Barca Day 10
Let the boys sleep in so they could acclimate as much as possible. Team breakfast was at 10am at at the Panorama Hotel (2 blocks from our apartment-like hotel).
We then had a light recovery session at a dirt-like field a few blocks away. Light jogging and stretching to relax the muscles after such a long flight. At this time we were approached by the head coach of the UK Elite team (also participating in MIC) asking if we would like to have a light friendly match on the stadium field at 1pm. They had the field reserved in advance so we gladly obliged.
We agreed to play 8 v 8 on the small sided field to get some touches in and so the boys could let loose. In order to avoid any extra fatigue or injury, we changed our normal game tactics and informed the boys we would not be pressing when losing possession. Just sit until we win it and then open up and play our normal possession brand of soccer.
Started the game with:
Jesus (in goal)
Xuxu, Mikey, Togo (in the back)
Jonathan, Charlie, Alex (in the middle)
Misa (up top)
It quickly became a goal fest with Alex Mendez bagging the first two inside 5 minutes. The possession looked good. Boys were crisp in their first 8 v 8 game in over a year. Danny and I were very impressed with how well they followed orders in terms of no pressure when defending the UK Elite. You can tell they were foaming at the mouth and wanted to go 100% but knew why the game plan was to relax. Halftime score was 6-0.
Second half lineup was:
Richard (in goal)
Justin, Louie, Nathan (in the back)
Pooky, Luis, Max (in the midfield)
Uly (up top)
The team continued to play simple soccer and resting their legs – with no full court press like our normal games. Five additional goals poured in for an 11-0 scoreline.
The objective to move the ball and loosen up was finished. Felt a little bad for the English boys but they approached us for this friendly thinking we were American and probably garbage LOL.
FC Barcelona vs AC Milan (live and in person)
The long day continued and I was now in Barca mode! Champions League time was on the horizon. For that, a 2 hour drive back to Barcelona was in order. We rented an 8 passenger van and off we went. Danny, myself, and 6 parents that came on the trip made the journey after club president Paul Walker somehow managed to score us 8 game tickets!!! We made a mission out of it; no directions or navigation system, just intuition for the sake of it. 3 hours later we had arrived off Ronda de Dalt and Zona Universitaria. I dropped everyone off near the stadium and parked several miles away where open spots were available.
Hiked to the Nou Camp and entered just in time to see team warm ups. Then the Barca Anthem and Champions League music came on as the players marched onto the pitch. Goose bumps all over my body!
The game kicked off and Barca had the foot on the gas. I could tell it was going to be a special night with how vertical Messi was being in possession. He had one thing on his mind: Destroying the Milan back line each time he received with any type of space. A space that was created with Cuenca and Dani Alves totally hugging the sideline. The 3-4-3 was in full effect.
We know the rest; Barca 3, Milan 1 and off to the semifinals for the 5th consecutive year. Messi 14 Champion’s League goals this season to tie a record. He’ll own it after the Chelsea matches.
After the game, the “mission” was getting back to L’estartit in dense fog with no navigation system or directions. LOL. How responsible of us. We somehow managed with a van full of adults sleeping like babies. It’s time to get some rest to prepare for our MIC Cup debut tomorrow at 6pm local time vs Kitchee Escola from Hong Kong.
Oscar Ernand says
I would like to know if this is the team that will play the Danone Cup in Disney this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, if it is it will be great!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks
Gary Kleiban says
Yes Oscar, this is the team.
But it’s an 8v8 competition.
Very interesting and thought provoking stuff.
After reading your blog, I have a great amount of questions but just for know, could you explain the ‘5 touch sequence’ and its role in your development of the teams you have worked with?
Gary Kleiban says
Highly possession-centered soccer is the most demanding style of play. Demanding in the technical and tactical sense (which by the way is what soccer is all about at the highest of the highest levels).
At the youth level it demands – hence focuses – the players develop their technique and decision-making.
*** Any other “style of play” does not.
David W says
Who are the UK Elite team, do oyu mean a pro academy or a team calling themselves UK Elite?
Gary Kleiban says
Just know it’s a team from England who is in MIC Cup by that name.