This week, IMG Academy boy's soccer teams are training overseas in Lisbon, Portugal. It is 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 to 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 to give us three points of view on the excursion, and our U15 team has checked in again to report on the second half of their week. The U15’s Sebastian Derby, IMG Academy’s February Student of the Month,checked in for his team to describe visiting Lisbon landmarks, their training and more.
IMG Academy U15 team, Days 4-6:
We had a short practice after study hall. We got to watch a little bit of the reserves training. Then we headed towards Lisbon where we spent the rest of our day. First, we stopped at “Expo.” It was really fun because we got to ride on the gondola that gave us a really nice view of the Vasco Da Gama Bridge. Then we went to Sporting’s Stadium. We got to view the inside and outside of the stadium. We sat down in the crowd seats and went into one of the locker rooms. We also went into the museum. They had lots of trophies. Then we went to a Cathedral and a really tasty bakery. Our day finished with a nice dinner watching “El Clasico.”
We had a short, but intense practice. After the practice was over, we got to watch the U19s play against Sporting. Then we spent the rest of the day at the Sporting Lisbon Academy, where we got to interact with one another in the game room. At 6:30 p.m., we had our game against Sporting. The first half ended with a score of 2-1 in our favor. The goals were scored by Luca Fisher and I, both assisted by Michael Saks. Unfortunately, we ended up losing the game. We reflected about it as a group and came to the conclusion that we learned a lot from it that we will use from now on.
Today was the first day with no study hall, but we still had to wake up early for another game. The field we played on was right below the famous Vasco Da Gama Bridge. We had approximately 20-22 players, so Coach Tonio had to be creative with the lineup. The game started off pretty good when I intercepted a bad pass from the center back to the keeper and put the ball in the back of the net. This made the score 1-0. Then, the other team, directed by the coach that trained us at Sporting Lisbon, scored a goal in the first half. This tied the game up 1-1. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. After the game, we went to eat back to the hotel. Then we headed back to the Academy to watch Sporting’s U-19 team play against their arch-rival Benfica. It was a pretty exciting game and Sporting ended up winning 3-2. After that, we had a really quick dinner before going to Sporting’s Stadium. We watched Sporting play Porto. The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible. The game finished in a 0-0 draw. Sadly, today was our last day in Portugal. We then headed back to the hotel to pack our bags and rest for the long trip home.