By Michael Lewis
FC Barcelona is coming to Long Island — in a big way.
The Spanish La Liga powerhouse will open a Barça Academy in Kings Park, N.Y., the team has announced.
The 21,000-square foot facility will include 10 artificial and natural grass playing fields.
“The strategy to expand the Barca brand unavoidly includes the United States,” the club said in its presentation.
“Taking advantage of the club’s presence in New York, we have picked the tri-state area as the ideal location for a soccer academy managed directly by FC Barcelona.”
The first training camps in Kings Park, which is located in Suffolk County, is scheduled for December of this year with the inauguration of the sports complex set for September, 2019.
Approval of the academy was made by the club’s delegate assembly Oct. 21. The vote was 283 votes in favor, 25 against and 21 blank ballots.
According to the club’s website, there are 184,000 children under the age of 14 on Long Island and a secondary market of more than 2.5 million children in tri-state Area.
“We foresee some 2,000 boys and girls playing at our facilities,” Barcelona CEO Òscar Grau said on the website.
The club said it will send a team of coaches trained by the club “to implement the methodology and philosophy and way of working to guarantee that our image is faithfully represented and cared for at all times.”
“Despite the economic benefits foreseen for the project, the main objective is sporting and the brand,” according to the Barcelona website. “Sporting, because an elite football academy is the aim to compete at the highest level in the country as well as being a point of reference for young North American players. The brand, because this project will serve as a tool for growth in an area of strategic importance for the Club: the USA, and in particular the New York area which has a great influence locally and around the globe.”
While searching for land for the academy, Barcelona discovered a site that belonged to The Anthony J. And Vincenza R. Santilli Revocable Family Asset Company. The company had a rental agreement with Prospect Sports Partner LLC for 90 years for the construction and use of sporting facilities that fell in place with the Barcelona’s needs.
The length of Barcelona’s joint business venture will be 10 years with the option for another 10 years, the website said.
Barcelona opened a New York City office in September 2016.
For the original release, visit: