ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Sunday around 750 kids between the ages of six and sixteen packed the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex for a chance to play with the newly announced Futbol Club Barcelona soccer school in Austin. An additional 500 kids are expected to try out in May, and the finalists from those tryouts will compete for the 350 to 450 spots in the inaugural class at the soccer school, known as Austin’s FCBEscola Soccer School.
The school will be housed at the Circuit of the Americas and will be the headquarters of the club in the Western U.S. The soccer school is run by ISL Futbol who states on their website that they are the largest partner of FC Barcelona in the United States.
Marc Segarra, the Founder of ISL who is spearheading the Austin school, explained that the program will have multiple coaches, all trained in the practices that built the talent of soccer greats like Lionel Messi.
“It’s just a way where soccer really becomes soccer, it’s not just kicking the ball and following the ball around, we play with out heads,” Segarra said.
Segarra explained that the academy provides a unique opportunity for athletes, it will be run by an FC Barcelona professional who is moving to Austin to help develop young soccer talent.
ISL officials chose to place this school in Austin because of the diversity of soccer talent they found in Central Texas.
For soccer-loving kids who have long bemoaned the lack of a major league soccer team in Austin, this soccer academy offers a taste of the big leagues.
“It was crazy because nothing really comes to Austin, and my favorite team is [now] coming to Austin and my mom was like, ‘lets just join it!'” said 11-year-old Angel Escobar, a lifelong FC Barcelona fan. Escobar was elated to try out for the soccer school Sunday.
The school was announced in March, the Austin school will be one of 26 schools in the world and one of three schools in the U.S.
“We are globally recognized not only from what we teach on the field, but also what the kids can learn outside the field. For us it’s really important the values FC Barcelona represents,” Segarra said. “We’re gonna fight to help these kids reach their dreams and their goals.”
Segarra added that the soccer school plans to be in Austin for at least the next five years.