Diego Kochen the USMNT goalkeeper in El Clasico: Is he the heir to Marc-Andre ter Stegen?

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Barcelona's La Masia youth academy regularly produces talent that could be exceptional, and the latest prospect could even be fought for by several countries in the coming years to defend their national goal. His name is Diego Kochen, he is 18 years old and has already participated in some training sessions with the first team.

Kochen was born in Miami, so he has American nationality, but his parents are of Peruvian and Venezuelan nationality so he could also be eligible to represent Spain making him a key target for both to secure his services.

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Since he is considered one of the most promising players of Barcelona B and is expected to make the leap to the first team in the near future, due to his great qualities, he could even inherit Marc-Andre ter Stegen's spot as the starting pick between the sticks.

The U.S. youth player recently signed a long-term contract with Barcelona on March 19, until at least the end of the 2028 season, and as part of the agreement, Kochen was promoted to Barca Atletic, where he will be coached by Rafael Marquez.

There he will compete in the third division of Spanish soccer to gain crucial experience against adult men, and he will wear the number 24 shirt. However, he has been working regularly with the first team since Ter Stegen suffered a back injury in November, as he appears to be Barcelona's second choice now.

He has even come off the first-team bench 13 times this season and made his first-team debut in December, playing 29 minutes in a friendly against Liga MX side America in Dallas, Texas.

He signed a first contract in 2022 for three years when he turned 16 when he joined La Masia in 2019, while he resided in the United States starting in 2018.

With the USMNT he already played at youth levels, so he does not yet commit him to a national team, which is why Spain's youth national team director Francis Hernandez also reached out to invite him to play for La Roja.

Diego Kochen's origins in soccer

Kochen was born on March 19, 2006 in Miami, began practicing in youth categories from the age of eight and arrived at Barcelona in the summer of 2019.

The club's technicians and scouts already had him very well observed, where he already stood out for his agility, reflexes and technical concepts and could improve "in the aerial game, stretching and reaction times".

At the Marcet Academy he arrived for a summer course that allowed him to play outside the USA, although he also had a spell with the Weston FC Academy.

Since joining the azulgrana Infantil A, he has shown significant progress, to the point that Sergi Barjuan and Oscar Lopez initially called him to play with Barca B.

Kochen is one of two young Americans training with Barcelona, along with Adrian Simon Gill, who turned 18 last month and plays as a midfielder, although he has been sidelined with injury. He is under contract until 2025.

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