The soccer skills of Lincoln seventh-grader Andrea Ramirez caught the eye of recruiters from the world-renowned F.C. Barcelona during a summer camp in Dallas and now the athlete is headed to Spain next week to train with their coaches.
Ramirez was named the goalie most valuable player in her age and gender division during the camp, which lead to the Barça invitation. She will join MVPs from throughout the country at the camp in Europe.
While there, she will breathe and live soccer with girls from the U.S. and Spain.
“I like the intensity of the game and like that I’m going to get to meet girls from different parts of the world,” she said. “I hope to get more experience and more knowledge about my position. I also want to see their different styles of play.”
Ramirez began her soccer career at age 4, playing on a church team in Dallas and progressed to club ball play for the El Paso Cosmos FC in 2014.
She wasn’t always the goalie but she had expressed interest in the position to avoid the constant running involved in playing left and right wing. When the team goalie didn’t show one day, she jumped in without hesitation.
“I don’t really like running. I get tired a lot and run really differently so I was like ‘I want to play goalie,’” she said. “And then it turns out, I was really good at it.”
Her goalie coach Javier McDonald, president of El Paso Cosmos FC, attributes her success to her talent and drive to put in hours of extra work after games and regular practices to really hone her skills.
“Andrea takes this very seriously,” McDonald said. “Since May, I’ve seen her explode – becoming a great player. Where others may play for fun or recreation, Andrea is dedicated and focused on what she’s doing in soccer. It’s been a priority.”
The camp will be held at the Barcelona facility, giving the young players a glimpse of the lives of the professionals that walk the field.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for her not just for soccer but also to learn another culture,” McDonald said.
The goalkeeper plans to continue blocking goals for many years to come. While she plans to pursue higher education, she does hope that someday the United States Women’s National Soccer Team comes calling.
“Because it’s the national team,” she smiled.