Barca Academy soccer players celebrating after a goal against Portland Timbers Academy

Player Insider: The Decision

Player Insider

Julian, Barça Academy U-17 Captain

March 22, 2018

The Decision

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave my home in Lompoc, but I decided to do it for a better future for myself and for my family. I have always loved the sport of soccer and I have always figured that it will take me to places I could have never imagined going. So far, it has taken me to Argentina, France, and Japan. Most recently, soccer has taken me to Arizona, as I joined the Barcelona Academy from Santa Barbara Soccer Club. It was a tough decision to make, but I haven’t looked back since.

Since I received my first call up with the US National Team just last year, I had been approached by many MLS academies that felt that if I joined, they could bring my talents to the next level. LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders, and Portland Timbers were some of my suitors just to name a few. However, after visiting many of these academies, I just didn’t feel like I had found the right fit just yet. Furthermore, it concerned me that these MLS academies would be able to hold my rights, which would limit my ability to enter the draft freely if I were to go to college, or would prevent me from returning to the MLS later in my career to the team of my choice. When I heard about Barça Academy, which was connected to a historic academy in Spain rather than an MLS club, I felt a calling. Upon visiting, I knew that this was the place for me. I could train and develop at the highest level without any concern of an MLS team having my rights. Barça Academy allowed me to chase my dream to become a professional soccer player without making any immediate sacrifices. I am truly grateful for that.

The beginning was difficult, but I have enjoyed every second of it. I have had to get used to living with a roommate, especially since I like to listen to music very loudly. Training three times a day is a distinct difference from training three times a week, which was my regiment in Santa Barbara. The first training can sometimes come at 5 AM, which is something I also had to get used to. Overall, I really enjoy how personalized this experience is. Both in the classroom and on the field, I am able to ask questions whenever they pop up in my head. The coaches and teachers are here to make me a better person, player, and student all at the same time. It is a unique experience that I am excited to continue. Overall, there have been some growing pains and some things I must still get used to, but I am glad I joined the Barça Academy and I am looking forward to the years to come. A huge thank you to Barça Academy for getting me one step closer to fulfilling my dream.

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