Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is well known for its art and architecture and also for being home of one of the most powerful football teams in the world: FC Barcelona. Undoubtedly, soccer is in the Spanish DNA and the high level of clubs in this region make it a must-visit destination for anyone passionate about football or youth soccer players who wants to learn and experience the famous Tiki-Taka first hand.
Today, we want to share some exerts from our interview with one of our Pro IFX Year Spain players, Nick Bonneau (18), from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusettes USA. who currently is playing at U.D. Gornal Amateur B in Barcelona.
IFX Soccer: Hello Nick. How do you feel in Spain? How do you describe this experience?
Nick: I feel myself changing every day here. By learning about a different culture from living here, my eyes and mind have been opened to new ideas and concepts that I will be able to draw upon for the rest of my life. I feel more ambitious and comfortable in new situations because I’ve had to learn how to communicate in Spanish. It makes me feel more confident in myself and in my future. I feel like I’m getting a different type of education that most American’s don’t get, and that’s exactly what I wanted. I’m growing up in a completely opportunistic atmosphere where you can make it happen for yourself if you believe in yourself. I can describe it by saying this is how I feel this stage of a persons life should be lived, not like in American college which to me is almost like an extension of high school without parents.
IFX Soccer: What do you like most about Spanish soccer and how do you feel in your new Spanish club?
Nick: What I love most about my new club, U.D. Gornal Amateur B, are my teammates. They are a great group of guys who are very kind to me and I’m very appreciative of that. We are in "Catalan Cuatro" which is the Fourth division of football in Barcelona so it’s not the highest league but there’s still good competition among my teammates and against other teams. The Spanish style of football is much different than American soccer understandably. It’s much more technical with less emphasis on endurance and physicality. Although it is more physical than the soccer I played at last year on a U18 level, that’s not what coaches here care about most. They want to play a style where, on defense you are more compact and allowing teams to pass around the back but not in the middle and corners of the field and on offense you are expected not to lose the ball. You have to learn to play with your body between the ball and the defender and your touch has to be quick all the time. The hardest part for me has been learning to play defense as a unit and not just with the midfield where I played all of my last year in the USA, and learning where to make runs to and when to. It’s still football but the style is much different that I imagined.
IFX Soccer: What has been the most memorable event you have experienced since arriving in Spain?
Nick: Going to a Barcelona vs Juventus soccer match and seeing Messi score in the match. It was just incredible to feel the atmosphere in the stadium when the best futbolista scores in a game to beat another very good team.
IFX Soccer: How difficult was it to leave back home and still remain focused on your game?
Nick: For me staying focused on my game is never an issue. I love soccer so any chance I get to play it I’m always very focused and trying to learn and improve my playing and any chance I get to watch a game or talk about tactics with people I am always very interested in what is being said. Luckily for me lots of people talk about fútbol en Barcelona. There’s also much more fútbol to watch in bars and on TV which I love to do as well to analyze professional players and try to learn from them.
IFX Soccer: Please tell us what a typical day is like, from when you wake up until you go to bed.
Nick: Well, I wake up, make myself breakfast of eggs or cereal, pack my bag then I start the 30 minute commute into the center of the city where my school is. I have to take a couple metros there but the subway system in Barcelona is world class in my opinion so I always get there on time at 9:30 for the start of my first class. We learn out of a textbook, note taking, and conversation until 11:30 when the class ends. I go for a Durum Kebab for lunch and return at 2:00 for my second class, which is either a grammar class or a conversation class. After that I go home to eat lunch. Most days during the week I will go to the gym after that. For me, it’s important to stay in good physical shape. We train with my soccer team twice a week. At night during the week I usually chill out at home, watch a soccer game if it’s on, or maybe look at some Spanish notes. Once in a while I’ll go meet my friends for a beer or to go watch a soccer game in a bar. Nothing too crazy.
IFX Soccer: In your personal opinion, What is the role of IFX in your soccer career?
Nick: IFX has given me to opportunity to come live in such a beautiful city and has done a great job finding me a team to play on. Without IFX I don’t know if I would be having as good a time I’m having because I found all my friends, in the beginning, from playing on the soccer team. I couldn’t have found a better way to do it myself. Joining a fútbol team here and making friends from that, I wouldn’t have wanted this any other way. I would definitely recommend this program to any futbolistas who are looking to gain knowledge of life in a different way than going to college. Living in a different part of the world is a very opening experience that you won’t be able to get from going to college I’m sure of that. You get to see the world from a new perspective and you gain new values from living/being a tourist in a city far away from your home.
IFX Soccer: Thank you Nick and continue having a great time in Barcelona.
In view of the above, a year playing soccer in Spain is one you won’t forget. If you want to play football in Spain and experience a highly competitive training environment do not hesitate to contact us right now - we are pleased to give all information you need about our programs and what makes us the best choice when it comes to soccer academies and training programs.
- By learning about a different culture from living here, my eyes and mind have been opened to new ideas and concepts that I will be able to draw upon for the rest of my life.
Choose the best international soccer immersion program combining international education and football!
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