I have just returned from the experience of a lifetime: watching my 13-year-old daughter play on the grounds of the FC Barcelona Escola, the feeder school to Barca’s famed La Masia soccer academy. The occasion was the third annual FCBEscola International Tournament held during Easter week.
My daughter Erin was chosen to represent the US – along with only three other girls – among roughly 70 young American players who participated in FCBEscola camps in Chicago, Florida, California and New York last summer. Six teams of 12 were put together in the U8, U10, U12 and U14 age groups and played against collections of players from the various permanent Barcelona Escola locations around the world. Great football was played, with wonderful sportsmanship, effort and joy. Players came from Brazil, Japan, India, Dubai, Poland, Singapore, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, Tenerife, Illes Baleares, larger Cataluña and Barcelona itself, and united in the world’s game.
What we experienced in Barcelona, with the spirit of the players and their supporters, was nothing short of inspiring.
As I write this, reflecting on what I saw, certain things stand out.