The world’s best soccer clubs host youth teams featuring age groups as young as 10. Some of those 10-year-olds, or 12-year-olds in other cases, even relocate to cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and the like with their families to chase their dream. It all makes what happens when they form teams and compete at international tournaments a bit more surreal. Imagine if the Yankees and Cubs had teams of 12-year-old competing in tournaments in the Dominican, Florida and Qatar? It’s all a bit surreal, isn’t it?
Regardless, when the age group teams from different soccer powers show up representing their respective academies, they are expected to represent their clubs as ably as possible. In truth they do it one better, as the 12-year-old from FC Barcelona proved at a recent international tournament against counterparts from Japan.
You can see the final moments of Barca’s victory in the World Challenge Cup in Tokyo above. The Catalan side topped Japanese side Omiya Ardija, 1-0, earning the tournament title and celebrating in the exact mode of their senior team heroes like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Neymar, to name a few. Then they realized they had a duty to their defeated foes, and went to comfort them across the pitch.
As noted by For the Win, the resulting scenes made for truly touching video, with pre-teens hugging and helping ease the strife of fellow pre-teen soccer players. The entire scene was pure class, which is probably what one would expect from a team of young Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern players or the like. No matter the age. That such young athletes can live up to positive behavior, and even exceed it, should give everyone hope for the future of sports and sportsmanship in general.