Memories to last a lifetime

BARCELONA - Julian Tay will always remember April 2014. He may have not had much success in his first FCBEscola International Tournament, but the eight-year-old will still leave Spain with precious memories.

Playing in front of 1,000 supporters, albeit mostly made up of parents armed with cameras, the Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) pupil was part of the FCBEscola Singapore Under-10 team who played six matches at the event.

Although they lost all their games, Julian still found the experience enjoyable. "It was the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of," he said. "It is a small step towards my dream of playing in all the big stadiums."

The boys played their matches at the club's training pitches in Miniestadi, across the road from Barcelona's hallowed Nou Camp home ground. Just being in the Barca set-up, visiting the Nou Camp and La Masia academy, was inspiring to the young footballers.

Said Julian's team-mate George Bissell, a nine-year-old Manchester native who has lived in Singapore since 2009: "We may have lost, but I look at it as a lesson to train harder and not fool around in training."

In all, 24 children representing FCBEscola Singapore in the tournament, which featured 780 children from FCBEscola's 15 schools worldwide. The Singapore school also sent a team made up of boys aged 10 to 12. They also lost all six of their matches.

But the Singapore school's technical director Carles Martin is optimistic. He said: "We are the newest school, and I am very happy with the attitude of the boys and how they did."

This article was published on April 18 in The Straits Times.

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