Once a year for my coaching staff and I at the Barcelona-USA Academy, it’s all about “THE TRIP!”
The last four years I have been traveling to Barcelona to further my coaching education – all possible through our network of contacts and through Barcelona-USA.
Full access to Barca’s youth Academy training sessions, Barca B (professional reserve team) trainings, and first team training is priceless. Not only have the doors been open for me to observe the sessions but I’ve had the fortune of having direct interaction with Barcelona staff, most notably Luis Enrique (Barca B head coach last season, now AS Roma head coach).
On top of that we have taken our boys under 10 Barcelona-USA Academy team to receive professional training (Jordi Vinyals, current L’Hospitalet coach) in the mornings and compete in friendly matches with local Academies in the evenings. This will be the third consecutive year we take the current U10 team, all of which have been crowned Cal South State Cup Champions weeks prior to departing for Spain. The highlight match will once again be the deemed “clasico” between the real Barcelona Academy team and our Barcelona USA version. For two years running we have come away undefeated in our matches against them (4-1 win in 2010, 2-2 draw in 2011). The level of respect for our Barca USA version has grown tremendously over that time due to the competitiveness of our teams and how we’ve taken their methodology and applied it. The 2010 version of THE TRIP was where Ben Lederman first wowed Barcelona coaches and scouts with his play. He received the invite for his trial during the 2011 trip and was then offered a spot on the world’s best youth academy.
The second week of this year’s trip will see my boys U11 Barcelona-USA Academy (2000’s/2001’s) travel to the prestigious MIC Cup International tournament. This is a special team who has 3 peated as State Cup champions at u9, u10, and u11. The boys are fresh off the “Quadruple,” having won League, League Cup, Surf Cup and State Cup this season. It will be a great challenge for them to compete against the likes of Ajax, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Manchester United to name a few.
I’ll be blogging frequently on 3four3 throughout the trip with the latest updates on the games, trainings, and events.