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FC Barcelona will open a soccer school in Charlotte

FC Barcelona players Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi. The club is opening a soccer school in Charlotte this fall.
FC Barcelona players Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi. The club is opening a soccer school in Charlotte this fall. Getty

As part of a push to expand its U.S. presence, Spanish giant FC Barcelona is opening an official soccer school in Charlotte this fall, and tryouts are set to begin in a few weeks.

FCBEscola is open to boys and girls 6-12 years old, FC Barcelona said in a recent statement. The first tryouts are May 13-14, May 27-28 and June 10-11, and the fall season runs Aug. 15-Nov. 23.

The club is working with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation on the location, though south Charlotte is most likely because that’s where it has the most players interested, spokesman Rut Vilar said.

The school “will not only help local players experience firsthand the best international, professional and developmental soccer pathway, but will also help put Charlotte on the global soccer stage,” said Marc Segarra, co-founder of ISL Futbol, a global sports management company partnering with FC Barcelona on its U.S. expansion.

FCBEscola in Charlotte will be the second FC Barcelona soccer academy in the U.S. The club opened FCBEscola Miami School in 2014.

In addition to the schools, FC Barcelona is also organizing summer camps in nine U.S. cities, including Charlotte and Raleigh. The summer camp runs in two sessions, June 13-17 and June 20-24, each 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Those interested can learn more here: http://academy.fcbarcelona.us.

Additionally, the club said, certain players could be selected for an “FCB Experience,” which is a trip to Barcelona to practice and play at the FC Barcelona Ciutat Esportiva. They will also participate in the International FCBEscola Soccer Tournament, in which players from the club’s different schools around the world compete.

The club said to help establish the authenticity and legitimacy of the school, a director, several former FC Barcelona players and professional coaches will work full-time to establish residency in Charlotte.

In March, Charlotte Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble said he met with Barcelona officials about the prospects of the team playing a summer exhibition at Bank of America Stadium this year.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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