September 2020 has been a historic day for not only for Konrad de la Fuente but also for soccer in the United States of America. The 19-year-old, born in Miami, became the first player from the US to play for the Barça senior team when Ronald Koeman brought him on for the second 45 minutes of today’s preseason friendly with Gimnàstic Tarragona.
Way back in 2007, playing at the same venue now used by the Barça Academy Miami, a 5-year-old who described Ronaldinho as his hero was clear that his dream was to one day play for Barça. And sometimes dreams do come true.
Five years later, his father took up a job at the Haitian consulate in Barcelona, and two years after that the youngster joined the Barça youth setup. The winger has impressed all his way up the ranks, and in December of 2018 played his first football for Barça B.
His progress did not go unnoticed in his home country. Konrad has represented the US at U16, U18 and U20 level, and started every game as the US made it to the quarter finals of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland last year.
But the dream he has been chasing more than any other was the one that was finally realised today. And he almost got to celebrate it by also becoming the first American to score for Barça. Konrad was on the end of a simply exquisite pass from fellow debutant Trincão and his confident finish was a joy to watch. Unfortunately the goal wouldn’t stand because of the narrowest of offside calls.
That was not the only moment of the game when was witnessed some impressive linking-up between the Portuguese striker and Konrad, and the young American also came frustratingly close in the dying minutes when he was in a fine position to score but was denied by the keeper and Martin Braithwaite was out of luck on the follow-up.
Konrad will be starting the season as a Barça B player, but his performance today will not have gone unnoticed by the first team boss. We may well be seeing a lot more of the youngster in the months to come.