Kenni schooled the Barca way
WEDNESDAY, JAN 30: Playing for Barcelona’s Academy team has made Kenni Thompson faster with her feet and faster with her head. The daughter of Kim and Kenny Thompson, the former Saltus pupil, 12, said playing for FC Barcelona is an “awesome” experience.
She has had an opportunity to make friends from around the world, see some top-flight football firsthand, learn Spanish, and, yes, learn to play better football. Kenni plays for FC Barcelona Femini Infantil Alevi A.
She told the Bermuda Sun: “The girls on my team are funny and kind to me. The coaches are helpful and they have faith in me and I am learning some Spanish and Catalan from them.” She has had the opportunity to meet some of Barca’s stars as her squad trains at the same facility. “Sometimes we are even training at the same time but on different pitches. First, the girls and I got to shake hands with Thiago. I get to see Messi at a distance, there’s always lots of security so it’s almost impossible to get a picture with him.
“Next, I met Puyol, Barca’s captain and I was able to have a photo with him and I also got his autograph; it was an exciting moment for me. “I met Tito (Vilanova, the manager) twice and had a photo with him. He was really nice and he made sure that we were happy with the photo before he left us.”
Kenni said during training she is working on her shooting and long balls in the air. “Also, I am trying to improve more in one v one situations to try and get closer to the goal and create a chance or score a goal. “Playing with the girls on my team makes it harder for me to earn my spot because they are very, very good technical players and they are smart players.
“My game has improved. I have been forced to become faster with the ball and to think quickly every minute that I am on the pitch. Playing with BAA has made it a little easier to join in and play Barca’s style of football. Barca play a passing and possession game and then try to create chances to score which my team at BAA try to do as well.”
Kenni said the highlight of her season so far was against Espanyol. “That was my best game where I assisted in all of the goals except for one; my coaches gave me MVP for that match. In our last game before Christmas break, I scored two goals and that was exciting. I was happy about that.” Of course, Kenni has also had the opportunity to be in the crowd-filled stadium to watch Barcelona play.
“I’ve been to Barca vs Real Madrid Super Cup Final. For my birthday I was able to see Barca play Athletico Bilbao at Camp Nou. It was an exciting match and Barca won 3-1. “I went to a women’s champions league match between Barca Ladies and Arsenal Ladies; that match was free in the Miniestadi. Unfortunately, Barca lost but Arsenal Ladies deserved to win as they played the better match.
“In the first week of January, we went to a friendly international match between Catalunya and Nigeria right here at Espanyol Stadium in Cornella, five minutes walk from my apartment. We had front-row seats. “The atmosphere was awesome; half of Barca’s first team was in the Catalunya squad. “The game ended up being a draw but it was exciting just being there.” Even though Kenni’s mom, sisters and Granny are with her, she still gets homesick for Bermuda. “I am missing the rest of my family, some friends and Bermudian food. “I miss my house a lot, especially my yard because we live in an apartment here.”