Turlock soccer standout Hayden Sargis wants to play professionally for FC Barcelona's first team in Spain. It would be the first and only time that a Turlock native had accomplished such a feat, but for now he is one step closer to achieving his ultimate goal after getting an opportunity to be part of the only Barcelona Academy in the United States.
The final decision was made this past weekend by Sargis and his family after the 15-year-old decided to pursue his life goal of becoming a pro soccer player for his favorite club.
“My ultimate goal is to play for FC Barcelona's first team and this puts me one step closer,” said Sargis.
“What has kept me motivated is my desire to keep playing, I watch all the pros, Messi, and I want to be like them one day.”
Argentinian-born pro Lionel Messi is widely considered the best player in the world and has played for Barcelona since 2004 when he was 17-years-old.
The Barcelona Academy is based out of Casa Grande, Arizona and has all the necessities for a young and developing athlete, including an on-campus school by Arizona State University.
Sargis will live on campus while attending school there as well, and focus on developing his soccer skills.
The opportunity happened very suddenly. Sargis was part of a summer camp program put on by Stanislaus State soccer coach Dana Taylor. At the camp, scouts saw the Turlock teen play.
“The coaches saw what they needed to see and liked it and made requests and offers from there and the rest is history,” said Hayden's father Antonio.
Sargis will be leaving for Arizona on Saturday, beginning his journey to, hopefully, the pros.
“I want to play for Barcelona in Spain. I will miss my family, but when I see Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, they left their families at 13 and it was probably hard for them,” said Sargis. “But you need to sacrifice to get somewhere sometimes.”
Sargis, who played for the Sacramento Republic Academy for the past two seasons, will take on his old team with his new squad on Sept. 24 in Sacramento.
His first league game is Sept. 2.
“My next step is to go through this year, to envision myself playing, but my next step for playing is getting invited to play in Spain. I will be playing back line and a little in the midfield,” Sargis added. “My dad has helped me a lot, taking me everywhere, but it’s a whole family effort and I like to thank Sacramento as well.”
“We raised a great kid, from his school which is mostly my wife helping him to get these scholarships for the academy,” Antonio added. “It’s a family support all the way, we are all extremely proud of him. He is getting closer and is a determined kid. When he is out there it's on, that is his love and passion, mark my words he will achieve it, he will be at the highest level one day.”