You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Soccer giant FC Barcelona will bring youth academy to Austin


Highlights

Circuit of the Americas will build soccer training facilities.

New Round Rock Multipurpose Complex will be host to campers.

Barcelona spreading its global brand into Central Texas.

FC Barcelona, arguably the most powerful soccer club in the world, will open a training academy in Austin this year, with facilities at Circuit of the Americas and the new Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.

The move is part of the Spanish giant’s push for a bigger footprint in the United States and a world-wide boost of its FCB Escola project.

FCB Escola is the soccer club’s flagship school, aimed at players between the ages of 6 and 16. FCB Escola, which teaches Barca methodology and style of play, has academies in such major international markets as Tokyo, Dubai, Sao Paolo and Moscow.

“This new program will not only help local players experience firsthand the best international, professional and developmental soccer pathway but will also put Austin on a global soccer stage,” said Marc Segarra, co-founder of ISL Futbol, a sports management company that’s the largest partner of FC Barcelona in the United States.

Details and dates have yet to be worked out, but the opening of the training academy at COTA is targeted for this summer. Organizers hope to reveal more about their plans, including Round Rock’s involvement, in early April.

“Any time you can have your name attached to FC Barcelona, it is a big deal,” said Lance Aldridge, executive director of the Austin Sports Commission. “The Barcelona people looked around at a lot of places, but they wanted to be here.

“We’re already hearing quite a positive reaction. This could be a major boost to the soccer profile of Austin.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein said he will fund the construction of the training complex, which will be adjacent to the Austin 360 Amphitheatre.

“This field will be a significant investment for us, and we hope local clubs hold their big games there, as well as serving to help attract youth tournament games,” Epstein told the American-Statesman. “It’s close to Southeast Metro Park and could prove to be synergistic.”

Epstein also hinted at a possible expansion of the soccer complex.

“Initially there will be one spectacular, championship field. For training, the academy will break it into two training fields,” he said. “The field has been part of the master plan since the (circuit’s) grand plaza was designed before the venue opened.”

Epstein pointed out many of COTA’s signature structures were designed by Austin architect Juan Miró, a native of Barcelona who grew up near Camp Nou, the soccer club’s historic home.

While fans shouldn’t expect Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Neymar or Luis Suarez to show up in Austin, FCB Escola plans to pump some big names into the project.

An FC Barcelona technical director, several former Barcelona players and UEFA Pro licensed coaches will be sent to the Austin school, club officials said. Coaches will work full time and establish residency in Austin.

Additionally, certain players could be selected for an “FCB Experience,” a trip to Barcelona to practice and play.

Austin also will have an FCB Escola camp this summer, with details about the event coming next month. FCB Escola already has camps in such U.S. cities as Washington, Chicago, St. Louis and Sacramento.

“This whole project is really great news for our area,” Epstein said. “Lance Aldridge and our city sports commission really pulled this together. And we’re showing at COTA that we’re more than a race track.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Faces Off the Field: Lauren “Lolo” Degelia, senior catcher, Akins
Faces Off the Field: Lauren “Lolo” Degelia, senior catcher, Akins

First of all, tell me about your nickname. When I was a baby, my mom thought she was being clever and gave me the nickname Lolo. Little did she know we would meet several other Laurens, aka Lolos. What kind of season do you expect Akins to have this spring? I believe we will be the first group at Akins to go to playoffs. We want to surprise people...
Austin-area all-district honorees in boys basketball
Austin-area all-district honorees in boys basketball

UIL • District 13-6A MVP: Victor Bailey Jr., sr., McNeil. Defensive player of the year: Avery Sullivan, sr., Pflugerville. Newcomer of the year: Caleb Golden, fr., Cedar Ridge. Coach of the year: David Raigosa, Pflugerville. First team: Tim Holland, sr., Cedar Ridge; Caleb Golden, fr., Cedar Ridge; Clayton Perrin, jr., Hendrickson; Victor Bailey...
South Carolina's coach explains why players use his first name
South Carolina's coach explains why players use his first name

During Frank Martin's first collegiate coaching job, reporters often noted that his Kansas State players didn't call him coach, but rather addressed him by his first name. The Denver Post: "Martin doesn't mind that his players call him by his first name. In fact, he likes it. Everybody had better be in this together, said Martin, who, with his...
Kaepernick is unemployed. Is it because of his arm, or his knee?
Kaepernick is unemployed. Is it because of his arm, or his knee?

Mark Sanchez found a job. Mike Glennon found a job. So did Josh McCown and Brock Osweiler and E.J. Manuel. But Colin Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl just four years ago, remains unemployed. Is Kaepernick not qualified to play quarterback in the NFL anymore? Or is it something else? Some skeptical fans are wondering if...
The NFL and the business of ripping out the heart of Oakland
The NFL and the business of ripping out the heart of Oakland

As it happened, I was on the telephone with Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland on Monday when the NFL’s chief pirate called to say that his fellow corsairs would steal away her city’s beloved Raiders. It was early afternoon and the mayor had been describing her efforts to convince Commissioner Roger Goodell that a public gift of 55 acres, major...
More Stories