US youth international Ben Lederman's dream of one day suting up for Barcelona has hit a major setback.
According to Goal.com's Ives Galarcep, Lederman is leaving Barcelona’s youth academy to join the US U-17 residency program in Bradenton, Florida, after the club was hit with a ban for illegal international transfers.
The move, being forced by a FIFA rule stating that youth players can’t register with a team in a country other than their own until they are 18, comes after Lederman has been unable to play in an official game for the youth team for more than a year, as reported in the New York Times. California native Lederman, who moved to Spain with his family in 2011 join the academy, had hoped to become the first American to play for the famed Catalan club.
“It is killing him,” said Danny Lederman, Ben’s father, to the Times. “And as his dad, it’s killing me, too, to see him like this. A year? Kids need to play; he practices, he practices, he practices, but he can’t play? It’s not right.”
He added: “I understand the rule was made to protect kids from being pulled away from their families. But our family made a choice to move to Spain together. Why should FIFA be able to tell our family where it has to live if we want our kid to play soccer?”