Official Barca Academy Kicks Off
The Barça Academy at Casa Grande in Arizona just kicked off its inaugural season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Barça Academy is the famous Futbol Club Barçelona first and only full-time residency academy outside of La Masia in Barcelona Spain.
Known for being ‘more than a club’ — “Més que un club”— Barça is home to Lionel Messi.
In inaugural U.S. Soccer Development Academy games for the Barca Academy were played on Saturday, September 2, 2017, at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona.
For the first time ever, these two Barca Academy teams — U17 and U19 — played a competitive match. While the games were intensely competitive, the truly remarkable aspect of the strong action was that none of these boys really knew each other before 30 days ago.
Director of Coaching Sean McCafferty, along with the assistance of his talented staff and coaches, has created a powerhouse club overnight. While neither team won their match, both squads demonstrated their strengths and commitment to the beautiful game. These talented players are from all across the country — from Florida to Vermont, California to Minnesota and everywhere in between.
“Attracting players from all across the country provides a unique balance for the teams. Having players from different backgrounds is advantageous and for us, it gives us a better balance and a bit of diversity,” said McCafferty.
Everyone agrees that there is a target on the backs of those players wearing the prestigious FC Barcelona jersey.
“We are the new residential program in the Development Academy and we have the Barca name and what this represents, yes we have a target on our backs — we will get everyone’s best game, as we should and as we want,” said McCafferty.
As Denis Silva, Barca Academy’s Technical Director who arrived from LA MASIA in Barcelona, Spain only one month ago says, “This is just the beginning. Everyone in Spain knows it takes a lot longer than 30 days to develop players.”
“It is not easy for the players or the coaches —there is a real sense of pressure, representing Barca,” says Silva.
“The players are all focusing on what they are learning — and they are all serious about respecting our style of play. In two months, the players will be playing differently. In six months you will be able to see even more differences.”
“Our preparation has been excellent going into this new DA season and everyone has put in a lot of work to get to this point,” said McCafferty. “Our players have anywhere from 6 to 8 practices per week.”
“Being part of the Barca Academy is an amazing opportunity for these players — this is a difficult style of playing and we have been pleasantly surprised how quickly the players are picking up the Barca style of play,” said McCafferty.
FOCUS ON THE PLAYER
When asked if he felt the pressure to win, Silva said, “I don’t feel the pressure — We have a lot of time to make this work. The players are really listening to me, they are very kind with me and are they are very focused — and the coaches are very open to learning new things.”
“In the USA, the mentality is focused on winning the match,” said Silva. “My mentality is to have 22 players improve.”
Chris Little, U-17 Coach and Director of Coaching of the Seattle Sounders DA was on site for both matches with his staff.
Barca Academy vs Seattle Sounders DA Games
Barca Academy Coaches: Sean McCafferty – Director of Coaching, Gerard Quinn – Assistant Coach
Seattle Sounders Coaches: Chris Little – Director of Coaching, Josh Ford – Goalkeeper Coach, Anthony Hazelwood – Sports Performance Coach
The U17 Barca Academy vs Seattle Sounders match Recap:
“The U17 game was as exciting as it gets with some fantastic attacking football from both sides but as with any 5-4 game, the defending left a lot to be desired,” said McCafferty. ”
“We were very encouraged with areas of our game considering we had 28 days preparation with a group of players who have never played together,”said McCafferty. “We learned a great deal from the loss and we firmly believe the future is bright for this group of players.”
Ray Serrano Lopez scored the winning goal for Seattle Sounders, a Penalty Kick in the 90th minute which ended the 4-4 tie.
Final Score: U17 Barca Academy 4 – 5 Seattle Sounders
Goals From Barca Academy: Jake LaCava scored two goals, Roberto Molina and Cameron Fisher each scored one
Goals From Seattle Sounders: Ray Serrano Lopez scored three goals, Leo Burney and Daniel Robles each scored one
The U19 Barca Academy vs Seattle Sounders match Recap:
“The U19 game was closer than the scoreline suggested although we are fully aware that we need to add some pieces to the puzzle in order for us to compete in a very tough division,” said McCafferty. “There is a lot of talent on the team and they are an honest, hard working group that are improving every week.”
Although Barca tried repeatedly to find the back of the net, Seattle Sounders came out strong with a clear victory.
Final Score: U19 Barca Academy 1 – 4 Seattle Sounders
Goals From Barca Academy: Enrique Zamora
Goals From Seattle Sounders: Keeton Heggerness, Borislav Stoyanov, Rudy Stretch, and Dylan Teves.
“We knew we were not going to be perfect game 1,” said McCafferty. “Seattle is an excellent club and we are proud to play in the Development Academy, which is the highest level of youth soccer in the USA. Our goal is to be the best.”