New D.C. partnership with FC Barcelona will bolster youth soccer programs

D.C. Public Schools and FC Barcelona made the agreement official on July 27. (Brian Kapur/The Current)

D.C. Public Schools will partner with the renowned Fútbol Club Barcelona and the FC Barcelona Foundation, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last Wednesday in an event held at Roosevelt High.

The deal will give the District’s public middle school students access to the FútbolNet soccer training program and will also provide D.C.’s public high school students the chance to train abroad in Barcelona.

“As we work to accelerate school reforms and transform the learning experience of our middle and high school students, this partnership with FC Barcelona will provide our students with a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a unique opportunity to train with a world-renowned soccer club,” Bowser said in a news release.

The mayor further announced that more than $6 million will go to athletics and the creation of new programs such as archery and lacrosse. “Through increased investments in academic and extracurricular programming, my administration is finding new ways to expand in-school and out-of-school opportunities for our young people, and this partnership builds on those efforts,” Bowser said.

As part of the news conference, Bowser explained the trip to Barcelona will  be set for students’ spring break in 2018 and \ allow a team of young women representing each public high school the chance to train, play against local teams, tour the Barcelona stadium and attend a game.

“D.C. Public Schools is excited to begin a new partnership with FC Barcelona, an organization with a strong commitment to supporting youth around the world,” Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson said in the release. “Through joyful learning experiences like athletic trainings and study abroad, students will have new opportunities to develop their soccer skills, grow social/emotionally and thrive academically.”

For the middle schoolers, the FútbolNet program — which uses soccer to teach students social/emotional skills, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility — will work with the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association Middle School Summer Program in 2018.

“FútbolNet has been an outstanding tool for promoting social inclusion of children in more than 50 countries thanks to the FC Barcelona Foundation,” Jordi Cardoner, vice president of FC Barcelona, said in the release. “Now, we are proud to bring this proven methodology to the children of Washington, D.C.”