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The FC Barcelona system for training young goalkeepers has provided some excellent custodians in recent years, and the club now have players in the position for the four main youth teams who represent Spain for their respective age groups.
The hard work of Ricard Segarra, the Coordinator of the goalkeeping project and of the Under-18s B team, and coaches Carlos Busquets (Barça B), José Bermúdez (Under-18s A), Xavi Ferrando (Under-16s) and Ferran Montijano (Under-14s) has born fruit, as well as that of Dani Ortiz and Fran Herruzo in the initial stages of 7-a-side football.
Segarra explains that "The goalkeeping department at the club works to unify the criteria required for coaching and signing goalkeepers from the age of 7 through to first team level. Our goalkeeper is like another outfield player, thanks to our idea of possession football at Barça."
Marc-André ter Stegen and Jasper Cillessen are a great example of this style, as Segarra comments. "Playing the ball with your feet is a differential factor for us. It's there from a young age. Our players know that they need to move up to 11-a-side football with a good level of interpretation of how to play with the ball at their feet."
Iñaki Peña, Lazar Carevic and Jokin Ezkieta, the Barça B goalkeepers, work daily with former 'Dream Team' shot-stopper Carles Busquets. Arnau Tenas, Pol Tristán and Álex Baño, of the Under-18s team, do so with José Bermúdez, whilst Ramon Vila, Jorge Carrillo and Pablo Cuñat have Segarra as their coach. At Under-16 level, Xavi Ferrando is the goalkeeping coach for Raúl García-Alejo and Arnau Rafús, Ander Astrálaga, Alain Martínez and Alejandro Ramos.
"Our idea is that goalkeepers come up through the La Masia system. Having goalkeepers who feature at international and regional level shows that things are being done well," concludes Segarra.