1 julio, 2022

Interview: Ignasi Carreras – The Espanyol talent who became a coach

In the world of football the road is long, the goals are neverending and the experience, the good and the bad, teaches us things outside of our imagination. Have you ever sat down to reflect about your own experience and everything that has happened to get you to where you are today?

Ignasi Carreras Felip tells us his story and the road he has lived up until now.

He has spent all of his life involved within football. Since he was born, his parents brought him to Sarrià. Ever since he was very young he has loved the sport which is why his parents registered him at the TARR football school at the age of 4 and a half. The only problem was that you had to be at least 5 years old to be able to participate. After doing a tryout they decided that he was ready and that’s how it all began.

TARR didn’t compete in the FCF competitions so those who stood out were able to participate in league games with UB Catalonia. When Ignasi was 10 it was his turn to play and join the world of competition for the first time.

The year was amazing. The team played in the First Division where they finished top of the group and earned themselves a spot in the promotion playoffs which they won. It was also a special year for Ignasi as he managed to score 68 goals in the entire season.

That’s when bigger clubs got their eyes on him. The one he decided to go to was UD Gramanet. This was a huge step in his development where he got to play with real quality players. This is also where he met his «football brother» Javi Márquez.

The move to «la Grama» was a year of learning and development, but also a jump toward yet to be known.

In the third league match of the season, Jordi Soto and C and Cèsar Sanz, scout and coach at RCD Espanyol, respectively

spoke to his parents about the interest in incorporating him to the Espanyol youth academy from the beginning of next season. At the same time he also found out that they had recruited his best friend Javi.

Ignasi looks back on his time in Gramanet where he coincided with Luis y Pedro, two coordinators of high quality. Ignasi also mentions Dani Poyatos, U19 coach at Real Madrid, Espanyol, Olimpiacos in Greece, and now signed by a Japonese club. He had him as a coach when he at the end of the season go to play with the U14 team in the promotional playoffs.

«I finally got to play for the club I’ve always had in my heart.»

It was the toughest experience of his life, but absolutely amazing. He spent 8 years at Espanyol, something he will never forget.

«I got the chance to play against Leo Messi, Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fàbregas, David Silva etc. But even better, I got to share locker room with players like Javi Márquez, Marc Torrejón and Sergio Sánchez.»

The years at Espanyol gave him the change play for the Catalan regional team, travel a lot and get to know people from all over. He had quality coaches like Tintín Márquez, Ángel Pedraza, César Sanz, Ramón Guerrero, Nacho Segura, a above all, the great Manel Casanovas.

At 16 years of age Tintín Márquez brought him to the Espanyol reserves and at 17 he trained with the first team in Montjuïc. When he almost had finished his third year at the U19s Ignasi got his first knee injury. His ligaments were affected, but they decided, together with Ramón Cugat, not to operate. After 5 months of recuperation the physiotherapist passed him a ball in the air which he was meant to pass back with his head. When he landed, the ligaments broke and he got injured severely.

After the injury it took him almost a year and a half to be able to return to the field again. But once he did, his knee was hurting too much and Ignasi realized he had to quit playing the game he loved at the age of 20.

«I got lucky to live the greatest and the worst moments at the same time where no in the end remembers your name, but everything is an experience that will make you stronger in life, and the most important thing, help you learn.»

Ignasi played left forward most of his career until the U19 team where he was repositioned to play as a left winger.

In the end Ignasi decided to become a coach, first of all because he wanted to see what it was like to pass on his knowledge and second of all to see whether he was good at it. He started in the club where he had spent most of his playing career, RCD Espanyol, where he spent three years in the youth academy coaching the youngest players in the club. After his years in his old club he moved on to U.E. Cornellà where he spent another three years. This season is his first with EF Premier Barcelona.

His ambition is to keep sharing his experiences so that the youth players of today can learn to use them today and tomorrow.

Ignasi says that he wants to become a competitive coach, but not only to win games but also to play them well.

«From where you are, time will bring to where you’re supposed to be. The work you put in will show in the result you will get at the end of the season.

EF Premier Barcelona is only 8 years old, «still just a baby», where you work in a very different way than in any other club, Ignasi explains.

«Unfortunately we have a big disadvantage of not having our own training grounds. This is why where are at La Taixonera where we share the field with other clubs each season. It’s something negative compared to other clubs who have their own grounds to themselves.»

The objective in EF Premier Barcelona is to be able to always guarantee at least one and a half hours training three times a week, and, half a full sized field for any team, competitive or social.

This is unfortunately a big reason to why we have to say no to many players who come each year and want to join our program because we can’t provide the infrastructure they deserve.

They also don’t want to put 8 teams a the time on the field just to make money, something that Ignasi says happens a lot in many other clubs. He also says that won’t give the player a good quality training.

The EF Premier Barcelona methodology is to keep possession of the ball. The goal is to train and always want to have the ball. They work in a very ambitious way to be able to one day become of the primary educators of Catalan youth football.

Ignasi started his run there when the President, Raúl Gou, got in touch with him through a contact they had in common who worked as a coach for EF Premier Barcelona. They started talking in February 2020, just in the beginning the pandemic, and Ignasi decided to accept the offer.

«I started working in Premier and, to be honest, it has been an experience over all my expectations with the professionalism they provide, both on and off the field.»

Speaking of influences, Ignasi mentions that he appreciates all the support he has gotten from his parents who have always been there for him. As idols he had players like Jordi Lardín and Chiqui Benítez, both from RCD Espanyol.

«As a coach, the one who has influenced the most is without a doubt Tintín Márquez.»

Ignasi had a very special talent as a player, but like many others, he suffered from injuries and had to leave his career behind. The step of becoming a coach is not certain for everyone, but it’s recommendable for whomever wants to continue having a career within football. Ignasi is a very good example of this and hopefully many more will follow this path.

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