FC Barcelona Academy BU12 coach Brian Kleiban with Jonathan Dos Santos at Cuitat Esportiva. Photo Credit: 3FOUR3
FC Barcelona Academy – The Best Boys Under 12 Team in the Nation
Over the last 3 years, I have coached the San Diego Soccer Club (SDSC) BU12 team. As this will be my final year with this group; I wanted to look back at this age and their development. This has been a great group of kids and families very committed and passionate about the game. Rarely have I seen this in one group of kids as a team that I have coached.
Over the years, as I have watched the development of this age group both in San Diego County and the Los Angeles area, one team has come forward as the team to beat and the most talented BU12 team in the nation. That team is FC Barcelona Academy BU12.
This talented group of young players from Los Angeles is a delight to watch. They play the game the way it should be played, their technical abilities are excellent, and their ball movement and tactical awareness are way above their age level. I have watched them grow together since first playing against them at Under 10, and even back then they were very far advanced with their skill levels.
I love to watch beautiful soccer, and this is what these boys provide. They are well coached by Brian Kleiban, a fine young coach. Daniel Rogers is his assistant and also the coach of their very good BU11 team. I have listened and watched Brian coach, standing right there beside him. He is very passionate and positive with his team, with comments such as, “You need to play out of the back, don’t just kick it,” “Look at your spacing,” “One touch, two touch, five touch,” and “Separate from your marker.” I like his style.
They have won numerous championships, including State Champions three years in a row, Surf Cup three-peats. But besides all their trophies and championships, they play the game the right way!
I recommend that every coach and their young teams within this age level (and older) watch them play when they get the chance. I quite honestly think these boys could play at a higher age level and still be successful.
My team always talks about them. We had never beaten them until we got a hard-earned 1-0 win recently at United Cup, only to be drawn against them the following day in the semi-final. This time they beat us 2-1 after PKs. I was proud of my boys to have played back-to-back matches and have given them hard games. The Barcelona class was there for all to see, but we did not sit back and watch them play – we challenged them in every position, and that is all I could ask from my boys. This Barcelona team is technically and tactically superior to any other I have ever seen at this age.
We are fortunate to have many very good teams in this BU12 age bracket in Southern California. Golden State Academy are an excellent team, well coached and exciting to watch. We also have Fullerton Rangers, Pateadores, Celtic, FC Mau.Utd, Cypress FC, and many more. In the San Diego area besides my SDSC BU12 Navy we have Surf White, Carlsbad Lightning, Nomads, and other strong teams.
Southern California, with its numerous talented BU12 club teams, has probably some of our nation’s finest young players, but ALL are still trying to catch the best: FC Barcelona Academy.
I am hoping that some of these Barcelona boys will be recognized at the higher levels and get a chance to compete on the international stage in the near future.
FC Barcelona and their young program are certainly a major force in youth soccer. In the recent Surf Cup, they took home all the championships in the BU10, BU11 and BU12 age brackets, Brian Kleiban and his colleagues are certainly doing something right in LA.
For information on FC Barcelona you can go on their web site at www.barcelonausa.com. For the web site for Brian and Gary Kleiban and their Barcelona development program, go to www.3four3.com.
Related Articles: John Napier on SoccerNation