Last week, IMG Academy boys’ soccer teams trained overseas in Lisbon, Portugal. It was a chance for them to 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 chronicled their experience to give us three points of view on the excursion, and our U19 team checked in with the final update to report on the second half of their week. The U19 team wrote in to describe a VIP tour of the Sporting Lisbon stadium, their training and more.
IMG Academy U19 team, Days 4-5:
Day 5: Lisbon and the Sporting Stadium
Many of us experienced difficulty peeling ourselves out of bed and getting down to breakfast and study hall in the morning. Some drank coffee, others did jumping jacks, but eventually we got moving. Practice was short and intense. When we finished showering and eating lunch, we packed into the bus and headed to the Sporting Stadium in Lisbon. As a club, we got a private tour of the entire Stadium. We got to see the prodigious trophy collection of the Sporting club, which contains trophies from all areas of athletics (soccer, hockey, running, swimming, etc.). We also took pictures in their pressroom and got a view of the field not only from ground level, but also from the President’s box. We filed out of the stadium and headed into Lisbon, where we stopped for a quick snack at a café famous for their pastries. It is fair to say they were on another level of delicious. When we returned to the hotel, we all squeezed into the hotel bar area and watched the Barcelona v Real Madrid game. Almost every kid at IMG Academy pledges an allegiance to one of the Spanish clubs, so it was a riot.
Day 6: Game vs. Sporting Lisbon
Another morning of eggs and study hall, and then it was off to a morning game against the U19 Sporting team. At half time, we were down 1-0 and were eventually defeated. In the afternoon we had some time to rest, recuperate and catch up on homework.