Diego Kochen belongs to FC Barcelona and his idols are Marc André Ter Stegen, Víctor Valdés and Claudio Bravo. (Instagram diego_kochen)
FC Barcelona has one of the most powerful academies in the world, called La Masia, and the careers of world-class footballers such as the Argentine star Lionel Messi, midfielders Gavi and Pedri, among others, began there. The ‘Blaugrana’ club constantly promotes players trained in its lower divisions and there is a Peruvian who has just taken part in the first team’s training sessions.
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The 17-year-old goalkeeper Diego Kochen was summoned by the ‘culé’ technical director, Xavi Hernández -also from the basic forces of the institution- to train alongside figures such as the Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and the Brazilian winger Raphinha. One of his idols and his position colleague, the German, Marc André Ter Stegen, also participated in the training session.
It was not on any date, but on the same day that Sergio Busquets, world champion pivot with Spain in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, announced his retirement. The same athlete echoed this event and published it on his social networks. “Grateful for this experience,” wrote the goalkeeper on his Instagram account.
Diego Kochen’s publication after training with the Barcelona first team. (Instagram diego_kochen)
The young goalkeeper has triple nationality, his mother is Peruvian (city of Lima), his father is Venezuelan (city of Caracas) and he was born on March 19, 2006 in the state of Miami, United States. Before signing for the ‘Catalan’ team, he had a stint at the Weston FC Academy in his native country.
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He arrived at ‘Barca’ in 2019 and since then he has had an outstanding progression, even being called by the coaches Sergi Barjuan and Óscar López to work on several occasions with the B team, which is currently playing in the Spanish third division.
Best actions by goalkeeper Diego Kochen in the 2022 Catalunya Cup semifinal between the Cadet A teams of Barcelona and Girona. (Video: FCB Canteranos)
In an interview with the institutional channel itself, he narrated his experience in the reserve, in which he coincided with the former goalkeeper and father of Sergio Busquets, Carlos, who is currently a coach.
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“I thank the club for the opportunity to train with them, be at the games and watch how they play, especially Arnau Tenas, I find it incredible. Carlos Busquets also teaches you a lot about placement and I think it’s important to have all this information. I observed how the intensity is, the difference between the youth team and ‘Barca’ B. You have to take advantage of every moment you have, ”he said in 2022.
Diego Kochen belongs to the minor divisions of FC Barcelona since 2019. (Instagram diego_kochen)
Kochen, who is 1.88 cm tall, told how he made the decision to put on the gloves at the beginning, which happened more out of necessity than out of conviction.
“They formed a team to go to a tournament and since all my friends were going, I signed up. Apparently the goalkeeper got sick one day before the competition and there was no one else who dared to stand (in the goal), so I entered.
For him it was a dream come true to be signed by Barcelona, because his idols play or played there in the position. “I spent a year playing at the Marcet Academy and from there ‘Barca’ signed me. I reached the Infantil A category and when they told me the news I couldn’t believe it, because it’s a very big club. It was a dream come true, since I was little I’ve been a fan. Marc André Ter Stegen, Víctor Valdés and Claudio Bravo were my idols”.
According to the Spanish media Sport, Kochen has participated in various “camps” with the United States under 17 team. However, he could still represent the ‘blanquirroja’ or the ‘vinotinto’ by not having participated in official commitments.
Diego Kochen lifting the 2022 International Mediterranean Cup trophy. (Instagram diego_kochen)