What to Know
- Twenty students from eight D.C. public high schools will spend their spring breaks in Barcelona training with powerhouse FC Barcelona.
- Through the program, students will train at the team’s facilities and work with FC Barcelona’s coaches.
- The cost of the trip is covered for students.
Melissa Mayen’s mom shed tears over the phone while telling her daughter she secured a coveted spot to travel to Spain as part of a partnership D.C. Public Schools created with FC Barcelona last summer.
Mayen, a sophomore high school student and soccer player, will be one of 20 girls’ soccer players from eight D.C. high schools making the trip abroad to learn from coaches and players working with the international powerhouse soccer franchise.
Through the program, students will train at the team’s facilities and work with FC Barcelona’s coaches. The trip is scheduled during the students’ spring break. The cost of the trip is covered for students, they told News4.
“Over there, it’s football, so over there they might have different techniques,” Mayen said. “They could teach us new ways to learn the sport we’re playing.”
In order to be considered for the trip, students had to compete for a spot during a tryout. Some students, such as sophomore Leigh Pendleton, received a spot on the practice team but didn’t initially make the final roster. However, Pendleton learned at the last minute that she would be joining Mayen on the team, providing her with the opportunity to leave the country for the first time.
And the trip will include more than just soccer.
“We will be going sightseeing and going to see a flamenco show,” Pendleton said. “Eating dinner, not just McDonald’s or any other American foods. We’ll be eating Spanish foods and getting immersed in Spanish culture.”
While in Spain, the students are set to train with FC Barcelona, watch one of the team’s games and compete in two matches against Spanish students. It’s an opportunity to play soccer in a new environment.
The team plans to provide pictures and updates about the trip on Instagram.
“I have such a passion for soccer,” Mayen said. “To have this opportunity come to me is so amazing."