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BAA youngsters to learn Barça way

Bermuda's aspiring players will be able to benefit from the coaching methodology of the World Sport Academy UE Cornellà Programme in their own back yard, thanks to the partnership between the Spanish club and Bermuda Athletic Association.

BAA will launch the programme in September that will be based on the same model as the Barcelona programme at La Masia, where the Spanish giants train.

“The concept and methodology that is successfully used between the WOSPAC residency and UE Cornellà club programmes, will enable players in Bermuda the opportunity for further development here in Bermuda in order to fulfil their ambition of becoming more competitive in football programmes abroad,” Kenny Thompson, the BAA technical director, said.

“The WOSPAC UE Cornellà Academy in Bermuda provides a real pathway for ambitious players to go for their football ambition without sacrificing their academic and social development.

“This programme provides these players with the chance to work here in Bermuda using the methodologies that assist them in becoming competitive toward their top football and academic ambition.”

The programme, which runs for eight months, involves four training sessions weekly for male and female players with the initial focus at the under-eight, under-ten, under-12 and under-14 age levels.

The programme was designed by Albert Benaiges, a former Barcelona Academy Director, who will travel to Bermuda twice annually to work directly with BAA's coaches to enhance the training methods.

“We are excited to have the assistance of Mr Benaiges, who worked extensively in the development of the famous La Masia Barcelona Academy, with direct involvement in the development of players such as Messi, Iniesta, Xavi as well as Pep Guardiola, the former Barcelona player and coach and now coach of Bayern Munich,” Thompson said.

The programme at BAA will involve all local coaches who will be directed by Thompson.

“It is indeed an honour to have been trusted with this responsibility because UE Cornellà is a top club and WOSPAC is a very high level programme,” Thompson said.

“Being entrusted to direct the exact methodology in Bermuda is satisfying and one of my responsibilities is to manage the technical curriculum in the exact methodology that they are working with in Barcelona.”

BAA presently have eight players enrolled in the programme in Barcelona.

Benaiges, who heads the programme at Cornellà, is encouraged by the progress being made by the BAA players under his care.

“I have been working with them for about three months now and I think the level is very good,” he said.

“They have Caribbean personalities which is not very stressful; they are very laid back and very polite.

“They have good qualities and traits and given the fact the level of training in Catalonia is very high this is going to help them develop and get better — not only on a training level, but also at competition level.”

BAA forged a partnership with Cornellà in the summer of 2011. Cornellà have developed into a top programme, with the first team's recent promotion to Spanish football's third tier.

However, the Catalan club is best known for their work in youth player development while successfully competing with the likes of Barcelona, Espanyol, Real Madrid and Valencia. Among the notable players to emerge from the Academy is Jordi Alba, the Barcelona left back.

BAA will hold a presentation for parents at their clubhouse tomorrow, beginning at 6pm, to discuss the programme in more detail.

Exciting partnership: Kenny Thompson, the BAA football director, and Albert Benaiges, the former Barcelona Academy director, and Spanish translator, Shirley Lightbourne, announce a new agreement between BAA and the World Sport Academy UECornella Programme at the BAA clubhouse yesterday

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Published June 03, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 03, 2014 at 9:45 am)

BAA youngsters to learn Barça way

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