Joshua Pynadath, an under-11 player from De Anza Force SC in California’s Bay Area, signed on with Real Madrid’s Alevín A team for the 2013-14 season. He trained with Madrid’s U11s twice and FC Barcelona before being selected by the former.
“They told me that I was the first American that they have ever accepted into their academy,” Pynadath told the Los Altos Town Crier in his hometown. “I told them that I would set a good example.”
The young prodigy blogged his Spanish adventure, complete with scores of photos and videos from the field. If you have some time, reading through every post is illuminating to the high level of care top clubs take with their academies in Europe.
Here’s how serious games are. We are supposed to arrive 1 hour before the game. We arrived 1.5 hours before just to be safe. And almost the whole team was already there! Everything is handled very professionally. We have a “kitman” who brings the uniforms and lays them out for us. We only need to bring our shinguards and cleats just like for practice. Then we have a full warm-up and a lot of discussion with the coaches.
Then the actual game. As U11, Real Madrid plays 7 v 7. Wow, this is a STACKED team at every position! I guess that’s why they are 25-1 in their league. We played great and we played together. Its a lot of fun playing with these guys. For this game, everyone played equal time so we had to make the most of our minutes.
With Pynadath’s announcement, he becomes the second American to join a big Spanish academy in recent years. Ben Lederman, a 12-year-old from Los Angeles, plays for FC Barcelona’s La Masia and the U.S. U14 national team.