Xavi to give BAA camp some star power
Xavi Simons, one of the pearls of the Barcelona Academy, will once again be the star attraction at the Bermuda Summer Football School at Goose Gosling Field next month.
Simons's skills are almost as eye-catching as his shock of blond hair and he is already on the radar of some of the world's leading clubs such as Barclays Premier League side Chelsea, who are keen to prise the 13-year-old away from the Nou Camp.
He was among the overseas visitors to attend last year's camp, organised by BAA as an extension of the club's WOSPAC (World Sports Academy Barcelona) programme, along with his father Regillio Simons, a former top-flight striker in Holland, who coaches at the Ajax Amsterdam Academy.
Also making the trip to Bermuda for the 3½-week camp will be Regillio's older son, Faustino, a coach at UE Cornellá — the No 1 amateur club in the Catalan region — who have a partnership with BAA, as well as Ajax Academy players Jenno Campagne, 13, Solomon Bonnah, 13, and Hakeem Agboluaje, 9.
Kenny Thompson, the BAA football director, believes it is hugely beneficial for the island's young players to interact with Simons, who is considered one of the best players in the world for his age, as well as the Ajax trio.
“Xavi understands football really well and knows how difficult it is to get to the top,” said Thompson, whose daughter Kenni, 15, trains with the Barcelona girls' youth programme.
“The idea of having Xavi here is so that our players can interact with one of the best players in the world at a similar age. They are able to understand his ambition and drive as well.
“If we brought a top professional here for the camp, the players would be starstruck and unable to relate to that personality as he has already made it.”
Interest in Simons increased after he was named as the top player at the prestigious La Liga Promises tournament, held in Miami in January.
Born in Amsterdam, the midfielder is named after Xavi Hernández, the former Barcelona captain, and was three years old when his father's career ended and the family moved to Alicante in Spain.
From there he joined Villarreal's youth system before moving to Barcelona's famed La Masia academy when he was seven.
“In addition to Xavi, his father Regillio and son Faustino, we will have three Ajax Academy players coming as well; two 13-year-olds and one nine-year-old,” Thompson said.
“We're hoping top get our players to interact with the international talent. If it's just Xavi alone it's difficult for him to get in amongst all of the participants.”
The first two weeks of the camp will involve BAA's coaches working the local players using the Barcelona WOSPEC training methods, with the overseas guests joining for the final week.
The camp will also feature an athletic component, with players improving their conditioning at the Bermuda Elite Athletic Strength Training [BEAST] Gym on Dundonald Street.
Open to players between 7 and 16, the camp will run from July 4 to July 27. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.