Brighton to Barcelona - Ethan Stapley's Academy Journey

Brighton to Barcelona - Ethan Stapley's Academy Journey

A parent of a young budding footballer has said that the Football Flick Urban Range has been influential in his son’s rise to the FC Barcelona academy.

Ethan Stapley, nine, from Eastbourne, was accepted into the Spanish club’s youth academy on the night prior to his ninth birthday.

From playing in the Eastbourne Allstars Academy, to Brighton & Hove Albion, to the unthinkable, massive move to FC Barcelona, his dad Greg Stapley has seen it all.

“I know it’s a bit of a cliché but since he was walking, he was kicking the ball,” Greg explained.

Greg and his family moved to Spain when they were offered a cafe over there and instantly wanted to find Ethan a football club.

“My wife’s cousin plays for Girona, so we were going to go to Girona FC, but I emailed a video of Ethan using the Football Flick Urban Skills Trainer to Barcelona’s headquarters and they said to come for an open trial.

Ethan with the Football Flick Urban Skills Trainer

“We did that and two weeks later they invited Ethan for a proper invite-only trial. Then he found out the day before his ninth birthday that he’d been accepted into the academy.”

From Brighton to Barcelona there’s something that was always present and that’s the Football Flick Urban Skills Trainer. Greg believes that the product has played a big part in improving his son as a footballer.


“The Football Flick Urban Skills Trainer was a Christmas present for him. He used it for his passing, control and volleys. It taught him to judge the movement of the ball a lot. We even use the middle bit to pass the ball through, and he uses the ramp to flick the ball up to head the ball into the net to improve his heading accuracy.

“He’s a very right-footed player, but he started using his left foot a lot [with the Trainer] to give him the confidence to use it.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of things you can do with it.”

Since moving to Spain, the nine-year-old has been transformed from a midfielder to a defender and is really excelling in the role, picking up the nickname ‘the machine’.

So what’s the main difference between coaching techniques in Spain to back home? Spain’s grass roots football has been hailed as the best in the world for the way the academies conduct themselves and develop youngsters and Greg believes that’s mainly down to the fact that Spanish coaches aren’t as strict.

“They let the kids be kids. I’ve been to so many places [in England] with Ethan and there’s strictness and parents shouting and stuff like that. They nurture them here, they know that every kid is different and they’re not robots. If someone is messing about they just get told to do something instead of being shouted at,” Greg said.

Ethan is currently one age group below the famous La Masia. We wish him the best of luck in the future and hope he can make the big step up with the help of our products.