The Barca Academy Wraps Inaugural Winter Camp & Attracted Top Players From Around The Country
It is only the first year — and already the Barca Academy program is one of the very few youth soccer organizations in the USA whose registration for their soccer camps and tryout dates filled up quickly — way in advance. Barca Academy is already setting new standards and had more players at U.S. Soccer’s first ever U.S. Soccer Men’s YNT Summit Camp than many MLS clubs.
Soccer News: The famous Futbol Club Barcelona, commonly known as Barça, is one of the ultra top professional soccer clubs in the world. Kicked off over a century ago in 1899, it is known for being ‘more than a club’ — “Més que un club”— and is home to Lionel Messi.
FC Barcelona’s only residential youth soccer academy outside of their prized La Masia facility in Barcelona Spain is Barca Academy at Grande Sports World (GSW) in Arizona. This inaugural season has attracted top players from the U.S. and around the world who came to Grande Sports World to develop their their skills with guidance from the Spanish giant.
Barca Academy is a U.S. Soccer Development Academy with a very high coach to player ratio and an emphasis on playing Barcelona style soccer.
With a holistic approach to player development with Arizona State University Prep on campus, the complete residency program offers a real immersion in to European-style player development.
“We have established a reputation of having one of the best training facilities in the US and have won the “Best Training Facilities” award by US Soccer for three consecutive years,” says Tim Alai, General Manager. “We have earned a reputation of success with 100% of our graduates receiving a college scholarship or signing a professional contracts. Our graduates have also have won consecutive Division I NCAA National Championships.”
“We are FC Barcelona’s only official residential academy in the USA and the only ones that provide residential camps in the United States,” says Alai. “Our talented FC Barcelona and Barca Academy coaches provide an exceptional learning experience while having fun and making new friends.”
“This is the only place in the United States like this.”
The Barca Academy sold out winter camp sessions ended recently and were highly successful. What made these programs so popular? Is it the fact that Barca has coaches from Spain living and training on site or that it is the first and only official, full-time FC Barcelona youth residency academy in the world — outside of Spain? What is for certain is that the coaches at the academy were pleased with the elite players who attended.
We were able to get some immediate reflections from Barca Academy coaches on the success of the week-long camp. In today’s highly competitive youth soccer market, it is remarkable how quickly the camp registration filled up with players eager to explore the program. Here is the our scoop:
Sean McCafferty – Academy Director says “It was an amazing week. We were excited to host over 100 players from all over the United States as well as international countries such as Germany, India, Mexico and Canada at our inaugural Barça Academy Winter Camp. It turned out to be a week none of us will forget.”
“The coaching staff thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the players on and off the field during the week of camp,” said McCafferty. “Being a residential program affords a great opportunity to immerse the players in our Barca-style of soccer and the feedback we have received on the camps has been fantastic.”
“The Barça training methodology combined with the top-class facilities, highly qualified/experienced coaching staff, and talented player pool resulted in the best soccer camp I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of,” said McCafferty.
“We look forward to seeing the these campers at our 2018 Summer Camps as well as new players who are interested in being exposed to the world renown FC Barcelona training methodology.”
“It was an enjoyable week where soccer players from all ages were introduced to the FCB philosophy with its unique style of play and its incomparable training methodology,” said Xavi Bravo, the new Technical Director at Barca Academy who replaced Denis Silva who was called back to Spain to take over the FC Barcelona’s Elite U18 team.
Bravo coached with FCB at La Masia for 14 years before becoming the head coach of the Hong Kong Football Association’s Development Academy where he spent the last four years.
“All the players were exposed to the rondos, positional games and small sided games like ‘La Masia’ players do every day and they showed a great performance and an amazing progression throughout the week!”
Agustin Peraita, the new coach of the U18s said, “I have coached in Barça soccer camps in other cities in the US, Brazil and even in Spain.”
“The camp hosted at Barça Academy in AZ was the most impressive of all them, including the ones at La Masia.”
Prior to joining Barca Academy, Peraita was Project Manager and a coach for the Sao Paulo FCBEscola in Brazil.
“Living on the facilities, wearing the Barça Academy gear, being trained twice a day in the Barça way by Barça Academy coaches is a unique experience … and for those talented players who did great, this can be an opportunity for an invitation to move in.”
The main objective of the winter and summer camps is to provide players ages 10-17 with the Barca Academy experience. Players are able to live and learn just like the elite residential Barca Academy players.
“The coaches at Barca are fully committed to developing the person — as well as the player, so our goal is for campers to leave with a better understanding of the dedication, character, team-work & mental toughness that is required to succeed in a world-class talent development environment,” says Miha Kline, Director of Recruiting.
The Barca Academy winter and summer camps are 6-day residential programs. The camp fee include accommodations for five nights on campus, four meals per day, training gear, assigned personal locker and a Barca Academy camp t-shirt.
Each day of training is specified to teaching a different training objective, there are 2-3 training sessions a day, a group outing later in the week and “gameday” on the last day of camp where campers put their newly learned tactics on display.
Each player is provided a player evaluation 7-10 days after the camp.
Besides the international youth soccer players who attended this recent winter camp, players also came from twenty-four states across the USA: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, HI, MD, MN, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, PA, TX, UT, VA, WA and WI.
The next Barca Academy summer camps start June 3, 2018, and end July 27, 2018, with one, two, three, four, six and eight-week options.
If you are interested, don’t wait — I know several youth soccer coaches who wanted their own kids to attend the camp and were too slow to register their kids only to find out the programs were sold out.