|Posted on August 18, 2010 at 12:43 PM||comments (0)|
Last Days of Training, London and The Team Journey's Back to the U.S.
Our boys successfully completed their last three days of training at the Fundacion Marcet Sports Training Center in Barcelona, Spain. They have developed friendships with kids from all over Spain and the world. In addition, they have learned a lot more about the sport and themselves as individuals.
The last three days in Europe were filled with excitement. The team had a chance to visit Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuic Castle) where they had a chance to see all of Barcelona from the top of the mountain. They also had a chance to visit other parts of Barcelona including the beach and Park Tibidabo. At this park they had chance to enjoy the rides and see all of Barcelona from another mountain.
Our airplane from Barcelona to London was delayed and we had to spend two days in the UK. Hayden and Jefferson's mums helped us make the best of it. They took the kids to the center of London and did some great site seeing including Big Ben, the changing of the guards, and St. James Park.
The hotel and food in London were great. We had some great meals and well deserved rest before heading home. Everyone was very happy to see their families again when we finally arrived in Las Vegas.
We look forward to next year and the future plans we have store for our students and future students.
This year we plan to put together new teams to attend next year's Barcelona Challenge. In addition, we would like to open this opportunity to players from all clubs to help raise the level of competition in the region.
Moreover, we plan to introduce a program for players ages 15-20 who are serious about the sport and want to pursue a college and/or a professional career. The two programs are Brazil Challenge and UK Challenge. for two months, U.S. players will have the opportunity to train and compete with players from all over in Brazil and in Ireland. The purpose of this program is to give players the experience of how hard it is to be a professional footballer. Players who successfully perform in these challenges qualify for the Professional Immersion Program where they will be able to compete in division 2 games in the UK and will have a chance to show their skills for division I recruiters from top European clubs.
Players do not have to play in an Universal FC team to participate in any of these programs. The goal is to give players in the region an opportunity to improve their individual skills and help their teams during the regular season. There will be more information available on our Website: www.universalfc.com
Please contact us if you would like additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM||comments (0)|
The boys continue their training at the Fundacion Marcet Sports Training Center in Barcelona.
Their schedule is complete with a great deal of knowledge; it begins at 8:00AM and it ends at 17:00PM with a tactical match.
After they get to enjoy a healthy snack followed by a trip to different attractions Barcelona has to offer (boat rides, Camp Nou, etc.). When they get back to the training center, they eat dinner and go to sleep for their mandatory 9.5 hour sleep.
As the end of the challenge gets near, the kids are beginning to think about their families back home. After Day 10, we plan to go out and do one more outing and then get ready to head back home.
|Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:29 PM||comments (1)|
Fundacion Marcet Sports Training Center created this great video with highlights of the training and the world cup wherein over 300 playesr from all over the world participated. Enjoy!!!
|Posted on August 4, 2010 at 3:02 AM||comments (2)|
The boys had a great time at the zoo after day ten of the World Cup. They saw gorillas, tigers, lions, a dolphin show, and many more things. More importantly, they had a chance to interact with each other as well as other international players -some of which have come from as far as Indonesia- outside the training center. This was a great way to regroup and recharge their batteries for the rest of their training here in Barcelona.
The kids met the new kids that will be training with them for the rest of their stay. Some come from different countries and some come from different regions of Spain. The kids are making new friends and enjoying this sports and cultural exchange.
They have been training with their new groups for several days now and are learning a lot. Aldo, Jerry, Eddie, and Anthony are are learning a lot about the Spanish/European playing style. in their group. Hayden had a chance to have a friendly game a visiting team from Lebanon. We are happy to be getting all this international experience.
|Posted on August 1, 2010 at 7:14 PM||comments (0)|
After 10 long days of training and competing, our boys have completed the first part of the Barcelona Challenge, the Academies of Football World Cup.
Our boys participated in 10 matches, came in 4th place in the World League (phase one) and sixth on the final round facing the number one and number two teams in the tournament. It has been a great learning experience for our boys. They have had the chance to train along side players from great team including FC Barcelona and players from all over the world such as Japan and Portugal.
Most importantly, their hard work and individual technical skills were recognized by many people here in Barcelona. They demonstrated that they belong at this level of competition.
During the last day of the world Cup, all the athletes participated in a demonstration and then were part of the closing ceremonies. All the boys in our team collaborated in writing our closing statement and Aldo read it on behalf of his team mates.
We don't call this "Barcelona challenge" for nothing. It takes a lot of physical and mental strengh to travel thousands of miles to another continent and shortly after arriving, begin ten long days of competition with some of the best talent in the planet.
Now our boys will move on to the second part of the Barcelona Challenge. They will participate in another 10 days of training and the world famous Fundacion Marcet Training Center to continue their improvement and understanding of European Football. But they will not participate on the first day. The Director at Fundacion Marcet decided to reward our athletes for their hard work and gave they the day off. He will take them to the Barcelona Zoo on the 1st so they can re-charge their batteries and begin training on the 2nd.
Great work boys!!!
Aldo reading closing remarks at the world Cup it on behalf of his team mates. Coach Edwin served as the interpreter.
|Posted on July 31, 2010 at 4:41 AM||comments (2)|
Eddie at the FC Barcelona Conference Room
Many exciting things have happened in the last couple of days. Eddie made the final for the 'chilenas" competition (bicycle kicks) and Aldo made it all the way up to the final two on the dribbling or "regates" contests.
They have also enjoyed many going out on the daily trips after the World Cup. Athletes staying and the Sport Complex residence have a chance to go out and enjoy the many cultural a leisure spots Barcelona has to offer.
Our boys had a chance to visit the Camp Nou Facilities (FC Barcelona's stadium and facilities). They had a chance to see the stadium, all of FC Barcelona's championship cups, the conference rooms, the Barça TV studios and more.But not everything is football in Barcelona. They have also gone to go cart races, they have attended magic shows and gone to beautiful Barceloneta beach. The kids really enjoyed going on a ship all over Barcelona. It was a nice way to unwind and regroup for the rest of their stay here.
The World Cup comes to an end tomorrow, but our boys will be here for 10 more days training at the sports complex to improve their skills and continue to adapt to the European technical style.
Overall, their participation at the World Cup has been a great learning experience. During the first phase, they won one game and tied another game. They were not able to beat the undefeated champion, Team Spain on the last two games of the second phase. Nevertheless they were able to hold on to 3-1 score against them without letting any goals in during the second half. This is a team with great talent and a lot of international experience. They had been beating every team by at a least 8 goals. We have seen great improvements every time our boys have played them. We are very proud of their work
|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 8:40 PM||comments (1)|
Aldo qualifies for the next round of the dribbling competition at the Academies World Cup.
Aside from the team tournament, the World Cup participants attend individual technique training and compete in individual contests. One competition that recognizes individual skills is the "regates" competition where the winner has to be the best at dribbling in order to take home the individual skill cup.
We had our first round and Aldo was the only one in the team who made it to the finalist round. We are very excited for his individual accomplishment and look forward to his making the final and bringing the cup home.
While the others did not make the next round, it is worth mentioning the great job ALL of our kids did during this event. For example, Jerry pulled an amazing trick that left everyone dizzy.
We play again tomorrow and home things go well.
Highlights from Universal FC team (USA) at the Dribbling competition at the Academies of Football World Cup. Barcelona, Spain 2010
|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 5:48 AM||comments (0)|
Our boys attended a Q&A session with the Recruitment Director from FC Barcelona, Albert Benaiges.
Our boys met Albert Benaiges, coordinador de la cantera del FC Barcelona. They had a chance to ask questions regarding what it takes to get recruited by FC Barcelona for their "Futbol Base" or minor/development teams.
This recruiter had a lot of knowledge to share with the kids. He recruited many great players in his 20 years with FC Barcelona including 8 players in the 2009 UEFA champion team and several of this year's world cup winners including Pique, Andres Iniesta, and Fabregas.
This was a great mental break for our boys who have are trying to recuperate from their exhausting schedule. hey played Team Japan today in a really tough match.
Our kids looked tired but were able to score a goal (by Aldo). Unfortunately it was not enough to win the game. Our team played best the last 7 minutes but came short of a win.
Nevertheless, we have moved forward to the single elimination stage. We hope to play well tomorrow.
|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 5:06 AM||comments (1)|
One of our boys was recognized for his work and skills during the last five days. Hayden made the honor wall along with other players at the training center for demonstrating high level skills during training and game.
"I'm happy to get recognition," said Hayden. "I worked very hard since I left the training center last year to back and make an impression. Of course I have only gotten the better this year because I have great team mates, with lots of talent that push me to get better."
We are happy for the recognition because we are showing that American players belong in at this level of competition.
We look forward to more good news to come.
The boys are still adjusting to the climate and the 9 hour-time difference. They had a tough game against the team favorite to win the Cup, Team Spain.
Our boys started strong, with a beautiful free kick goal by Aldo. The little Red Fury come on strong to counter with two goals shortly after. Team Spain showed great skill and ball control. Our boys managed to make a few good plays and threaten the goal, but Team Spain showed why they are the favorites.
After the match, the boys reflected on the game and how they could have done better, They all recognized that Team Spain was a great team. They also recognized that they need more rest to adjust to Barcelona. We are happy to see that our boys are learning so much here.
|Posted on July 26, 2010 at 5:13 AM||comments (1)|
The third day of competition has been the best yet. Our boys and their opponents gave a show, not for the faint of heart.
It started with TF Barcelona leading the score by 3 goals early in the game. Aldo, the team captain for this game helped everyone get organized and get their heads back into the game. Then Eddie took the ball all the way down to the 18th yard and passed it to Hayden who finished with the first goal leaving the score 1-3 in favor of the Barcelona team. But the Barcelona team was not about to let things stay that way. They scored one additional goal. Our Eddie closed the gap by scoring again. Eddie score another goal but was canceled due to an alleged foul. The first half ended with the score of 4-2 in favor of the Barcelona team.
With a big gap to fill and one one half left, our boys needed to concentrate an work as a team. The talented Barcelona team scored once more. But captain Aldo was not about to let this one go under his watch. He got the team together and with a better defensive plan the team work together to score 6 more goals. Anthony (1), Eddie "El Matador" (4) and Hayden "little Maradonna" (3) scored the goals, but they were done as a team. Jefferson, Jerry, Oscar and our Goal Keeper work together to make things right after the 8th goal, Aldo told the kids to step back and defend for the remaining 6 minutes.
The team really came together; working as a team a demonstrating that together, they can do wonders. More importantly, they won playing a clean game, displaying good technical skills.
Great work boys!!!