THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

FC Barcelona’s ‘Barca Academy’ lands in Namma Bengaluru

FC Barcelona’s ‘Barca Academy’ lands in Namma Bengaluru. (Photo courtesy: Barca Academy)
FC Barcelona’s ‘Barca Academy’ lands in Namma Bengaluru. Photo courtesy: Barca Academy

Exhilarating is the word that best describes Barca Academy’s relationship with Bengaluru. Between 2013-2015, Barca Academy, formerly known as FCBEscola India, held camps in Bengaluru, training 1,500 young footballers. The spontaneity and enthusiasm that Bengaluru exuded towards football has led Barca Academy to launch football schools in the Garden City. Barca Academy will be starting the football schools from November 19, 2018 at two locations – Trio World Academy, Sahakar Nagar and Ecumenical Christian Centre, Whitefield and will be catering to over 1,000 budding footballers.

The two permanent bases of the Barca Academy in Bengaluru will be under the supervision of Technical Director Jordi Escobar and he will be leading a team of 12 coaches. To provide comprehensive year long training to young footballers, thrice a week classes will be held in each centre.

The launch of Barca Academy in Bengaluru comes at a time when India is preparing to host Barca Academy Asia Pacific Cup 2019 in January 2019. On September 29, 2018 FC Barcelona Legend and former Argentina World Cup player, Javier Saviola announced that Barca Academy, Gurugram will be hosting the Asia Pacific Cup 2019, the premier intra Barca Academy.

According to Antonio Claveria, Head – Barca Academy, APAC, “Indians have always been passionate about sports and particularly football in a huge manner. The growing popularity of football among the youngsters is a testament of the game’s untapped potential in the country. FC Barcelona has always stood committed to its tenet of nurturing talent and in India, over the last 7 years, Barca Academy has built a strong foundation for tomorrow’s footballers.”

FC Barcelona was the first major European club to set up base in India in 2011 when they partnered with Conscient Football and held the first FCBEscola Camp in New Delhi. The camp was a big success and since has been a regular feature of the footballing calendar of many top cities in the county including Bengaluru. Encouraged by the huge demand for world-class youth training, FCB and CF decided to open the first Barca Academy in New Delhi. Many of the players in the FCBCamps and Barca Academy have travelled to Barcelona to participate in the Escola International Tournament, FCBClinics and various other tournaments. Barça Academy India now has the largest offering of all such academies and has trained more than 25,000 players across various formats. Speaking on the occasion, Anupama Jain, Director Conscient Football, said, “In 2011 when we partnered with FC Barcelona to bring in Barca Academy to India, we were certain that the partnership will change the way the game of football was perceived in the country. We inculcated the Barca philosophy of not about just playing football better, but living the Barca values and building camaraderie. In our journey so far, we have focussed on enhancing not only the standard of the game but have also successfully delivered focussed training programs tailor-made for India, without comprising on Barca quality and values.”

Barca Academy’s training methodology nurtures talent while providing holistic development to the youth. More than just learning to play football, the academy instils in a youngster the Barca values of camaraderie, friendship, trust and loyalty. The program in India mirrors these values and has taken the lead in providing many Value added services like Fitness & Conditioning, Health & Nutrition, Physiotherapy etc. The children and many times even their parents are benefitting greatly form these activities that are learnings for life.

The fact that Barca Academy is one of the best youth development programs in the world, coming from a club that has produced talents like Messi and Iniesta from its own stables, is now bearing fruit in the Indian environment as well. Be it the representation in India’s U17 World Cup Futsal squad or in Haryana and Delhi Sub-junior & Junior State teams or in the Delhi football league representing various clubs the Barca Academy trained players are beginning to make a mark.