After over 32 hours of no sleep, Day 2 came very early but all worth it especially after the spread we had at breakfast in the morning. They do not mess around here. Needed the food as today is going to be another busy day with the bus leaving at 9:14am and not returning until 5:45pm.
We arrived at the Fc Barcelona Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper Training Complex at 10:00am and had an opportunity to watch the youth academy teams play. The 9s and 10s started the morning playing 7v7 and the quality was outstanding, as to be expected. They play just like the first team. They were basically set up in a diamond with 2 players sitting in the middle of it and a goalkeeper demanding perfection out of the group the entire time. So basically a 1-4-1. The technical ability was through the roof, the movement and awareness and expression was not far from perfection. The players all played multiple roles on the team which is part of their development. The 13s followed.
Before the 13s played we got an amazing opportunity to take a tour of La Masia which is basically the residence hall for the youth players from age 12-21. This is were identified players live while they train every day with the club. It is a goal to not only someday play for the first team as a pro but during their quest to be a pro they are to optimize their intellectual, personal, and social education. The objective of this residence has been to educate, both spiritually and intellectually, young people who have left their families and their communities to purse a career with Barca. Currently, more then 30 young players brought up in La Masia have made their first-team debut. Among these are included Amor, Guardiola, Sergi, De la Pena, Puyol, Xavi, Reina, Victor Valdes, Gabri, and Messi. We were given a rare behind the scenes tour of the facility and were asked not to take pictures inside.
After watching the u13s we departed FC Barcelona and headed to RCD Espanyol which is another La Liga club across town. This facility was pretty special as well, not as immaculate as FC Barcelona but impressive. We analyzed youth games there as well u7s through u15s. The creativity and expression of these future pro players was so enjoyable to watch. So much passion, so much understanding and awareness and so much fun.
After a solid day of observing 2 quality pro clubs youth teams we were set to head back to the hotel and catch the Man City/Chelsea game and head to dinner.
Tomorrow we will watch the women's teams train at the 2 facilities and then get ready to head back to Camp Nou and take in the FC Barcelona/Villarreal CF match. More to follow tomorrow on Day 3....
It is 1:33am here in Barcelona and time to get some rest... can't wait for the breakfast in the morning. The SuperBowl will be on in 24 hours from now and the hotel will be showing it LIVE in the lobby at 1:00am tomorrow. GO Seahawks!!