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Schoolboy joins Real Madrid academy

ESPN staff
August 2, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

An 11-year-old schoolboy from California will join the Real Madrid academy programme later this year, becoming the first American ever to do so.

Joshua Pynadath shone in a trial in Madrid earlier this year, with the club swiftly inviting him back.

Now the Los Altos Hills youngster and his family will move to Madrid at the end of August, enabling him to spend a year with Real's Alevin A team.

Joshua, whose favourite player is Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo - a man whose career he wants to emulate - told the Los Altos Town Crier: "I was blown away when I got the official news from Real Madrid.

"They told me that I was the first American that they have ever accepted into their academy. I told them that I would set a good example."

He had been drawn to Real's attention a year ago, when scouts saw a video of him playing for his local De Anza Force Soccer Club and were so impressed by his skills that they invited him to train in Spain for a week.

That went so well that he returned for the second trial - having also had a short trial with Barcelona - and he said: "The Real Madrid academy team and coaches seemed very excited to have me back - it was like I had never left.

"Both trials were very serious, as kids are fighting to either keep a spot or to earn a spot. It was a very good feeling to be able to play well against this top competition, since the level and speed of play over there is amazing."

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