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Ramón Folch - the remarkable rise of a midfield metronome (23nd August, 2017)

The ball arrives at his feet. For a split second - a second that is easily missed to the naked eye, every single player slows down. Time slows down. His eyes don't need to look around - the snapshots are firmly ingrained in his mind. He knows what to do. And once he does, the play keeps ticking.

He dribbles, or passes, or holds on to the ball. But whatever he does, whatever decision he makes, that split second changes everything. Strikers start make runs. Teammates start create passing lanes. Wingers run into space.

If the opponent is not careful, that single split moment can destroy them. 



Folch made his senior debut with local CA Roda de Barà in the Primera Catalana in 2007. In 2008 he signed for fellow league team FC Vilafranca, and represented Cambrils UCF the following campaign.

In July 2010, he signed for Tercera División side CF Amposta - however, his signing (and that of Marc Vernet from Tortosa) were overshadowed by the acquisition of Antonio Domínguez from Morell. Why? Because Vernet and Folch were two of the eight on trial at the club - the six others never got the contract they sought. And yet, out of the three midfielders, it was Folch who shined, and two seasons later he landed at UB Conquense in July 2012, and achieved promotion to the Segunda División B at the end of the season.

Finally, Reus Deportiu, his boyhood club, the club that his family were closely involved with from a basketball perspective (his father was a coach for several years and his two brothers were players there), came calling. They had a history of not being able to retain him - Folch had played youth football for Santes Creus, La Salle, Reus and Nàstic - Reus lost him twice. Then, when Folch left Amposta to play a summer in the third tier of Finnish football (PKKU), Reus offered him a place in their B team - a paltry offer.

This time, they got him, and the story ended happily. Four seasons later, including a historic promotion and a season in the Segunda, where he was by far Reus' midfield metronome, Real Oviedo have a player whose ambition knows no bounds.

The fact that he was Oviedo's first signing, and that it was confirmed in April, says it all really.

Just think about that - he started in the fifth tier. It took three seasons at three clubs to reach the fourth. He reached the third tier three seasons later - just shy of his 24th birthday. And three seasons later, he became a professional Segunda player.

And yet - things could have gone so differently. What if Isaac Fernández didn't give him his chance at Roda de Barà? Or Del Roda didn't bring him for Vilafranca? Or Javi Robles hadn't fought pressure from senior management to give him a chance at Cambrils? Or Jordi Fabregat didn't mentor him at Amposta, or rescue him from a heat-less summer in Finland by bringing him along to Conquense? Or Sergi Parés, Reus' sporting director, didn't meet him at a party where Conquense were celebrating promotion?

So many ifs - so many possibilities. But what's important is that El Pulpo (the octopus, as he was known in Conquense) is in professional football, and we should celebrate that, right?

Not really though - what about those who coaches reject in trails? What about those who coaches don't give chances to? What about the players who the media can't reach, and we will never know about?

What if one of those many was a professional caliber footballer whose path had too many obstacles?

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