Leaving one’s country for the very first time can be a nerve-racking experience, especially for a group of school age children traveling overseas to compete in an elite competition against top-notch talent from all corners of the earth.
Nevertheless, for most of the members of the FCBEscola Florida, it is the trip of a lifetime.
“In the first game they seemed a little tense,” said FCB Escola Florida coach Justin Domínguez. “But after that it was smooth sailing for these guys. They went from nervous and tense to calm and having fun.”
“For my team, the kids have experienced so much,” he said. “It’s the most uplifting feeling.”
This once-in-a-lifetime trip provides the kids with a chance to mature, not just as footballers but as human beings. As FC Barcelona’s first and only official youth football academy in the United States, the FCB Escola Florida, which is run by Technical Director Miquel Castiella, is responsible for transmitting both the Club’s training philosophy and its social values to all those who form part of the academy.
“Miquel has done the most amazing job,” Domínguez said. “FC Barcelona has taught these kids the greatest way to become players and people.”
Taking all of this into account, there’s no question FC Barcelona has a bright future in the United States.
“It’s been a humbling experience being here, seeing all this talent from different places around the world, especially from here inside Catalonia,” said the coach. “And from the looks of it, based on how we as an organization are doing, it’s going to improve as time goes by. It takes a day at a time, and each and every day it gets better and better.”
Respect, effort, ambition, teamwork, and humility are the values that have come to define the Barça way. And Domínguez is doing his part to help instill those values at the FCBEscola Florida.
“It’s a privilege to wear the badge, let alone be in the tournament,” he said.