Barcelona planned to open an "academy" in Copenhagen. And the Danish soccer federation (DBU) said, "No, thank you."
In the Denmark, one must get DBU approval to set up such a program. And the DBU, reports The Guardian, did not feel it was wise for children as young as 6 to be in an elite training environment. And that it was worried about Danish clubs losing homegrown talent to the Spanish club.
I’m not sure whether Barcelona’s Danish venture was about searching for talent or making money, but the FCBEscola that wants to set up in Copehagen is the same organization that has created a pay-to-play academy in Florida.
FCBEscola Florida’s website’s FAQs include this:
“Will you have a financial assistance available?”
– “We will offer families the possibility to pay the tuition in 6 installments.”
I find the Denmark rejection of Barcelona somewhat amusing when compared to the USA, where we throw down the red carpet for all kinds of foreign clubs -- whether they have a record of developing talent, as Barcelona does, or not.
It’s not just the club partnerships with foreign clubs or the academy programs. I, like I imagine many American youth coaches, are constantly courted to attend clinics held by coaches from foreign clubs who can’t point to stars that came out their youth programs.
Of course, I don’t believe the U.S. Soccer Federation, even if it could, should ban foreign ventures. Sometimes there are good influences. But foreign clubs and coaches will keep coming to the USA because we spend more money on youth soccer than any nation in history -- and it’s up to the buyer to beware.
A more serious setback for Barcelona -- and there’s also a U.S. angle to this story -- is FIFA banning it from signing new players in 2015 as punishment for breaking the rules on signing foreign players under age 18.
Barcelona was found guilty of 10 irregular signings. Non-European Union players can’t be signed unless their families move to that club’s country for non-soccer reasons.
One of the 10 players is Ben Lederman, the Californian who joined La Masia at age 11 in 2011. His entire family moved with him to Barcelona and he seemed doing well there. But the family’s move was not for non-soccer reasons. He is now ineligible to play for Barcelona’s teams until he turns 18.
That’s a cruel blow for the 15-year-old, and his family -- punished for being misled by Barcelona.
Meanwhile, the transfer ban shouldn’t hurt Barcelona much. It spent for than $150 million before this season on new players planning on a year without transfers. Plus, one would think there's legitimately acquired talent at La Masia that it can move up.
U.S. U-15 boys beat Italy to reach tourney final
The U.S. U-15 boys national team, coached by John Hackworth, scored 12 goals in its three group-stage games at the Torneo Delle Nazioni before reaching the final with a penalty-kick shootout win after a scoreless semifinal against host Italy.
After playing its first three games in Slovenia, which is hosting the 12-team tournament along with Austria and Italy, the USA faced the Italians in Romans D’Isonzo. The Americans were unable to capitalize on the 56th-minute ejection of midfielder Sdaigui Zakaria but prevailed, 5-4, in the shootout. U.S. goalkeeper Eric Lopez (already signed by LA Galaxy II) saved Italy's fifth shot from the spot to tie the shootout, 4-4, after five rounds. Tim Weah converted the USA's sixth shot before Italy's Gavioli Lorenzo missed.
The Americans clinched a semifinal spot with wins over Costa Rica (4-1) and Croatia (6-2), before falling to Slovenia, 3-2. The Croatia match featured four goals and an assist by Toronto resident Ayo Akinola.
The USA faces Austria, a 2-0 semifinal winner over Slovenia, in the final on Friday.
April 29 in Romans D’Isonzo, Italy.
Italy 0 USA 0. (USA wins, 5-4, on PKs).
Italy -- Alessandro, Raoul, Gomes, B.Davide, Federico (Simone, 65th), Zakaria, Lorenzo, Salvatore (Andrea, 41), Marco (Ludovico, 41), M. Davide (Federico, 59; Flavio Junior, 84th Bioty Moise.
USA -- Lopez, Bailey, Lindsey, Cornfield-Saunders, Vaughn, Durkin, Goslin, Acosta, Del Rosario (Weah, 58th), Akinola (Villegas, 75th), Carleton.
April 27 in Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Slovenia 3 USA 2. Goals: Bijol 23, Zan 37 Kerin 40; Goslin 66, Acosta 70.
Slovenia -- Bicic, Hodzic, Drkusic, Urh, Mesaric (Spanja, 50), Bijol, Medved (Milic, 48), Bozic (Rogelj, 36), Horvat (Kovacic, 58), Kerin (Jasaragic, 60), Celarn (Piskule, 65).
USA -- Lopez, Perez, Arteaga (Vaughn, 42), McGann (Lindsey, 12), Cornfield-Saunders, Anguiano Diaz (Goslin, 46), Durkin, Villegas (Acosta), Weah (Bailey, 54), Del Rosario (Akinola, 46), Carleton.
in Renje, Slovenia.
USA 6 Croatia 2. Goals: Akinola (Acosta) 31, Akinola (Acosta) 42, Akinola (Villegas) 45, Akinola (Villegas) 60, Carleton (Akinola), Carleton (Villegas) 65.
USA -- Budnik, Lindsey (Perez, 53), McGann, Cornfield-Saunders, Vaughn (Durkin, 53), Goslin, Ferri (Anguiano Diaz, 60), Villegas, Acosta (Carleton, 60), Akinola, Bailey.
Croatia -- Pandur, Kapitanovic, Jelenic (Palaversa, 36), Radic, Colina (Krizmanic, 36), Dumlijan, Lovric (Franjic, 36), Pavlak, Petrovic (Ernst, 36), Baturina, Vuk (Marin, 18).
April 25 in Vipolze, Slovenia.
USA 4 Costa Rica 1. Goals: Carleton 10, de Rosario (Weah) 17, del Rosario (Weah) 23, Carleton (del Rosario) 28; Valverde 2.
USA -- Lopez, Perez, Arteaga, Lindsey, Vaughn (Cornfield-Saunders, 56), Durkin, Anguiano Diaz (Ferri, 56), Taitague (Acosta, 28), Weah (Villegas, 50), Del Rosario (Akinola, 50), Carleton (Bailey, 50).
Costa Rica -- Mejas, Loasiga, Morales, Guzman, Bolivar Garcia, Salazar (Quesada, 43),Bustamante (Fonseca, 36), Guiles (Vargas, 36), Roldan (Guzman, 54), Vado (Tristan, 66), Valverde.