One of the youngest players participating at the upcoming 2014 NASL Player Combine, Noah Figueras is something of a unique rookie heading into this weekend’s event at the University of California-Irvine.
The Spaniard, who turned 19 in October, has very impressive resume, including a spell at the FC Barcelona Academy (FCBEscola).
“My ambition was always playing the sport I love and take it to another level,” said Figueras on competing at the fourth annual NASL Combine. “Since I was a kid I always dreamed to become a professional soccer player. I've worked very hard in my life and now that I have this opportunity I'll do the best I can.”
Born in Barcelona, Figueras has grown to become a left or right sided attacker with the ability shoot with both feet, while averaging 15-20 goals every season he has stepped onto the field for the last 14 years.
“I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old in the local club where I used to live,” Figueras remembers. “I showed that I could play the entire year and did well with them.”
At just the age of six, Figueras began showing his skills with CF Can Vidalet infant team until he reached nine years old. This would then lead to a huge interest in him by FCBEscola the following year.
“I played with them (FCBEscola) two years,” Figueras added. “As a 12-year-old kid I was getting excited about it and then I started to feel that I was good soccer player. Then I knew that I wanted to keep going until reach my goal of trying to become a professional player.”
After a competing with the U-12 to U-15 teams of AE JM Jene, Figueras went on to play for the Catalonian club UDA Gramenet’s Under-18 squad.
Figueras recalls: “In UDA Gramanet, I played at the high level against professional teams like FC Barcelona, RCD Españyol as well as and others top level clubs in Catalonia. I had a great season with that team as we finished fourth in our league.”
Figueras also knows that experience is an important factor in this sport and always likes the challenge and competition against the bests after playing on the highest youth level in Spain.
The 2014 NASL Combine brings that challenge to the table for Figueras who has recently moved from Spain to the U.S. east coast, living in Florida.
“I've only been living here five months because of my dad's work and I just tried out with some ID camps,” said Figueras. “I can see that there is a total different style of play. In the U.S. is more physical and play is more direct. In Spain, more tactical play is used.”
Figueras will be one of more than 80 players in this year’s NASL Combine looking to earn a place at a team’s preseason training camp and ultimately a professional contract.
“If I get a contract with one of the NASL teams I'll feel very proud to get to that level,” said Figueras “But to get there, I'll keep training hard so I can go as far as possible.”