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Report: U.S. youth Ben Lederman returns to Barcelona academy

ben lederman

An American youngster is back at one of the world’s most prestigious clubs after a two-year absence.

According to ESPN, 16-year-old Ben Ledermen has returned to Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy after acquiring a Polish passport.

Lederman first trained at La Masia when he was 11, but he was forced to leave in 2014 after Barcelona’s transfer ban due to illegally registering youngsters.

The ban meant that Lederman could only train with the club, but was not allowed to participate in matches.

However, now that Lederman has a passport from a country in the European Union, he can be legally registered in January and will be able to play for Barcelona again.


  1. I’ve always been surprised people are okay with this stuff, treating youth players as commodities, even breaking the rules to do so. Youth athletes should not be around professional sports teams/clubs whose # 1 mission is to make money and win. They should be in environments where the kids’ best interests are the focus. We are going backwards with regard to youth sports in this country.

    • How is young ben being treated like a commodity? Because he has the chance to play for the best team in the world, a team known for developing quality pro’s and people, as well as having the opportunity to live abroad in a completely different culture, be able to have a once in a lifetime experience? God the horror….

  2. This family have spent all their time and energy since at least the kid’s age of 11, trying to get their kid to be great at soccer.

    He must be incredible. Or they must be really dumb. There isn’t much middle ground there.

    • Or Barcelona extended the invitation to him through their LA club and his parents knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hundreds of players go through that academy and only he has been plucked for La Masia. The fact that he hasn’t washed out yet and has been brought back after a long absence should be some indication that he’s a quality player and developing on a promising arc.

    • LoL. Speaking of no middle ground- must be incredible to have the rare talent of so much wisdom and insight regarding other people’s lives you have so little information about. Or….

  3. While it’s impressive to have another player in a top tier academy we have to focus on the Hex and the current crop of players….or at least players closer to contributing to the Sr. National Team now. Players like Lederman are prospects for the next cycle at the earliest.

    • Who is “we”?

      I’m free to focus on the present and the future. So are you and anyone else who reads this blog.

      The senior team coaches obviously aren’t wasting energy thinking about Ben Lederman, but you can be sure that the youth program directors are very keen to follow his progress closely now that he is entering what Barcelona considers his last developmental years.

  4. There should basically be a rule that no academy product is talked about except for a) in the context of US youth national team coverage or b) if they do something with the 1st team.

  5. There were guys who went to the Real Madrdid academy and couldn’t make MLS teams. Forgot the name but he was drafted by DCU and then went to KC but didn’t last there either.

    It’s all a new game when you are playing against grown men who have more experience than you.

  6. This is great for him, but is he really a top talent? I have been following the u17s and it does not seem as if he has made much of an impact. Could we be overhyping this kid? I hope I’m wrong, but for every pusilic there is an Adult.

    • Adu’s fall wasn’t all because of hype. He was a quality talent. He outshone players like Luis Suarez and Alexandre Pato (and two players from his own country named Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley) in the U20 world cup and it was good enough to earn him a move to Benfica where he had some early success.

      MLS hyped him to help brand the league, but Adu’s downfall was his work ethic. Being elevated to a pro team at a young age without having earned it left him with a too high opinion of himself and his ability. Coaches began to mistrust him, he fell out of fitness and became prone to distraction.

      Lederman has been with the U15/16s and done fairly well, but he never fully committed to jumping back into the American developmental system. His energies clearly have been focused on getting a passport so he can go back to La Masia. They will ship him out for better or worse soon enough, and he will be in the thick of the YNT setups. From there, one good showing at a tournament and he could be on the Pulisic path (Dortmund spied him at a tournament in England and the rest his history). Whatever the case, there’s no need to anoint or ignore him right now.

      • The hype on the Adu hype is way overhyped at this point. That was a while ago, that dead horse has been beaten into oblivion…. US Soccer, MLS, our player development and fans have progressed quite a bit, have moved on. This kid is rarely mentioned, when he is, all I hear is along the lines of-…. “Yeah… the Lederman kid at Barca… never seen him play but…must be talented if they see something in him. Which is not an outrageous claim. Fortunately for him there are many other hopefuls in the pipeline and “it all” does not rest on him. Cheers

  7. This is interesting. Lots of kids come through La Masia and most don’t make it. I think if they didn’t rate him they wouldn’t be so keen on bringing him back now that he has a Polish passport. Good sign imo.

    In other news. Joshua Pynadath has move to Ajax’s academy having left Real Madrid’s academy. Apparently his mom’s job got reassigned to Amsterdam.

    • All good points. I’ll just add that I believe he was captaining his Barca youth teams before he left so indications were that he was succeeding. While still no guarantee of success, it seemed like he was on a good track.


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