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FC Barcelona’s 2016/17 youth academy teams were officially unveiled Thursday evening at an event held at the Ciutat Esportiva.
In total, 333 players from 20 teams — from Barça B all the way down to the Under-7 team, including the girls academy teams — took part in the presentation.
The Club’s next generation of footballers made their way out to the grass, one by one, and were welcomed by a bevy of Club representatives, including Barça President, Josep Maria Bartomeu; Professional Football and Women’s Football Director, Jordi Mestre; Amateur Football Director, Xavier Vilajoana; CEO, Òscar Grau; Professional Sports Director Albert Soler; Technical Secretary of Professional Youth Football, Pep Segura; Technical Secretary of Women’s Football, Xavi Llorens; Technical Secretary of Amateur Youth Football, Jordi Roura; and the Assistant to the Technical Secretary of Amateur Youth Football, Aureli Altimira.
Following the official 2016/16 photos of each and every team with their individual coaching staffs, Laura Mas, the captain of the Under-14 girls team, spoke: “It’s a point of pride for me and my teammates to form part of this Club, which dedicates untold resources to youth football and has a deep commitment to girls sports.”
Xavi Simons, the Under-14 boys team captain also had words of praise for the Club.
“Thanks to the Club, we learn values like sacrifice and teamwork, which are highly important to be able to combine sports and academics with the maximum humility and solidarity.”
Bartomeu and Roura speak
After kind words in memory of some of those who had helped grow La Masia and had recently passed away, namely Alfredo Pérez, Mingo Garcia, Enrique Vázquez and Joan Gasol, President Bartomeu, praised current first team midfielder Andrés Iniesta, who arrived at La Masia 20 years ago. “He's a role model for everyone because of his way of being, playing and his understanding of life, and that fits in perfectly with Barça," Bartomeu said.
Jordi Roure, for his part, said that seeing the boys and girls of the academy elicited "feelings of pride and also responsibility."
“Our main objective is education," he said. And "that the players arrive to the top levels while learning our style of play."
Perhaps most importantly, he said, "The Club has to look for talent, as well as transmit the values that make us different."
Bartomeu also highlighted the Masia 360 project, with the aim of keeping a close eye on everyone who passes through La Masia, even beyond their football careers. He also emphasised the Club's commitment to Women's football.
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