La Masia, Centro de Formación Oriol Tort celebrated its one-year anniversary this Saturday. The installations, which replaced the original Masia after 31 years of service, have provided an excellent and improved setting for the youth team managers and the children. “We’re very pleased. On the day we presented [La Masia] we said we were taking a big step forward. It was necessary. This first year’s experience has been phenomenal. We’re all a lot closer and the communication with the children has improved tremendously,” says Guillermo Amor.
FC Barcelona’s new installations offer up an environment where the needs of the youth players are met, where they have almost limitless access to coaches, teachers and centre managers. This aspect of the new Masia is crucial for the director of youth football: “The most important thing is that we can all be together. We haven’t had too many problems this first year. It’s been very good and positive for the most part.”
Sports training and academia are compatible
One of the achievements of the new Masia, a pioneer in this area, “is to join sports training with quality academic studies,” explains Carles Folguera. For the director of the centre, having a good education is essential to transmitting the values of the Club even if the youngsters don’t grow up to be professional athletes.
Just like at home
“At first it’s a bit harder, but afterward, the feedback we get from the new residents is good. They balance football with academic learning and it’s a good thing that they consider the Masia their home,” says Amor. “I’m convinced that they’d all like to stay here until the end, even if they make it to the first team. But that’s difficult,” adds the current director of youth football, who happens to be a graduate of the old Masia.
Providing high school and baccalaureate level courses at La Masia, sending players from the U18 team to Barça B, and sending reserve players to the first team are just a few of the Masia’s achievements this year.