"It is like a dream to be here" - Barca Academy Australia launches in Adelaide
As January’s camps approach, Barça Academy Australia launched in Adelaide last week. Akaw Sports co-owner Miki Alcón spoke to Front Page Football about his group’s aspirations for the program in Australia.
Barcelona has been synonymous with top-level football over the past decade. Bringing its affiliated academies that children have been exposed to worldwide to Australia feels like a “dream” for Alcón. The group he co-owns with Oriol Lluis Pons and Sandra Griffin, Akaw Sports, have partnered with the academy to bring its programs to Australia.
“We are very happy to be here because we want to share the Barça values and philosophy to the kids in Australia,” Alcón told FPF at the Adelaide launch, hosted at Ellis Park.
“It is like a dream to be here, to arrive in Australia, to give the opportunity to kids to practice football with the Barça methodology. Many people here support Barça; they have grown up with Barça players on their mind.”
Young and aspiring footballers pose for a photo at the Barca Academy launch in Adelaide last week. (Barca Academy Australia)
When thinking of Barcelona, fans immediately point out their well-known fast-flowing and technical football. But Alcón stresses that these camps are about developing good people and footballers. This sentiment echoes Barcelona’s slogan, ‘Mes Que Un Club’, which translates to ‘More Than a Club’, a permanent fixture on the seats of Camp Nou.
“It is not only football because Barça does not only look for good players. It looks for players [with] good values outside the pitch, good people that understand the sport, not just as a competition but a friendship opportunity,” Alcón said.
“I think it is important for the players to not focus on football as just a player, but to enjoy the game, enjoy playing football, and then focus on developing their skills and being a better player than they were the day before.”
Barça Academy already operates in over 35 countries, guiding thousands of players on their journeys. In January, it will see an influx of young Australian footballers join that extensive list in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Five UEFA-licensed coaches from Barcelona will coach the players and share their expertise, but the opportunities do not stop there.
Alcón stated that standout players from the Barça Academy camps in Australia would be selected to represent their country in tournaments at the club’s facilities in Spain. From there, they will compete against fellow academy participants worldwide, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Some of these kids will also be offered the opportunity to go to Barcelona and play at the club’s facilities. That is a dream for any kid in the world! We expect that people will say to us that they are happy to be here and [a] part of Barça,” Alcón said.
Barça Academy Australia will begin with a single camp in each of the three host cities in January. But Akaw Sports hopes to increase that number to three or four a year as the demand for the camps rises, something that Alcón is confident will happen because of Australia’s love of sports.
“I visited here seven years ago, and from the start, I noticed that people are crazy about sports. The sport is growing, and there is not a kid that can live without sports in Australia! We are so excited to be here and see you in January!” Alcón added.
To read more about the launch of Barca Academy Australia and their camps being held in January, click here.