For the first time ever, FC Barcelona’s famous academy - La Masia - will welcome female players. Barcelona has had training programs for young female footballers in the past, but it was not at La Masia, where the boys train.
At an event attended by Barcelona’s top brass, including club president Joan Laporta, the club formally welcomed a batch of young female footballers to the famous installations.
Lolita Ortiz, former captain and one of the pioneers of the Barça Women’s team, Alexi Putellas, the current captain of Barça Women, and Alba Caño, one of the new pupils joining La Masia, were also present.
“The conditions in which they can work now are luxurious, when we started it was very different,” Ortiz said at the event.
“At La Masia, they do not only develop footballers but also people. Barça is taking firm steps towards equality. All the steps are important and they make ‘More than a Club’ even greater - we are an example to follow and it’s a privilege to wear this shirt,” Putellas said.
“We want to thank the Board of Directors for listening to the new proposals coming along and taking the steps to improve the tools we have to able to work in the best way,” she added.
Caño, who is 17, also spoke.
“I am proud to form part of the first female generation at La Masia, and it’s great step for women’s football at the club. We feel privileged and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible,” she said.
Laporta was present to once again state his commitment to women’s football.
”It’s a proud moment to be involved with Barça on a day like today in which we can witness the residents coming together on this historic occasion. The club has opened the door to gender equality, which is linked completely to ‘More than a Club,’ and we always have to be faithful to that idea,” he said.
Nine girls will join La Masia this year, as they hope to eventually break into Barcelona’s all-conquering women’s team.