“The Chance” 2012 programme has been Nike's most competitive yet. After 100,000 global entrants, the final 100 players, from 55 countries have gathered in Barcelona. Now underway, the final event is being held at Barcelona's iconic training ground and academy base, the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
Following the first day of training, the Final 100 players were rewarded with a visit from several of Barcelona’s players. Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Adriano were among a group who after their own training session had ended, walked over to meet the youngsters before joining in with some drills and offering their own tips and advice.”
About The Chance, Barcelona's Brazilian full-back Adriano said: "This is such a big opportunity for the young footballers, they should take this chance as if it was the last of their lives and show what they are made of."
Speaking on the Final 100 working together as a team as well as for individual merit over the final week, Gerard Pique commented: "At the end of the day football is a team game. Work as a team and have fun, learn more and you will stand out and be noticed."
The first day of training focused on basic control and passing, followed by intense possession drills. "It was a great first session," enthused Liam Baker, from London. "Today is all about catching the coaches’ eye and it’s important to keep your head up if you make a mistake. Go and look for the ball again, show you’re hungry."
The Nike Academy's head coach Jimmy Gilligan was pleased with what he saw. "The standard is very good," he said, “We knew it would be but today was all about the basics. If a building’s foundations aren’t done properly, that building will fall down. I equate that to football and the guys didn’t disappoint."
During this week of the Global Final, the footballers will be assessed by elite coaching drills gathered from around the world. With Barcelona as a backdrop, players will also experience the unique atmosphere of the city with activities throughout the week.
The top 16 from the Final 100 players will go through an intense training and competition schedule in Barcelona with the opportunity to experience the ultimate training tour as their reward; facing some of the most renowned academy teams in the world including Manchester United and Juventus during a once in a lifetime four week period.
The winning 16 players will live the life of an elite footballer and train at the best facilities around the world under the watchful eyes of club coaches and scouts, a golden chance to get noticed and potentially win a professional contract.