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Profile Of F.C. Barcelona Should Inspire American Academies


For those of you that were lucky to catch the 60 Minutes show on Sunday, January 6th about the entire set up of FC Barcelona, I can definitely say that it lived up to all expectations. The access that CBS was given was absolutely stupendous.

I think it’s very easy to see why Barcelona is arguably the best club in football/soccer. To see their academy teaching the up-and-coming children on the values of life, society, as well as the game itself it just blows your mind.

Seeing an eight year old do the same tricks like Lionel Messi has done for the last several years makes you shake your head. It was awesome to learn that teammates from the same year in the Catalonian Club’s La Masia academy like Gerard Pique and Cese Fabregas are now teammates for the first team.

The interviewer walked up the steps towards the upper deck of the Camp Nou.  To then see everyone hold up a sign and sing the club’s anthem after the music died down was a once in a lifetime experience, even for the television viewer. To see the locker room of Barcelona was breathtaking, as well as those who wore a number from the past has their names above the current holders.

If you thought this was just a football club then sadly you were very mistaken. Yes the club is a way of life in the city and the players are still humble as they put on their Blaugrana jerseys to get ready for battle. But one thing that sets them above the rest is this simple fact – they can mold different players and continue to make them one big club for all.

This is not to say that other clubs around the globe are not equal to Barcelona. But after witnessing the sights brought forth by this 60 Minutes piece, it literally blows your mind away. But with that said, the questions that emerge point towards MLS. What can the youth academies from MLS clubs and other independent American clubs cull to better prepare our players for the future?

While there are some improvements being made, I can definitely say it’s not at the level of what Barcelona has done or have been doing. But the one thing I believe is that time is on our side here in the States. There will be plenty of time to make these improvements in our players, but the main question is who will have the patience to get to that level?

While this league and our players continue to improve year in and year out, the one thing that does stick in my mind is this: getting to the level that Barcelona occupies will take a lot more time than within a twenty year span. A lot of hard work and dedication to the American game is needed to reach that level – perhaps even past my time.

But once again it was just so fascinating to see an eight year old in the Barcelona Academy perform in a pickup game or in a structured scrimmage similar technical skills to Lionel Messi. Our challenge is developing our youth to meet their full potential – and maybe someday cultivate the next Lionel Messi right here on American soil.

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  1. Jeremy

    January 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Do you think it matters that teams like Barca and Madrid get the lions share of tv rights in La Liga while MLS teams share equally, across all tv markets?

    In other words, RM and B get 140 million euro each while the next place teams get less than half. This must allow those two teams to invest heavily in state of the art facilities for their youth system, right? Or is it better that a rising tide raises all ships and we grow the league organically – giving all teams a relatively equal financial advantage?

    • Charles

      January 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      England is actually struggling with this right now.

      US is in a different situation, sure MLS teams are losing in CCL to Mexico teams, but not always and the quality of those teams has jumped drastically ( unless you are stupid enough to listen to the trolls/troll authors on this site ) and will continue to do so. They are on the verge of being relevant and all the teams will be then.

      In England, Man U looks terrible compared to Barca. We will see compared to RM, but the general trend is they need to keep more of the TV money ( share less ) to stay closer. They are pushing for it.

      What does that lead to ?

      The country competition is irrelevant and borderline stupid ( on the wrong side of that line too, it crossed over a few weeks ago )…..

      • The original Tom

        January 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

        Charles, what are talking about regarding England? Sure, I’d rather watch the Bundesliga, but England is still pretty good. 2 of the 4 Champion League places are open to 6 clubs. ManU’s lead at the top is forminable, but not unsurmountable. And about 11th on down is concerned with relagation. Not to mention FA Cup replays today.

        On a another note, first US Hexgonal qualifier is this March in Colorado- it is a very exciting way to start the season. One big mistake England does make is having the national team play in the same stadium all the time.

        • Charles

          January 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm

          Oh yeah, Who cares about England, they still have a Queen and we already passed them last World Cup.

          I was very excited for you and meant to say congrats. Seattle better get one too. Money should talk a little, no ?

          • The original Tom

            January 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

            Seattle stadium and fans are fine, but the playing surface is not good enough for WC Qualifiers, no?

          • Charles

            January 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

            We all grew up on turf and many of us like it better.

            That being said, would prefer grass.

            I guess my only question is what kind of world do we live in the money can’t buy these games ? 😉

      • Charles

        January 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm

        Man U’s lead is NOT insurmountable. By who ?

        Man City. Ok, maybe. It is a two horse race that is all but over.

        Let me look it up…..Chelsea is 14 points back in 3rd. That puts you with the 11th best MLS record….at the END of the MLS season.

        Now if they give more of the money to Man U….At least they always have the race to not finish last.

        ps. Not an rarity, although it is sometimes a three horse race.

  2. The original Tom

    January 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I think one lesson here for Americans if that it is self-interested clubs that developed players for the Spanish national team, not the governing body. When the Colorado Rapids, or whoever, are developing good players- be it Amercians or otherwise- solely for their own interest, then the national teams of this region will benefit.

    One of the reasons I like following a world game is the huge variety of models that created for teams and nations to compete. I don’t think Barca can be recreated by an American club, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be successful.

    I’m not sure money is the reason the best athletes don’t play soccer (American sports leagues pay players a lot for two reasons- 1. this is a rich country 2. Our sports are subsidized by way of public stadium financing and outsorcing development to universities), but culture plays a role. Kids can see the huge crowds and attention that High School, College, and Pro football get. But I don’t think the answer is hiding our best players in academies and away from school and college based sports.

  3. Jay

    January 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Until the money is close to the big four sports here, the sport will struggle for young long term involvement. MLS has to work in reverse. They have to make make the sport worth investing in early for kids. Barca which shows a finished product and can get kids with dreams of millions and fame. While playing in the worlds biggest league and tournaments. It will be awhile before MLS can offer that until then they do the best they can. And if that means helping kids get into college in cool with that. You have to crawl before you can walk.

  4. Charles

    January 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I doubt that happens in my lifetime. Not enough money in soccer, the other American sports which pay so much better than even Barca pays, will always get the top talent.

    Plus not putting all the money and thus talent and prospective talent on one team (ok two teams), will force ALL the teams in the US to be at that level. Not very likely in my lifetime.

    • T-money

      January 11, 2013 at 4:56 am

      It can happen in 10-15 years. My reason, the change in demographics. By that time, I see MLS being very popular, and may have the money needed, to do what Barcelona is doing. Also with the US energy boom, I can see a lot of oil money in the sport in the future. So who knows, it wasn’t to the 90’s you saw money in sports go up.

      • Charles

        January 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

        I don’t disagree with MLS being very popular in a few years ( 10 ? ).

        But there is not much money in soccer. Top guys make less than top sports in the US, by quite a bit in most cases.

        So does Messi come through the ranks…sure. As a baseball player making 20-30 million a year, rather than soccer making a LOT less.

        One thing for sure, MLS with the parity, if they get to the top, will have many teams up there.

        ….Magic signed for $25 million for 25 years in the 80s. Can you believe anyone thought that was a good idea for the top money maker ?

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