The current success of the FC Barcelona first team is due, in large part, to the quality of the Barça youth system. Indeed, since they were set up in 1901, the Barça reserve teams have had some splendid moments
Barça's reserve teams began in 1901, when Board Secretary and centre forward Lluís d'Ossó launched a second team for the club which proved to be quite successful and played under various names, such as "Acèrrims" or "Nova Germanor".
Youngsters provide core of 1920s legendary teams
In 918, Joan Ragué, Board Secretary under Joan Gamper, launched the creation of children and youth teams and the Hungarian coach Jesza Poszony became the first man to be employed directly to look after the reserve team structure, taking charge of the fourth level teams, who were still amateurs. During Barça's successful 1920s, the first team, almost 100% Catalan, was packed with players who had come up through the reserve and youth teams and the club boasted 1000 footballers in all categories.
Post war reconstruction and Espanya Industrial
The upheavals following the Spanish Civil War left the whole structure severely damaged and it took a considerable amount of hard work from Ramon Llorens and Josep Boter to rebuild and achieve considerable success again in the 40s and 50s.
In 1945, FC Barcelona signed an agreement of cooperation with Espanya Industrial, a textile company who also had a works team, which became in effect one of Barça's reserve teams. Espanya Industrial were promoted to the Spanish First Division in 1953, but they decided to stay in the second tier, a decision they reversed three years later when promotion was again won. Since teams with the names of companies were not allowed into the top flight, the name was changed and for the 56/57 season the team played in the First Division under the name of Comtal.
Comtal and Atlètic Catalunya come together in 1970 to create Barça Atlètic
Despite good work from their coach Miquel Gual, Comtal were relegated and in 1957 were again playing in the second division, where they stayed, with various seasons in the third tier, until 1970 when they joined with another of Barça's reserve teams Atlètic Catalunya –who were also in the Third Division at that time – to become Barça Atlètic.
In 1965 a works team from the barrio of Sant Andreu called CD Fabra i Coats had also become a part of the Barça structure and they played in the Third Division until the creation of Barça Atlètic.
Forty years of success
Josep Seguer was the first coach of the new Barça Atlètic who began playing in the Third Division and then after 1974 in the A and B categories of the Segona Divisió. Meanwhile, the youth teams were winning numerous titles and the creation of La Masia in 1979 provided a decisive impulse to the youth structure, which from 1980 was blessed with the presence of Oriol Tort as coordinator, a job he held for nearly 20 years to become one of the great talent spotters of all times.
The old Barça Amateur, which had always been Barça's third team, was founded in 1967 and always played in the league below Barça Atlètic. In 1993 they changed their name to Barça C and disappeared in 2007 when Barça Atlètic were relegated to the Third Division.
In 1991 new rules meant that Barça Atlètic changed their name to Barça B, which they stayed as until 2008 when Guardiola took them up to Segona B and they again became known as Barça Atlètic. The name changed again in 2010 when they won promotion to Segona A and again became Barça B.
From the very youngest teams to Barça B itself, the club's lower teams have won many titles over the years, both national and international, but perhaps more importantly given that their aim is to train footballers rather than to win competitions, they have produced so many players who have gone on to success with the first team. The success of the club's production line has been spectacularly obvious recently with the core of the Six Cup Winning Team having come through from La Masia and Spain's World Cup winning squad boasting 9 players from the club's youth structure: Valdés, Reina, Puyol, Piqué, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc and Pedro, all but Reina and Cesc being Barça players.