Madrid: Eleven year old Joshua Pynadath, whose family is based in United States of America, has won the chance to train at Real Madrid’s prestigious academy for a year, after impressing in a second trial.
The 11-year-old and his family will move to Madrid at the end of August “to make Joshua’s dream happen,” his mother Jackie Pynadath said.
Joshua intends to make the most of his yearlong commitment to Real Madrid’s Alevin A team, with the Los Blancos having pipped their arch-rivals Barcelona to his signature.
“I was blown away when I got the official news from Real Madrid,” he stated in a media interaction. “They told me that I was the first American that they have ever accepted into their academy. I told them that I would set a good example.”
Like Ronaldo, who is his favourite player, Joshua is known for his footwork. A highlight video of Joshua playing for the De Anza Force Soccer Club – which shows off his acute ability to dribble, pass and score – is what first drew Real Madrid’s interest a year ago. Club officials were so impressed with what they saw in the video, submitted by De Anza Force technical director Jeff Baicher, that they invited Joshua to train with the club during Thanksgiving week.
He played well enough to be invited back to Spain in the spring for an extended trial with Real Madrid and for an initial tryout with FC Barcelona.
“I was really excited to get the news that Real Madrid was inviting me back for another trial. That meant there could be a real chance for me to make the actual Real Madrid academy team. The second trials are usually when they make the decision on if a player is good enough to join their team,” Joshua said. “I received another surprise when I found out that Barcelona was interested in taking a look at me as well.”
Joshua started his 17-day journey in Barcelona, where he admitted to being “a little bit nervous, since I don’t speak the language. But once the soccer started, I was fine.”
Joshua’s confidence seemed to grow with each session.
“I enjoyed my time at Barcelona,” he said, “and was happy to hear the coaches tell me that I was a very good player and that I improved every day of the trial.”
By the time he reached Madrid, Joshua felt right at home.
“The Real Madrid academy team and coaches seemed very excited to have me back,” he said. “It was like I had never left.”
He added that the second trial was even more intense than his first tryout with Real Madrid. Seeing action as a striker, winger and a half-back, Joshua trained with the academy team and scrimmaged with talented players from throughout Europe also vying for a berth on the squad.
“Both trials were very serious, as kids are fighting to either keep a spot or to earn a spot,” said Joshua, who just completed the fifth grade at St. Nicholas School. “It was a very good feeling to be able to play well against this top competition since the level and speed of play over there is amazing.”
“My biggest highlight of the trip was scoring a goal in a Real Madrid uniform in their match against another team,” he revealed. “That was a dream come true, and the team was so happy for me. I think they were even more excited than I was.”
The youngster is now hoping to make the most of his one year stint at the club, and improve as a player.
“I can’t wait to get started over there,” he said. “They already have an amazing team that went 25-1 in their league, so I know that playing with them every day is going to make me that much better.”
Joshua and younger brother Jason – who will play on Real Madrid’s satellite team for his age group – will attend the American School of Madrid, according to Jackie. She expects the family to stay in Spain until at least next summer.