SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sixteen-year-old Victor Preciado would have been starting his senior year at Del Oro High School in Loomis next week.
Instead, Victor has accepted a partial scholarship to attend the elite Barça Residency Academy in Arizona. Barça is the main club in Barcelona, Spain, and the same team Lionel Messi plays for.
Victor was one of two players selected after recently attending a camp to join the Barça Residency Academy.
With no guarantee he would eventually have a soccer season the spring of 2021, Victor and his family made the tough decision for him to leave home by himself and head to Arizona.
“You know, this is the time when you get recruited and it just didn’t seem like nothing is going to happen right now,” said Victor’s mother, Valerie Lewis.
“Because in California, everything is not for sure yet with sports,” Victor told FOX40. “In Arizona, they for sure are going to give me a plan and they have a schedule already set up so I can get exposed to colleges.”
“At least there they are assuring they’ll be playing,” Lewis said.
It’s a decision Victor and his mom said other local families are making now too.
And while some may see it as a drastic alternative, his family feels the move is the best opportunity to further Victor’s soccer and educational dreams.
“It’s a hard decision for them because they are leaving so much behind,” Lewis said. “But they also see something bigger than everything else.”
“I feel if I take this route, I will eventually achieve my dream,” the teen said.
The Barça Residency Academy is not cheap. Victor’s scholarship only covers part of the cost. His family will take care of the rest but have set up a GoFundMe page to help.