The cliché that football players can’t have an academic career died out long ago” stated Professor Xavier Ramírez, one of their tutors.
“I’m going to Vitesse.” “Well, okay. Good luck, and say hi to el Chapi for me.” This conversation took place between Xavier Ramírez and one of his students, Martí Riverola, at the Institut Químic de Sarrià (IQS) where the youngster is studying Administración y Dirección de Empresa (ADE; Administration and Business Management) along with four other teammates: Ilie Sánchez, Oriol Rosell, Sergi Roberto and Marc Muniesa.
“There is one main difference between working with elite sportsmen and other students. They leave when you least expect it”, explains Ramírez. He and Maria Àngels Portabella are two of the players’ tutors. Their work consists in sorting out the young players’ schedules and timetables: due to their career choice they can’t always show up for class. And it’s not about hanging out at a bar, or playing with their PlayStation: their leaves of absence are linked with training, transfers and NT call-ups.
Riverola managed to pass three subjects in Arnhem, where he stayed for half a season. “This kind of students, elite football players, are really hard-working, they are gifted with self-control, discipline and perseverance. Not to say other students don’t have these positive traits, it’s just less common” Portabella explains; besides being their tutor, she also gives them lessons in Verbal and Written Communication. “This particular class is very useful for their career as football players; it helps them both with press conferences and in their relationships with their teammates.”
These five Barça B youths who balance their football career with university usually attend about 10 hours of classes per week, some with their fellow students and some with private tutors. For other compulsory classes they resort to new technologies [computer, internet etc.] in order to keep up.
Tomorrow Ilie Sánchez will undergo surgery for the fourth time this season: he has a problem in his left Achilles tendon left from his first surgery. He will be staying at the hospital for 2-3 weeks. Ramírez doesn’t seem bothered by it: “He’s a very smart boy, he won’t have any problems even though he won’t be coming to class for the next two weeks.”
Barça is the patron
It’s the club that pays for their education at this private university. Barça helps them grown on two fronts: as players and as students. “The cliché that football players can’t have an academic career died out long ago” explains Professor Ramírez. “Take Unzué, Zubizarreta or Txiki Begiristain. They are well-prepared professionals and they used to be professional football players. Life is long, and there are less and less “ruined footballers” these days.” [LOL how dramatic]
The connection between IQS, which is part of Ramon Llull University, and FC Barcelona dates back a few years, when La Masia professor Rubén Bonastre first decided to enroll one of his students there. From then on this link has strengthened, and today there are five players who are studying Administration and Business Management (ADE in Spanish) at IQS.
“Barça is one of the clubs who are doing the most to enhance the education of professional footballers, to try and fight against the aforementioned clichés. There are still no first team players with a degree, but I have no doubt that there will be some in the future.”
Portabella adds that “These boys have very bright minds, they do. They do everything their peers do, only with different schedules.” ADE courses usually last four years, although it will take Sergi Roberto, Muniesa, Rosell, Ilie and Riverola five or six years to graduate. Something that doesn’t bother them in the least.
Today Sergi Roberto has a maths exam. Last Sunday he played with Barça B against Guadalajara at the Mini Estadi and yesterday he had training and then classes in the afternoon.
One of the most promising players of the Blaugrana youth teams in the morning (he made his Champions League debut at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium), in the afternoon he becomes a regular 19-year-old student attending ADE lessons at IQS.
And with him, four other teammates are doing the same. Football isn’t everything at Barça, which is indeed més que un club.
A Youth System full of university students
Besides those five players studying ADE at IQS, there are five other teammates who are pursuing different academic careers: Montoya, Bartra, Planas, Miño and Sergi Gómez. 10 out of the 26 players that make up Barça B.
Full article in Spanish at: http://www.sport.es/es/noticias/barca/guapos-buenos-estudiantes-118653
Side notes - OP did some stalking and it turns out that the rest of the bbs Marc Bartra, Carles Planas, Martin Montoya (and ex-Barca bbs Ruben Rochina and Oriol Romeu) study sports sciences, while bb Fontass does Physical Education. Here's a video of some bbs talking pretty stuff about studying:
And now a tiny mini-spam, it's late, feel free to spam away!