‘It’s a dream’… Barcelona youth goalkeeper speaks his truth


Barcelona US goalkeeper #31 Diego Kochen looks on before the start of the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and UD Las Palmas at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on March 30, 2024.
Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona is a dream for almost every player, no matter the age of the aspiring footballer. The Catalan club remains one of the most prestigious entities in the footballing world, and it has retained that title with honor. No matter where a player hails from, Barcelona is almost always an aspiration.

Such is the case for players of the senior team but also for the players from the youth ranks. Most youngsters arrive from humble beginnings and less-known clubs before making the switch to Barcelona, but to get that call from Barça or make the club notice a player’s talent is already a challenging ordeal.

However, for 18-year-old Barcelona goalkeeper Diego Kochen, the journey and experience have been almost dream-like. In a recent interview, as highlighted by Mundo Deportivo, the Barça Athletic goalkeeper spoke in depth about what it is like to be at the Catalan club:

“It’s a dream because suddenly one day you’re here playing in Florida and the next day you’re in one of the best academies in the world. I’m very grateful, especially to my parents, because without them, we wouldn’t have moved to Spain and Barça wouldn’t have been an option, so all my gratitude goes to them.”

For Kochen, the chance to play at Barcelona was something that not even his wildest imaginations could have anticipated for him. Instead, he feels as if he is currently living a dream:

“I never would have imagined it, never. That’s why I say this is something out of dreams. I never thought that one day I could be here at this stage. I arrived here and started playing at Marcet FC, like any kid, and when my father told me that Barcelona wanted me, I couldn’t believe it.”

He further went on to talk about how he got the news broken to him in the first place as well:

“One day during training, he pulled me aside and said: ‘Hey Diego, Barcelona wants you.’ My heart sank. I couldn’t believe it.”

Lastly, the aspiring goalkeeper made sure to give credit to his idol as well. Fortunately for him, that idol of his is a man that he still has a chance to learn a lot from firsthand:

“As a goalkeeper, it was always Ter Stegen, from day one. He’s been my idol since I was 12 years old, and now to share a locker room with him… I saw him pass by and I couldn’t believe that I was sharing the same space with him. He’s incredible.”

A few months ago, Diego Kochen renewed with Barcelona until 2028. The hope and promise from the club that he has been given now is that he will alternate with Ander Astralaga next season to represent Barça Athletic on a more regular basis, and that should prepare him better for a future in which he can become a possibly valuable asset for the first team as well.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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