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Barça Legend Sergi Barjuan was the star attraction of the press conference to present the fifth edition of the Barça Academy Cup Las Américas, which begins on 15 December at the Los Establos de Cap Cana polo facilities (Dominican Republic). Having not been held for three years due to the pandemic, the tournament will see over 420 boys and girls aged 7 to 16 years old representing eight different countries from the different Barça Academies and Barça Academy Camps across the Americas, and four teams from the Barça Escola Barcelona.
Former captain and first team coach Sergi highlighted the importance of being able to hold the tournament again for the Barça Academies in the Americas after the pandemic. He also predicted that it will be one big party and a great sporting and life experience for young players from the region. Additionally, he encouraged the players to remain true to the playing style and values that have made FC Barcelona famous around the world, reminding them that the result doesn’t matter, rather that they enjoy their favourite sport.
Barça Academy America Project Executive, Domènec Guasch, acknowledged that this a very important moment in the calendar for the project in the region, and that the Americas region currently has the most schools, Campuses and Clinics, with operations in 12 countries. He also highlighted that four players at the ongoing 2022 World Cup in Qatar went through Barça Academy projects during their early years in the sport, namely FC Barcelona first team player Eric García, Frenchman Marcus Thuram, and the Japanese players, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Take Kubo.
The tournament will have three sponsors for the first time in its history, as the sponsor of the previous two editions, Scotiabank, has been joined by Spotify and Bimbo for this 2022 edition. On their behalf and representing the Scotiabank sponsorship department, Danilo de la Pava highlighted the great work being undertaken in the different countries and the Barça Academies in the region, with local tournaments being organised and grants provided for sportspeople from financially challenged backgrounds so they can learn from the Barça Academy coaches.
Antonio Gutiérrez, New Business and Institutional Relationships Director for Caribbean FC, Barça Academy’s partner in the Dominican Republic, highlighted that the organisation is very proud to have taken the plunge in 2016 to organise the first Barça Academy regional tournament. He also pointed out the value of the competition being very family-orientated, as it combines the competitive games during the morning with leisure and beach activities in the afternoon so that the young sportspeople can complete their great experience at this tourist destination.
The speeches were brought to an end by the director of the Barça Academy Dominican Republic Local Project, Marc Montero, who highlighted the competition's numbers, with over 420 sportspeople across 5 categories (Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16) and competitors from eight different countries, as well as the two local clubs in Downtown Punta Cana and Formando Campeones from La Romana.
The Barça Academy Cup Las Américas opening ceremony will take place at 9:00am local time (2pm in Spain) on 15 December and the finals will be on Sunday 18 December.
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