Wednesday, September 2, 2015

FIFA Ruling Leaves Teenage American Soccer Starlets Stranded In Europe

Ben Lederman still gets up early for school every morning so he can be finished in time for soccer training. He still practices, every day, at La Masia, the famed youth academy of F.C. Barcelona. He still spends much of his time at a place where he occasionally crosses paths with stars like Lionel Messi.

But Lederman, whose entire family moved to Barcelona from California in 2011 hoping he would someday become the first American to play for the elite club, has not been allowed to play in an official game for Barcelona’s youth teams in more than a year. When FIFA penalized Barcelona last spring for what it called illegal international transfers, one less publicized piece of the fallout was the talented youth players like Lederman, playing abroad at clubs all over the world, who soon found their player registration cards revoked (or impossible to renew) as clubs and federations hurriedly hewed to eligibility rules they had long ignored.

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