Barcelona protégé to add sparkle to high-intensity summer camp
By Stephen Wright
One of the “pearls” of the Barcelona Academy will be the star attraction at an intensive football camp to be held at Goose Gosling Field in July.
Organised by BAA Wanderers, the Bermuda Summer Football School is an extension of the club’s WOSPAC (World Sports Academy Barcelona) programme and will be open to players aged between 8 and 14.
Among the overseas visitors to the camp will be Regillio Simons, a former top-flight striker in Holland, who coaches at the Ajax Amsterdam Academy, and his two sons Faustino and Xavi.
Faustino has also carved out an impressive coaching career at UE Cornellá — the No 1 amateur club in the Catalan region, who have a partnership with BAA, but it is his younger brother, Xavi, who will undoubtedly be the star turn.
The 12-year-old is considered one of the top talents in the Barcelona Academy, which has produced world-class players such as Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta as well as Thiago Alcântara of Bayern Munich and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.
Kenny Thompson, the BAA technical director, whose daughter has played for the Barcelona girls’ youth academy, has witnessed Xavi’s exceptional ability first-hand at the club’s training ground.
He believes that interacting with one of the world’s best and most recognisable youth players will be an eye-opening experience for the local youngsters attending the camp.
“The second week of the camp should be very exciting because we will have guests from Holland and Spain,” he said. “Regillio Simons is a coach in Holland and his oldest son a coach in Spain. Xavi, his youngest son, is one of the best players in the world in his age group. One of the pearls of the Barcelona Academy.
“The idea is to have our young players interact with a player at this level so they can understand the level they are trying to reach. It’s also important for them to understand the mindset of a player like [Xavi].”
“A lot of our young players don’t understand the pathway to get to the top level or the mentality needed to compete.
“When my daughter was at Barcelona I spent a lot of time there and got to see Xavi play a bit and became friendly with his family. He’s an unbelievable young player.”
Thompson said the camp would be best suited to young players who were serious about developing their game.
“We will have BAA players at the camp, but it’s open to any ambitious player that wants to continue to develop during the off-season,” said Thompson.
“This camp is the first of its kind for BAA. All the players will be involved for the duration of the camp, which appeals to me because I like gradual continued development as opposed to a quick fix.
“The players will leave the camp with a more professional attitude than when they arrived.”
The programme will be held over a 3½ week period from July 6 to 29, with 20 places available for each of the under-8, under-10, under-12 and under-14 age groups.
It will start at 8.30am and finish at 3.15pm, featuring two practical on-field sessions and two football-related classroom sessions.The cost for the programme is $975 and includes 18 days of coaching and a training kit of shirt, shorts and socks. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.