As part of IMG Academy's commitment to facilitate unique learning and training opportunities for our student-athletes, our boy's soccer teams are training abroad in Lisbon, Portugal. It is a chance for them to take in Portugese culture, experience international soccer, and to be able to observe and train with one of Portugal's premier clubs, Sporting Lisbon, and compete against some of the top youth soccer players in the nation.
Forty-five IMG Academy players, accompanied by their coaches, made the journey. Each team is chronicling their experience so we can take a look into what their experience training overseas. The U15 team was the first to report back, and you can read about their first three days of training below...
IMG Academy U15 team, Days 1-3:
Day 1: After a very long day full of flights, we finally arrived in Lisbon. We're all very tired and jet lagged from the flight. We came to the hotel and rested for a little while. After that, we went to see Sporting Lisbon's academy. We watched the Sporting's U-19 team play. They demonstrated that they are a good team by the way they played. Then, we came back to the hotel, ate dinner and rested.
Day 2: After a good night's sleep, we were ready for out first day of practice. We had study hall in the morning and ate a good breakfast. We later went out for a tour of the Academy. They showed us the rooms, the cafeteria, the game room, the gymnasium, the locker rooms and more. When the tour was done, we ate lunch at their cafeteria. We then went to our first practice. It was a little difficult understanding what the coaches wanted to tell us, but we were able to do what they asked us to. We did some passing drills to get us moving and then went into competitive mini-games. It was a good training session, and we got to meet our coaches. We then took a bus and headed towards Benifca's stadium. We got to watch professional Portuguese football and see a really exciting match. Fortunately, Benifca won 3-0. After a very busy day, we returned to the hotel.
Day 3: Our day started early again with study hall, followed by a good breakfast. We then went to the academy to have our second training session. For my team, the training session involved more communication and movement. We received some helpful tips from our two coaches. After practice we came back to the hotel for lunch. When lunch was done, we had a about two hours of free time. We also had another study hall at 3 p.m. After study hall, we headed towards the academy to play our first game. In my game, we were a little nervous when it first started, but when the second half started, we gained a lot of confidence and started playing how we play. This led to a goal that was scored by Sebastian Derby from an assist by Joseph Green. Unfortunately, towards the end of the game, we had a penalty called against us. They scored and the game finished in a 1-1 draw. It was a good first game for us, and we hope we do better on the next two we play.