Palestinian teenager Mohamed al-Badawi spent a substantial amount of time trying to improve his soccer skills as he prepared to join Barcelona’s soccer school next summer.
Barcelona’s Youth Academy, a sport institution offering young players training in world football, conducts regular tours to discover new young talents throughout Spain and the world.
During its recent trip to Jordan, the academy aimed to choose the best five young talents out of over 400 players.
Al-Badawi was delighted to read about the academy’s tour in the local newspapers, and he went to Jordan to try his luck.
After playing in front of scouters from Barcelona’s soccer academy of Soccerstages, the 15-year-old was chosen along five others to join the training program in Barcelona.
Al-Badawi’s said his love for soccer started at a very young age.
“I have been playing soccer for almost ten years. I loved the game because my father and brother made me like it. My brother used to always play this game, so he encouraged me to play it and so I started to play it with him,” he said.
The teenager currently trained at a green soccer field in Ramallah and sometimes played with the local soccer club. He was very excited about representing the Palestinian territories in Europe.
“It is a nice feeling for a Palestinian to try this European experiment. The fact that I am, as a Palestinian, representing Palestine in Barcelona, has given me so much motivation,” al-Badawi said.
Soccerstages, Barcelona’s Youth Academy, trains over 300 select players between the ages of 11 and 27.
“The idea of him joining a soccer school in Barcelona and studying there, where they will take care of his education and sport, is a positive step that I encourage him towards. This experience will develop his personal skills and introduce him to the media and sport sectors in Spain as well as the European Union countries,” said soccer coach Mohamed Seder.
Al-Badawi’s friends said they hoped he’d become the Palestinian version of the famous player Lionel Messi.
“I encourage him to go to Spain and play with Barcelona, because he will join the same school that the famous player (Lionel) Messi joined, and Messi has become famous. So there might be a chance for Mohamed to play with Barcelona and become famous too,” said Feras Alomari.
Al-Badawi is scheduled to travel to Barcelona for his soccer training in June.