Every young soccer player dreams of being part of a world class soccer team - In April, 11-year old Southern Californiaresident, Ben Lederman came one step closer to fulfilling his, by becoming the first American to be offered a spot for a two-year training program at FC Barcelona's Youth Academy.
The invitation-only La Masia academy, is considered to be one of the world's best soccer training schools. Some of its most famous alumni include FC Barcelona midfielders Andre Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez and also, the team's forward Lionel Messi.
Ben was first spotted by the Spanish coaches in the spring of 2010, when his team FC Barcelona Penya, Los Angeles competed and won against the academy's team. His performance impressed the coaches so much, that in April of 2011, they invited him to try out for a spot at the soccer school.
The youngster whose style of play and ball control skills have been compared to Andres Iniesta, did so well, that he was immediately offered a two-year stint to train with them.
This of course does not guarantee him a spot in the team or even an extension after his initial two-year training period is up - But, it is definitely a step in the right direction and very exciting for the young prodigy who lives and breathes soccer and has been ardent fan of the four-time European champions, since he was a toddler!
Resources: thedenimkit.com,rivals.yahoo.com, east-sports.com, barcelonausa.com