Bede's Footballers Travel to Spain for Pre-Season Tour
On Friday 24 August, 39 Bede's footballers departed to Valencia for a training tour ahead of the upcoming season. Director of Football, David Caryer, reports.
We departed early on Friday morning, and by the afternoon the pupils were settled into the 4* Intur Orange resort and setting off of for their first training session at the excellent FACSA Sports facility. The players were put through their paces by Director of Football David Caryer and his support staff of ex-professional Goalkeeper Matt Armstrong-Ford and County League player Jacob Adlam.
On Saturday morning the players were straight into their first round of matches against local team, FC Fomento. The 1st team won 5-2 with some excellent performances from Jayden Ebbin and Tom Collins who controlled the midfield. The 2nd XI won also won convincingly with new players Kieran Richardson, and Sam Bickersteth causing problems upfront, and Jake Baker and Tom Frame proving to be a very sound centre-half paring. The Juniors were far too strong for Fomento with the front 3 of Oli Hobden, Sam Wiltshire and Isiah Corrie running riot.
Sunday saw games against Shrewsbury, with the Seniors losing 3-1 in an experimental side that saw lots of players make their 1st XI debuts, including Leilanni Nesbeth and Elosie Eyre. The Juniors lost 3-2 - an amazing result considering the Shrewsbury side contained all U15’s, whereas Bede’s was a mixture of an U14’s and U15’s. Young U14’s Baptiste and Joe Hunt looked promising in midfield.
In the afternoon, the tour party visited the famous Mestella Stadium of Valencia FC and the Valencia club shop.
On Monday the pupils trained at the FACSA centre again, working mainly on their finishing - something which had cost them dearly against Shrewsbury. The afternoon saw some downtime for the first time on the trip, with pupils either visiting the local beach of Benicassim for some beach football and volleyball, or recovering using the hotel's onsight gym and swimming pool.
On Monday evening we headed to watch Levante vs Celta Vigo in La Liga. It was a great atmosphere and a beautiful evening, although the Home fans were sad to see their side lose 3-1.
Tuesday saw further downtime and a visit to the local waterpark, where almost all the pupils tried out the giant pink slide with a near vertical drop.
Tuesday evening saw the last games of the tour. The 2nd XI played first, with Kitan Agoro too powerful for the opposition and creating numerous chances in their 3-1 win. The 1st XI had a very tough fixture against local academy FC Rafalafena - with some illness in the group, Isiah Corrie and Temba Wardle stepped up to make their debuts and held their own during the 1-0 victory. The Juniors earned a hard-fought victory, with the back three of Tom Waring, Ben O’Brien, and Toby Clark proving very difficult to break down.
On Wednesday morning the players had their third session with the Academy coaches of Valencia, before packing their bags and heading off to the airport to return.
While the trip certainly developed the players' footballing ability - and provided some very difficult challenges for the teams - the thing I will remember most is the bonds that were formed during the downtime. The pupils' interactions and sense of team camaraderie developed at the beach, waterpark and hotel pool will no doubt hold the teams in good stead during the tougher parts of a season where team spirit is key.