La Masia has long been the standard for youth football. While the pathway to the first team isn’t always easy, Barcelona’s fabled academy consistently producing talents that play all over the world in the top leagues. Combine that institutional understand of the importance of growing your own talents with Barça’s recent investments in women’s football, and now FC Barcelona is once again proving to be a leader in both areas.
It’s just a start, but on August 1st, nine players from the Barça B women’s team became residents of the academy. While residency at the building will mean they can dedicate more time to training and less time traveling, above all else is means that they can get an education while becoming a professional footballer. Not every youth player gets a spot in the first team and some don’t make it at all in professional football.
The model that the nine young women/girls should follow is that of Patri. The treble-winning midfielder/defender was the first girl to take her A levels at La Masia, and she is still finishing up her studies in physiotherapy. While she was part of a group of 16 girls to get schooling and train at the academy, the newest nine will be living there.
Alba Caño, Berta Doltrafill, Clàudia Riumalló, Judit Pujols, Laura Coronado, Lucía Corrales, Martina Fernández, Ona Baradad, and Meritxell Font are the names to look out for over the coming years. All but Corrales is native to Catalunya, and whether it’s with the competitive Barcelona Femení or with another top women’s team, or a different profession altogether, the club has opened the door, literally and figuratively, to the next chapter in women’s football in Spain.