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 two other girls, among 48 young American players who participated in FCBEscola camps in Chicago and Florida last summer, ran by Kaptiva Sports, a sports marketing company out of Florida and the official FC Barcelona partner in the USA.
Four teams of 12 were put together in under the “FCBEscola USA Blue” name in the U8 – Iniciacio, U10 – Preformacio, U12 – Formacio and U14 – Precompeticio age groups and played against collections of players from the various permanent FC Barcelona Escola school 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. ‘We represented the US soccer with values, dedication, and sportsmanship. For our team, this was an unforgettable soccer experience but also a lifelong lesson that every participant will carry in their hearts and mind from now on. The goal is to inspire the next generation and prove them an avenue to their dream and one day become a professional soccer player and represent their county in humbleness’ Said Marcel Bombonato, Kaptiva Sports and FCBEscola Director of operations for the USA market.
As I write this, reflecting on what I saw, certain things stand out.