Photo By: Jackie Pynadath/Special to the Town Crier
Joshua Pynadath of Los Altos Hills recently traveled to Spain to train with Real Madrid, one of the best soccer clubs in the world.
Family videos are occasionally entertaining enough to garner thousands of hits on YouTube or even make the cut on TV’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Joshua Pynadath’s soccer highlights proved impressive enough to earn the 10-year-old a trip to Spain to train with his favorite team.
The Los Altos Hills resident and member of the De Anza Force Soccer Club showcases his smooth skills in the video, dribbling around opponents with fancy footwork and displaying terrific touch on his passes and shots.
De Anza Force technical director Jeff Baicher sent the video to his contacts and it reached Spain, where three soccer clubs expressed interest in Joshua, according to his mom, Jackie. This included Real Madrid, one of the top professional clubs in the world – and Joshua’s No. 1 team.
An assistant coach on Real Madrid men’s team recommended the club invite Joshua to train and try out with its academy team, according to Jackie, and the Pynadath family spent Thanksgiving week in Madrid.
“When I actually got to the Real Madrid training complex, which is its own city, I couldn’t believe I was actually going to be training and playing with my favorite club,” said Joshua, a fifth-grader at St. Nicholas School. “I was really excited but also very nervous – especially since I was not able to communicate. The actual soccer playing was the easiest part.”
The language barrier was the most difficult part of the experience for the young player.
“Joshua was able to thrive in spite of major language differences,” Jackie said. “No one spoke English, and Joshua does not speak Spanish. During trainings, the coaches used iPads to help explain the training sessions to Joshua.”
These training sessions weren’t easy, either.
“Soccer is very serious in Spain,” Joshua said. “The kids that are in the Real Madrid system are treated very well – like mini-professionals – and these kids are really committed to their sport. It was good to see how hard they all worked at it. I am definitely going to work as hard as I can to continue to improve.”
Joshua showed enough during training to be rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup for Real Madrid’s league match against another Spanish club at the end of the week.
“The best part of the whole experience was starting and playing for Real Madrid in an actual game and wearing their uniform,” said Joshua, who played left wing. “And showing that I can play at their level.”
Jackie added that Joshua “was able to perform well in the game,” which pitted Real Madrid against a team of older boys.
Real Madrid’s coaches must agree – they have invited Joshua back in the summer for an extended tryout, Jackie said.