Barca Day 8
Woke up to a pleasant surprise on Sunday morning. We were able to have photos taken with the replica of the Champions League trophy.
After the Champs League photos, there was some last minute shopping, lunch, and then off to Almeda to play in our final game. Almeda has a beautiful facility (my favorite since last years trip). They have music, club house, lockers, and an incredible full size state of the art turf field that also breaks into two 7-a-side fields.
Last Game for our U10s
The Almeda team was their Alevin B (2001’s) facing off against our u10’s. We started the game with Joel in goal, Rivaldo, Chuy, and Andrew in the back row. Artur and Jacob in the middle with Pablo up top. Our play was sloppy during the entire 1st quarter. Not one 5 touch sequence. No build up! No communication between players. Terrible spacing. No awareness by anybody. RECIPE FOR DISASTER! We were looking like most American club teams…..jungle ball if you may. Artur did create a great opportunity that Jacob Cervantes finished off in the box with his left foot for a 1-0 lead.
Danny and I gave them an earful at the interval.
New line up: Oscar, Jeffrey, Jonathan. Romario, Imanol, Stuart. Same problems! Horrific football. Not only that, but we were popped twice and went into halftime with a 2-1 deficit. We were not happy and the boys knew it! It was time for drastic measures and the u10 boys got a piece of my mind (loud instruction and how to fix our problems) at halftime!!!!
We cleaned house and went with a new innovative lineup including players we thought would execute and get us back to playing the possession futbol we have been executing all season. Artur, Jeffrey, Jacob in the back, Lebron and Romario in the middle and Pablo up top. Within 10 seconds there was a massive difference in the player’s approach. A nice 14 touch sequence that resulted in a near miss by Pablo. Romario tied things up shortly before Pablo drilled us back into the lead with a nice finish to the near post. Lebron had come in to calm things down and we were having great build up with Artur and Jacob now playing outside backs. Everyone was talking, giving advice on where the ball should be passed next, awareness was good, spacing excellent, movement off the ball….the whole ball of wax. Coincidence that we were back to our old dominant version? I think not.
We began the 4th quarter with that same line up to reward those boys who had turned things around. Pablo finished things off adding the insurance goal we needed before Imanol completed the scoring. 5-3 final score to end the trip 4W and 1L.
The boys shook hands with their peers and received a little trophy to remember the encounter. A nice gesture by a great local club, Almeda FC.
*Sidenote, as the teams walk out of dressing room to line up for the match they play the champions league music on the sound system. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! What an atmosphere for the players.
Ken Sweda says
Brian, I think it’s great that even though you have a precise “system” in terms of requirements and how the team must play, everyone at the club is comfortable at different positions even when called upon to change mid-game to react to the particulars of that game. So basically the only real requirements are that the players know what to do with the ball and are comfortable doing just that no matter the circumstances. That can only be accomplished with skill and understanding. In the US, we’re constantly pigeonholing players very young, instead of setting a basic foundation of technical ability and tactical awareness. Dani Alves could easily be a great #10 or probably a decent #9 in the US, even though he’s perhaps the best right back in the world. Why? Skill and IQ. I often put my views in these terms: In the US it seems we’re trying to eek out improvements from 5.0 to 5.5 at positions (on a scale of 10) even right up to full national level (especially on the women’s side, where they’re constantly trying out, say, a 6.5 forward at centerback to try and improve on their current 5.5 CB, sometimes right before a major competition!!). In the best soccer nations, they’re trying to eek our the same half-a-point, but it’s from 8.0 to 8.5, or 8.5 to 9.0. The details of the change in lineups that you describe says a lot about why your approach is working and why it mimics the rest of the world. Eventually all the kids you train will find their “correct” position, and for some, it may not come until their late teens, but those changes will come from a position of STRENGTH (skill and IQ) and not desperation.
Brian, thanks for the daily updates. I’m very excited to see how the 11’s do in the tournament. Keep us all posted of the excitement and smash everyone in your way!!! We’re all proud of all of you.