaleta’s header went inches wide a minute later. And after all these wasted opportunities, SRFC scored their fifth goal in the 69th minute after yet another counter-attack. Barça Academy caught a bit of a break and pulled one back shortly after in the 71st minute on an own goal after Clark’s shot was deflected into his own net by SRFC defender. Five minutes later, Barça Academy scored in the 76th minute on a combination play by Mikula and Williams that set Juan Verdugo up for his second goal of the season. Barça pulled within 3 goals, 5-2, before SRFC scored the final goal of the match in the 78th minute, beating Barça Academy 6-2.

“The timing of the goals hurt us in this one”, said Quinn after the match. ” Conceding a second goal just before halftime was tough but I thought our guys reacted excellently to start the second half and the third goal for them came completely against the run of play. Had we been able to convert on one of our chances earlier it could have been a different outcome. Individual errors ultimately cost us in this game and although I think the 6-2 scoreline was harsh on our guys I do believe it was a great learning experience for them and something we can look to improve upon moving forward.”

The U-17s took the field next in their unfortunate 2-4 loss to SRFC. Barça Academy was played very well in the first half, executing the Barça style of play. “I was extremely pleased with how the team played for the majority of the game especially the first half as we were composed and patient in possession and controlled the tempo throughout the first half which was one of our objectives.” Said Academy Director and U-17s Head Coach Sean McCafferty.

Matthew Hoppe converted on a PK in the 10th minute of the game to open the scoring. Barça Academy played sound and controlled possession for the majority of the first half. Hoppe struck again in the 43rd minute, scoring his second goal of the day, after a brilliant through ball by Roberto Molina. With great play and controlled possession, Barça Academy entered into halftime with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Down 0-2, SRFC high pressed after halftime and scored three consecutive goals within the first 10 minutes of the second half. SRFC completely changed the momentum of the game within that ten minutes and took the lead 3-2. Barça had a few scoring opportunities to equalize but could not see them through. SRFC scored for a final time in the 71st minute beating Barça Academy 4-2.

“To Sac Republics credit, they high pressed us in the sending half, we dealt with it well and created a couple of good chances to go 3-0 up but then a couple of individual errors in a 10 minute meltdown period meant we found ourselves 4-2 down with the game completely turned upside down,” said McCafferty, “I’m pleased with a lot of areas of our game at this point in the season but we need to learn when to relieve pressure defensively and play out of our defensive third as we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with poor individual decisions that seem to be resulting in goals every single time!”

The U-19s capped off competition in Sacramento, once again, the pressure was on them as they had the last chance to bring home points for Barça Academy.

The U-19s played a solid first half, they created 2 very sound scoring opportunities for themselves early in the match but unfortunately could not capitalize. SRFC opened scoring in the 14th minute, taking an early 1-0 lead. SRFC would score again in the 37th minute, earning themselves a 2-0 at the half.

Post-game, McCafferty said, “The first half was a very even game in which there were some excellent passages of play but unfortunately we missed 1-2 very easy opportunities and credit to Sac Republic they took theirs and we found ourselves down 2-0 having played reasonably well in the first half”.

Sacramento Republic FC continued off of the momentum they created in the first half to put the game out of reach for Barça Academy in the second half. SRFC went on to score four unanswered goals in the half to shut out Barça Academy 6-0 in what McCafferty described as the “worst [second half] performance of the season”. McCafferty also stated that, “[The second half] was simply not up to the standard that the team has set for themselves so we will be working very hard with this group after the fall break to get them back on track”.

The Academy teams traveled home winning just one of four games on the road this weekend.

The Pre-Academy U-18 team played at home on Sunday in an exciting APL showdown against FC Bravo. Bravo opened the scoring in the 5th minute of play, taking an early 1-0 lead. Barça Academy responded with the equalizer in the 20th minute on a goal by Emilio Echerivel, who dribbled to the inside of the field and scored from just outside the box. Barça Academy’s second goal came in the 30th minute on a goal by Fidel Rangel-Gallardo. FC Bravo played very direct soccer in the match, attempting to quickly move the ball forward but Barça did a great job keeping Bravo’s efforts at bay.

The teams entered halftime with a score of 2-1 in Barça’s favor. Barça Academy continued to control possession for the majority of the second half, earning themselves a few scoring opportunities that they were not able to convert on. Barça Academy, who had a slim 2-1 lead, lost four players due to injury in the last 10 minutes of the game. Wounded, Barça Academy gave up five shots on goal in the last 10 minutes of the game, but goalkeeper, Djibril Doumbia heroically denied all five shots and helped his team secure an eventfully exciting 2-1 win over Bravo.

Coach Cristian Lopez was very pleased with his players for their poised performance. The U-19s have improved each game and are now on a 3-game winning streak.

Barça Academy rounded out the weekend with 2 wins and 4 losses as they continue to improve and implement the Barça style of play.



U-15: Barça Academy 4 vs. Ballistic United 2 | September 23, 2017

U-19: Barça Academy 0 vs. Sacramento Republic FC 6 | September 24, 2017

U-17: Barça Academy 2 vs. Sacramento Republic FC 4 | September 24, 2017

U-15: Barça Academy 2 vs. Sacramento Republic FC 6 | September 24, 2017


U-16: Barça Academy 0 vs. Avondale United 1 | September 23, 2017

U-18: Barça Academy 2 vs. Bravo FC 1 | September 24, 2017


Barça Academy will have a bi-weekend September 29 – October 1 and will return to action October 7th at home against the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy. The games will be held at Grande Sports World on Fields 7 and 8 beginning at 9:00 a.m. (PT).


Denis Silva, Academy Director

“This weekend our teams showed progression in the style of game, but we didn´t compete as we need to. Barça style of playing is difficult for success without the necessary sense of how to compete. Dominating the boxes and controlling the tempo of the match are a few things we will work on this week once we have started to play with our style. As soon as possible, we will create a winning mentality, because Barça is not only about playing beautifully, but also winning.

We call this EXCELLENCE when our teams play the right way of Barça; the behavior of the players and the coaches, are respecting the sport’s values and winning. When these three aspects are done, we can say we the success is excellence. We have a long trip to found that”.

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