Players arrived at Grande Sports World earlier this month to begin training for the inaugural Barça Academy season.
It’s not easy leaving home during summer to chase your dreams, but for over 60 soccer players from around the country that’s just what they did. While their peers were enjoying the last bit of summer, Barça Academy players began arriving on campus in late July to get settled in for what will prove to be an exciting year both on the field and in the classroom. Taking full advantage of the facilities they’re privy to in Casa Grande, players have met the teammates, classmates, coaches, teachers, and staff who will help them achieve their individual goals for the year. Keeping with FC Barcelona’s famous motto, “Mes que un club,” at Barça Academy one of the most-stressed ideas is that everyone is one big family and that everything that happens together off the field carries the same importance as anything achieved together on the field.
In the classroom
August 1st saw the start of school at Arizona State University’s Preparatory Academy, Barça Academy’s on-campus high school affiliated with one of the best universities in the country. The school is attended by not only Barça Academy players, but also by kids from the surrounding communities. Three weeks into school, players have adjusted to their daily schedules which mix both field and classroom work throughout the day. Players attend classes at ASU Prep from 8am to 2pm, but both before and after school they mix in on-field training, whether it’s positional work or with the full team.
Earlier this month students took the first of four yearly benchmark tests to help teachers in understanding the needs of each student. One of the benefits for students at ASU Prep is that they receive a lot of one-on-one time in order to ensure they are adapting to life at Barça Academy, taking advantage of the best individualized learning methods, and making school work as big a priority as soccer.
On the field
Three weeks into life in Casa Grande, players become more and more immersed in the FC Barcelona training methodology that makes them one of the most recognized and successful clubs in the world. Two or three times a week, players will train from 5:45am to 7:15am prior to school – what a way to kick start the day! More time on the ball and more time around teammates is a great way to develop and foster a successful culture. After school, players will again head out to the on-campus fields and train as a team using the same training drills as FC Barcelona.
In case you missed it, last week we announced the hiring of Denis Silva as the first Barça Academy Technical Director. Silva’s hire takes the program to a whole new level, as he brings a wealth of experience from many years spent coaching FC Barcelona’s youth teams at La Masia. For more information about Denis’ background and what he brings to Barça Academy, please visit our previous blog post. You can also read an exclusive interview with GoalNation where Denis talked about what he’s looking forward to, how players in this country differ from others he’s coached, and much, much more.
As we look ahead, Barça Academy begins their inaugural run in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy on Saturday, September 2nd in Casa Grande against the Seattle Sounders Academy.
Tots som Barcelona
Following the unfortunate events in Barcelona on Thursday, August 17th, Barça Academy players and staff held a minute of silence prior to a friendly to show support for victims and the people of Barcelona.