Bede’s Football Academy Tours Portugal
On Thursday 26th March 33 students and 4 staff set off for a 6 day training camp in Portugal before a 4 day tournament in Valencia Spain.
The training camp in Portugal was very testing, with the players training all day, every day in very hot conditions. As the players adjusted to the climate, both of our two sides played 3 matches apiece against local competition.
The Seniors fared well during these matches, winning their first game 4-2 in a 16,000-seater stadium! They drew their second game 3-3, but then finished the trilogy of games on a high note with an outstanding 5-0 win against a very strong Portuguese 2nd division professional academy team.
The Juniors meanwhile struggled in their first game, with the combination of First Years, Lower and Upper Fifth Formers only really beginning to get to know to each other, eventually losing 5-0.
The second game saw an improved performance, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw, while the third game saw us play a very strong U16 academy team; they ran out convincing winners, playing a stylish brand of football and showing individual technique that the young Bedians should aspire to!
As with any tour there was some down time for the boys, with fun excursions to play bouts of 'Football Golf' and opportunities to visit the local water park, but before long the tour party was off to compete in the Valencia Cup, which is held annually in the Valencia stadium.
The Seniors produced a poor performance in the opening group game, losing their first match 2-0, whilst the Juniors were unlucky to go down 3-2 with some controversial officiating decisions and moments of misfortune!
That afternoon saw both teams played their second group match, with the Seniors responding to their earlier disappointment with a 3-0 win while the juniors lost 4-1 to a very strong Barcelona side.
The next morning saw the final group games, and the Seniors won, putting themselves through to the Semi-Final, whilst the Juniors lost their third out of three group matches, much to our collective disappointment.
The Semi-Final match of the Senior competition saw a very tight game which could have been won by either side; unfortunately our competitors claimed a 1-0 victory, knocking us out of what had been a challenging but thoroughly engaging competition.
The whole tournament provided a huge number and variety of educational experiences for the boys; it taught them a great deal about how to play tournament football, they saw how football differs in a different culture, and they experienced a vast array of different styles of play from tackling and officiating styles to attacking and ball control.
To finish the trip, we all attended a Valencia match; once their 56,000-seater Mastella stadium was full to the brim the atmosphere was electric. The very tense game eventually ended in a 0-0 draw, with every one of us on the edge of our seats from kick off to the final whistle.
All in all the tour provided the Bede's Football Academy players with an enormous number of amazing experiences, and although we did not come home with the Valencia Cup the players all have a huge amount to be proud about - not least in how our team spirit and camaraderie set us apart, ensuring that those teams we met will remember Bede's long into the future.