By Patrick Szabo
One of the most iconic soccer brands in the world is coming to Loudoun.
The FC Barcelona soccer club has partnered with Sporting Global to launch its FCBEscola Northern Virginia soccer school at Evergreen Sportsplex near Leesburg. Open tryouts for boys and girls ages 6-18 will be held April 22-29. Training will begin later this year.
“We will be looking for players and families who want to train under the best methodology in soccer,” said Fredi Martin, the project manager of American and Middle Eastern FCBEscola football schools. “We want our players and families to be committed to positive values and development.”
FCBEscola Northern Virginia will teach players soccer using the club’s renowned Barça style. A full-time senior technical director from Barcelona—who will be announced during tryouts—will lead the school with assistance from a team of the club’s own coaches and staff. They will all permanently relocate to the area from Spain.
The launch of the school will come just three months before FC Barcelona plays Manchester United at FedEx Field on July 26 as part of the U.S. edition of the International Champions Cup.
FCBEscola already operates in North Carolina and Florida and the opening of FCBEscola Northern Virginia is the result of the club’s two-year vision to open a school in this region.
“We all believe that Northern Virginia in Loudon County is the best starting place,” Martin said. “The United States is important to us because of the growth of interest in soccer and the passion that American families have for competition.”
Being such a large endeavor, FC Barcelona has partnered with Sporting Global to help facilitate the expansion of its brand beyond Spain.
“They are the experts on soccer methodology,” said Sporting Global CEO John Nash. “We just help them expand those capabilities and those operations in a foreign market.”
The selection of Evergreen Sportsplex as the address for FCBEscola Northern Virginia follows a regional search for a facility that could support the school’s operations.
“We’ve been talking to them for a number of months,” said Chris Bourassa, managing director at Evergreen Sportsplex. “They were looking for a facility where they could open their academy and operate for a number of years.”
With about 60 different sporting organizations that regularly use the facility’s four FIFA-certified turf fields, Evergreen Sportsplex will be tasked with fitting FCBEscola into its already busy schedule.
“It’s not unlike any other negotiations when somebody wants to use your resources and assets,” Bourassa said. “It was done very professionally and it was good experience I think on both sides.”
Although Evergreen Sportsplex has handled the venture as an ordinary business transaction, opening the school will provide the community with an extraordinary service that stems from its very name.
Derived from the Catalan language, which is spoken in the region of Spain where FC Barcelona plays, escola means school. According to Nash, this term carries a deeper meaning with it.
“We view every player with the understanding that they have the opportunity to become professionals,” he said. “We are helping the parents and communities develop children through soccer.”
Nash is confident the school will also promote positive growth in Loudoun County and create jobs by hiring American coaches. This mirrors FCBEscola’s philosophy of instructing not only its youth players, but also its adult coaching staff.
“Also, we want to help the coaches to improve their knowledge,” Martin said. “FCBEscola is a holistic project and the technical director is the best professional to do it.”
To learn more about tryouts, call Evergreen Sportsplex at 703-777-7800. Learn more about FCBEscola Northern Virginia at fcbarcelona.us.