The FC Barcelona football club is one of the more sacred sports organizations in the world – They compete for championships each year, always seem to have the world’s best players, like Lionel Messi; and similar to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, they are a non-profit, community owned organization. Their secret, however, isn’t the 11 guys in uniform, rather it’s a youth academy that the club started in the mid-1970s.
For those not familiar with it, this is no ordinary football camp – its a shrine where the lucky few who win admission not only get a world class education, learn the life skills to excel, most importantly of course, they are coached to become the best soccer players in the world. On its current team’s roster, as astonishing 17 out of the 25 players are graduates of the academy. Barca doesn’t compete for talent, they groom them; much like Stanford does with its students and Silicon Valley does with its entrepreneurs. Those ecosystems are rare, but if you haven’t experienced such an environment, Deborah Perry Piscione gives you an insider’s look at The Secrets of Silicon Valley. Here’s what might surprise you —-