CASA GRANDE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Barcelona is known for developing some of the best soccer players in the world. Now, some of that amazing talent is being fostered and grown right here in Arizona.
Barça Residency Academy in Casa Grande is FC Barcelona’s only United States full-time residential academy program partnered with a top international professional team. Student-athletes live and train on Grande Sports World’s campus. The campus features on-site dormitories, eight soccer fields, professional nutritional programming, an outstanding high school, and a 58,000 square foot state-of-the-art athletic training facility.
The kids who attend are 14 through 19 years old. Each of them is fully immersed in soccer. "We eat, drink, just basically live every component of soccer," one participant told us. "You have everything that you need here to be successful. It's all about just taking it in and you know, what you do with it."
Every player that graduates from the academy either signs a professional contract or is offered a scholarship at a top collegiate program. Christian Ortiz, from Yuma, is a great example. He's been with the program for three years and now has a scholarship to Oregon State University. And Cameron Fisher, from Scottsdale, has a scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The academy also offers annual opportunities to train and try out with FC Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.
Sean McCafferty is the academy director. His goal is to help these kids lessons that will go far beyond the soccer field. "Our core values are very important to us, so it's developing good human beings as well as players," he says.
The academy bills itself as "more than a club." We're told it's not just about soccer on the field but also about family outside the field, how you interact with others. "It's not only a program that teaches you to become a great soccer player, but a great person as well."
Barça Residency Academy
12684 W Gila Bend Hwy
Casa Grande, AZ 85193