At 5, Emil’s a soccer standout

Barca coaches recognized Emil Zieziula (front left) for most improved and talented player and crowned with the FC Barcelona flag. Emil’s 11-month younger brother Romek is next to with his certificate of participation. Photo courtesy of the Zieziula Family.

By Don Rush

Little Emil Zieziula is only 5 years old, but he already has the eyes of one of the soccer world’s most respected organizations on him. He gained their attention after attending a five day camp with the Barcelona Soccer Academy in Brighton at the beginning of July. When it was all said and done, coaches placed their flag over his shoulders.

Barca is the most prestigious club,” Emil’s father Tomasz Zieziula said. “When they put a flag on a child, that child becomes a ‘child of Barca.’ They will continue to watch his development.”

The Zieziula family, Tomasz, wife Jenny, Emil and his younger brother Romek have lived in Oxford for two years, having moved from Shelby Township. Tomasz, who is originally from Poland, said Emil has played soccer since he was 18 months old.

He’s been playing with the local soccer clubs and soon we noticed there’s something a little different about the way he plays the ball,” he said. “He just picked it up so easily. He’s a left-footer, which is rare. He can dribble with both feet. Trophy after trophy and his dream became to participate in the Barca camp when it came here. The camp was pretty rigorous and he was the standout for his group.”

Tomasz said there were about 2,600 kids from 6 to 16 at the camp this year.


The Barca Academy in Brighton’s class of 2022 for Emil Zieziula’s age group. Photo courtesy of the Zieziula Family

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