KENYA BROWN - Thursday, November 3, 2016
US youth international Ben Lederman has returned to Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona after obtaining a Polish passport, according to reports coming from Spain.
The saga of the 16-year-old has been covered by the media after he and several other youth players were forced to leave Barcelona's youth academy, La Masia, after FIFA conducted a crackdown in 2014 on teams that illegally signed youth players. The move led to soccer's world governing body to impose a transfer ban for two consecutive periods and a fine of around 465,000 US dollars.
According to FIFA regulations on player transfers, youth players are prohibited from registering with teams outside their home country until they are 18 years old. However, there are three exemptions: one, a player lives within 50 kilometers of a country's border and his desired club is within 50 kilometers of the same border; two, a player is moving from one European country to the other and is at least 16 years old; three, a player's family is moved to a different country for reasons not linked to soccer.
With Lederman obtaining his Polish passport, he meets all of FIFA's requirements and can return to train and play in Barcelona's youth set up.
Reports have stated that the California native obtained his passport last month and he is currently training with the team.
Away from Barcelona, Lederman returned to the US in 2015 to play at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Lederman is currently training with the youth teams at Barcelona until he can officially register for the team in January next year.