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An American at La Masia

Sam Borden travels to Barcelona to meet 13-year-old soccer protege Ben Lederman and his family. Two years ago, they moved from California after Ben was invited to enter La Masia, Barcelona's famed youth academy. “Even people close to us didn’t really understand what we were considering,” his mother, Tammy, said. “We rented our house. We left our families. We left our lives.” Following in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who entered La Masia as pre-teens, Ben leaves for school at 7:30 a.m. and doesn't return home until 9:30 p.m. His family gets to see him play on weekends. “There’s some cheering, but not as much,” Tammy said. “It’s more serious. It’s like everyone knows what is at stake.”

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