Pro IFX Spain participant Eli Goldman joins Penya Anguera in Barcelona


Autumn is here and, with it, starting to come is news from participants of all our Fall Student Exchange Programs in Spain. Such is the case of Eli Goldman (19) a native from Minneapolis, Minnesota who came to Spain as part of the IFX Barcelona Year-long program. Eli spent last season playing for Minnesota Thunder Academy and is planning to play in college next year, thus this was the perfect time to take a gap year and join to Pro IFX Year Spain program which enables competitive soccer players over the age of 18 the opportunity to play for a Spanish semi-professional/Amateur club. “…when I figured out about a program where you could play soccer as well I know that it was exactly what I wanted. I chose Spain because I wanted to learn Spanish and I knew somebody who was doing the IFX program and he had such good reviews about it all.”

  • "I would recommend this program because there is a lot that IFX does under the scenes to make this all workout that wouldn’t be possible if you were to just come alone".

Upon arrival and after first training sessions in Barcelona (first evaluation training/s of what players’ levels are so that trials are arranged with different teams in the region and corresponding levels) IFX representatives in Spain identified Eli´s technical skills and agreed to arrange for him a tryout with Penya Anguera B. After a few training sessions, it didn’t take long for Eli to be moved up to the first team where he is playing now. Penya Anguera belongs to the Clubs and Peñas Football Association of FC Barcelona and is considered to be a benchmark of formative football, with more than 25 teams from the school category to Amateur league.

Eli is living with a host family. He confessed that has all gone very smoothly. “…The family is really nice, we talk in Spanish when we are together, the mom is always feeding me good food, and I have a good relationship with my host brother. That part of the experience has all gone really well so far and that has made things a bit easier. It is nice having a real home to go to and a family to work on my Spanish with. I came in with some Spanish knowledge from High school but I really wanted to fully learn it and so this is perfect for that”.

As far soccer, he stated he likes the way the ball is always on the ground. All the players on the team are very technical and the ball rarely leaves the ground, which also brings a lot more fun to play. Soccer in Spain is usually played one and two touch with the ball on the ground (the famous Tiki-Taka) so fast footwork and quick decision making give you a better chance of playing and fitting in. “It feels like I am playing with a college team but they are not connected to university like how it is in the US. Most of the guys on my team are in the University so this pretty much their “school team” and then there are also guys on my team who are older and out of school already. Even though the team isn’t through their school, everyone is still very passionate and committed towards this team. Each club has all of their own facilities, so when I go to practice, everything at the field and complex is my club’s facilities”.

Spanish is a very warm culture. Eli stated that he is still trying to meet new people and more Spanish people but from the guys on his team and the teachers at the school, they have all been very nice. “I would describe the experience so far as a massive self growth experience. At first adjusting to everything being different was a struggle and now that I am more used to things it is about trying to make a life here by meeting new people and having a comfortable routine. It is no doubt hard at first, and still is, but slowly I feel stuff getting easier and better and I know I am growing a lot through the whole experience”.

I would recommend this program because there is a lot that IFX does under the scenes to make this all workout that wouldn’t be possible if you were to just come alone. There is a lot of paperwork and finding a team and other small things that they are always doing to make it run as smoothly as possible. But other than that, it is up to you to make it as good or bad of an experience as you want because there is a lot of independence.

Like Eli, are you looking for a Study Exchange Program abroad that allows you to play soccer at competitive level? Please do not hesitate to contact us right away – we are happy to help you to fulfill this dream! Call Us Today to +1 510-599-4625.! Just IFX Soccer has Soccer – Study Programs in Europe tailored to you!

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