Player Insider: A Dream Come True

Written by: Andres, U-15 Barça Academy Player

January 18, 2018

Being at the Barça Academy has been the best thing that has happened to me. Living as a Barça Academy player gives you a taste of the professional life of a soccer player. The Barça and ASU staff are awesome and have made my transition from home very easy. The fact that I always have the Barça family here to support me through the good times and the bad is a good feeling.

Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for the game and wanted to play at the highest level and always pushed myself to get better. Since I started playing at the age of three, I knew that the ball and the game was going to be my passion.

I grew up playing in El Paso, TX where soccer is very popular and there are a lot of very good players. In fact, some of my past teammates have gone on to play for MLS academies and are also part of the US National Team pools.  I’m very proud to have been able to play with those types of players growing up. At a young age, my club team would travel to tournaments in Arizona and California and it gave me the opportunity to see and play against the best players in those states. This motivated me to want more, I would train and train, as much as I could. A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to play for the New Mexico Rush which played in a U.S. Soccer regional league where the competition was a lot higher. When I started playing in that regional league, I could see that the competition was better and I was excited. I had to adapt to a different style of play to be able to compete. But I was up for the challenge so I kept training and working hard.

My next goal was to play in the Development Academy league, but the problem was the closest team was either 400 miles in one direction or 800 miles away in the other direction. I kept training hard, hoping that one day I would get a chance.

Last year when I attended the Nike ID2 camp at Grande Sports World, I was amazed at how cool the soccer facilities were. I remember telling myself that I had never seen fields this green, especially since I was used to playing on brown grass and dirt back home. I had never seen a gym the size of the one here. I loved the facility!!

When I heard that there was going to be an academy there at GSW, I asked my parents if I could try out.  I remember having a long talk with my parents about the responsibility and sacrifice of living away from home at such a young age, but I wanted to do it. I just wanted a chance to play at a higher level. I’m glad I was able to convince my parents and we made the decision to try out. While I was at the tryout in June, it was announced that GSW would be a Barça Residential Academy. What?! That was my favorite team! I had jerseys, fat heads on my walls, everything Barça ever since I was young. In fact, I wore the #6 for Iniesta. I remember I was even wearing a Barça jersey when it was announced.  I couldn’t believe it!  It was a dream come true to get the opportunity to play for a DA team, but playing for Barça was going to be even better.

Training here is awesome and different from any other club because we are learning to play the Barça Way.  Being here has shown me that I have a lot of things to improve on and that I have to work hard and focus 100% at every training session. But with the coaching here at the Barça Academy, it is easy to be motivated to work on what you need to improve on.

Being here has not only made me a better player, but I have become a better person. I have matured and realized how important your academics are in order to succeed in life, all thanks to the ASU Prep staff. My teammates and I have created a brotherhood that can’t be broken. You literally can’t take two steps without bumping into one of your brothers. We always help each other out no matter what, and that shows on the field. We have learned how important it is to be professional on and off the field since we are representing the Barça Academy.

I have been blessed and thank God, my family, and my Barça family for the opportunity to be here and represent the “Barça Badge”. To be playing at this level is what I have worked for and it motivates me to train hard every day. And if I do…. like my dad says “good things will come”. I want to thank all my coaches and teammates, past and present, for helping me get to where I am today.

I wake up every day thinking…this opportunity will not be wasted!!  I am having the time of my life here at the Barça Academy and I’m living out my dream and I know good things will come!

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