Barcelona Experience Soccer Training, BEST, offers personalized training soccer programs to players and teams, professionals and amateurs, from all over the world.
Their goal is to improve individual soccer skills through a specific methodology based on integral player training and immerse their trainees into the culture and experience of Barcelona.
We caught up with one of their Director, Victor Cócera to talk about their services, where they’re headed and what life may look like for BEST in a Post-COVID-19 world.
Zushan Hashmi: Tell me a little bit about your role at Barcelona Experience Soccer Training (BEST)?
Victor Cócera: My role at Barcelona Experience Soccer Training is as a director, my goal is to coordinate the operation of all areas of the company, being in constant communication with all the respective leaders.
I try to think about how to improve the services we offer, to control that they are done well and to consider new lines to develop, and especially now with the situation nowadays.
How did you get involved with BEST?
I worked for seven years at the Football Club Barcelona, during the first 5 years I used to coordinate the goalkeeper’s area of the Barca Academy and in the last two I had the same role but in “Formativo Fútbol”, what is known around the world as ‘La Masia’.
During all those seasons I was also making club campuses all over the world. I worked in more than 15 countries, on four different continents, all this made me see the passion for football around the world, and especially for Football Club Barcelona and its city.
This aspect combined with the contacts and knowledge of the sector pushed me to open BEST with a bunch of other partners.
We formed a great team and thanks to this, this project could be carried out.
Tell me about BEST as an organization and what is it that you do?
BEST offers teams from all over the world, whether they are clubs, academies, with activities in high-level football training through global educational values and enriching personal experiences.
From BEST we want to connect people, expand their passion for football and provide them with a 360º experience: sports, leisure and training, all under the threshold of the Barcelona brand. Mediterranean Essence, multicultural context and football DNA.
Our services are Barca Academy Clínic, Real Club Deportivo Espanyol Clínic and BEST Clínic, Stage, Stage + Torneo and Campus, this one is held outside the Spanish territory.
We are about to release a new online project in a few weeks, where we will offer courses through the web on three specific areas: Methodology and aspects of the game, Physical Preparation and Training of goalkeepers.
You can see everything on our website.
Who are the leading coaches at BEST?
The head of sports is Javi Cócera, he worked at the Football Club Barcelona during five seasons, the first four as coach of the Barca Academy Barcelona, as well as developing the club’s campuses in many countries around the globe.
In his last season as Director of the Barca Academy of Bogotá, as well as Project Manager of Cali, Medellin and Bogotá.
Coaches who work with BEST are professionals who have worked at Barca or other top clubs not only in Spain but in different countries.
In addition, within the academic training, all of them are graduates in Sports Sciences and Physical Activities, as well as UEFA A or PRO coaches.
In your opinion, what is it that sets BEST apart from its competitors?
Within our sector and especially in Barcelona there are companies of a very high level, I think that we have been able to get into it very well thanks to our experience within the international football world, which we have gained after so many years travelling, and on the other hand, the control of local football, in Spain and in particular all over Barcelona, since we have all the facilities in our own city: facilities, rivals for friendly teams, tournaments, etc.
But what sets us apart from the rest, is the quality of our coaches, we manage to maintain the same level as an elite club, since they have all previously worked, for a long time, with some of them.
And most importantly, we always work to transmit the values of BEST in all that we do: Teamwork, Quality, Training, Closeness and Fun.
Tell us about the relationship that BEST has with FC Barcelona?
We collaborate with the club when we have requests for the Barca Academy Clínic, only in that product, for the rest, we are not partnering with them in any other activities.
Obviously, there is a relationship between thinking and doing in many things, since most professionals who work at BEST, we have worked for many years at the Football Club Barcelona.
I ask this because soccer is not a term that is used to describe the sport of football in Europe, is your target market US-focused? If not, then?
The idea of using Soccer on our behalf was because Football is not understood as Football on all sites, as some countries use it for a different sport than the one we dedicate ourselves to, instead Soccer is a word linked worldwide to our sport.
In addition, it was a way to internationalize the name and make it clear that our goal is to work with teams around the world.
Who are some of the teams/players that you have worked with?
During my formative years, I played six seasons at RCD Espanyol, together with Barca, the other Barcelona club that plays in ‘La Liga’.
From there I was in the top youth ranks and moved to Third Division, making my second Division B debut at the age of 20.
Within the team that forms BEST, we have Victor Alvarez, current player of the Russian Premier League and former player for five seasons of the First team of RCD Espanyol in ‘LaLiga’, with more than 100 matches as a professional and is one of the captains.
There is also Roberto Jiménez, current goalkeeper of Deportivo Alavés, on loan from West Ham United, formerly at Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Olympiacos, with almost 350 games as a professional.
BEST also works as a conduit that enables your clients to learn about and experience the Catalonian culture, tell me a little bit about this?
Yes, one of the key pillars of the Project, is the city where we find ourselves; cosmopolitan, with sea and mountains, the Mediterranean climate and endless possibilities in leisure, cultural and catering activities.
Within all our activities, we offer to make tours in the most emblematic places, both for the teams and their companions, as well as enjoy the typical cuisine and the most important enclaves of Barcelona and its surroundings.
Why is this sort of immersion critical to your mission as a coaching organization, and how does it benefit your clients?
We believe that football experience is the main thing, but since people come from many places in the world, why not enjoy the sport and also the city?
It is good to take advantage of all the moments outside of football to enjoy a city that, as I said before, offers many opportunities and that has such magical corners.
And we believe that in activities where players come with family members, for them it is key not to have to be linked to the football program the whole time, part of the trip is to enjoy your days freely and doing all kinds of activities.
Tell me a little bit about the various programs that you offer, such as the clinics and stage program?
We offer several services, most of them in Barcelona city.
We have the BEST Clínic, where players will be able to obtain full training in this sport.
We have coaches and trainers who have passed through the quarries and schools of the best clubs in the city and the country such as FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol, or Barca Academy, among others.
As always, we offer to compliment the travel plan with a set of the best activities, both touristic and recreational, that Barcelona offers.
We also offer BA Clínic and RCDE Clínic, where we collaborate with Football Club Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, training with their methodology, trainers and facilities.
The organization of the activity is structured just like the BEST Clínic.
On the other hand, we have the Stage and Stage + Tournament, where teams from all over the world can come to Barcelona to prepare a competition, start their pre-season or come to enjoy a tournament in the Spanish territory.
We take care of all the logistics, both sports and organizational aspects during your stay in our country.
And finally, we have the BEST Campuses.
Given the extensive international experience of our technicians and our desire to export our know-how in terms of training football, we offer our partners the option to make campuses around the world.
The objective is to publicize the methodology that BEST has created from the extensive international experience and knowledge of its coaches.
What are you doing as an organization during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
As you well know, COVID-19 has paralyzed the world and there are sectors like ours where recovery is going to take a long time.
In the short term, we have started with the BEST Lives, you can check out our Instagram account , where we talk to professional players in first European leagues to discuss personal issues, both inside and outside football.
At the moment the public’s acceptance is being very good.
On the other hand, we are going to start a new online project around some courses, with speakers of the highest level talking about three specific areas: methodology and aspects of the game, the physical preparation and training of goalkeepers.
We are very confident about this new idea as the digital world is evolving more, especially in the current situation.
And finally, working regularly, due to the business rhythm, we do not always have the time to develop internal content, brand image, etc.
What is the long-term vision for BEST?
We want to be a reference for trips to football groups in Spain.
Except for the current situation, the growth of the company in its first year was being very high, we have worked with countries such as El Salvador, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Colombia…
Another clear goal is to expand the BEST brand around the world, as we have explained to you before, through BEST Campus and hopefully the near future offers us the possibility of having longer-term projects outside our country.