University enters into prestigious deal with FC Barcelona
Sports scientists at Staffordshire University have signed a deal with UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona.
The partnership agreement will involve academics working alongside club professionals on a number of joint research projects and student opportunities to visit FC Barcelona’s training ground on annual basis.
Professor Vish Unnithan, an expert in Exercise Physiology, is already working on a project relating to body fat levels with FC Barcelona’s first team.
In addition Professor Unnithan is working with one of the team’s Sports Medicine doctors, Dr Daniel Medina to present a symposium at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in Boston in May 2016, entitled “The Making of Messi: Talent Identification and Development in Elite Youth Soccer”. This symposium will highlight the FC Barcelona philosophy toward talent identification in elite youth soccer.
Sports science students are already feeling the benefit of the collaboration and eight Staffordshire University students have recently returned from a four day trip to the club where they got exclusive behind the scenes access at FC Barcelona’s training ground and a chance to meet with the technical, coaching and medical staff. The students were also able to hear Professor Unnithan give a talk to the medical staff at FC Barcelona on his football-related research.
Professor Unnithan said: “The trip was fantastic in allowing our students to gain a deeper understanding of the FC Barcelona training philosophy. They also got to see the team in action when they attended the FC Barcelona vs Roma Champions League match at the Camp Nou.”
“The trip also involved a cultural exchange with final year student’s at the Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona where our students got to share their UK sport and educational experiences with their Catalan counter-parts. All the students were outstanding ambassadors for the University on this trip.”
Tom Robinson, a final year student on the BA (Hons) Sports Development course, said : “It was a great experience and gave us a really good insight into the development of elite soccer. In Spain it’s a lot more relaxed and nurturing and this reflects in the abilities of the players.
“The trip covered all bases and it was an invaluable opportunity to observe first-hand the cultural differences in both their football and education system. It was because of our lecturers that we got to learn so much and there is the opportunity of student placements in future.”
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