Last day.

Today was my last full day in Spain. Tomorrow I wake up, then go to the airport to begin the trek home. It’s been an incredible experience. Kids from Chicago, New Jersey, Maryland, Mexico, Utah, Israel, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Colorado, Texas etc. and over the course of a week, we have turned into brothers, friends, teammates. Ill miss lots of them, actually all of them, all for different reasons. I’m really going to miss coach Alejandro, I hope some day to see hi again, though it’s highly unlikely, I still wish. This trip has had everything, I’ve enjoyed every moment and everything was special in it’s own way. It was a dream come true, all of it. I loved it. Spain has been so good to me, so I want to say thank you. And a special thanks goes out to all the family and friends who have helped me get here. You’ve helped me realize a dream has come true, and that I wouldn’t be writing this without your love and support. I say thanks to all of you, wether the contribution is big, or small, I still am so thankful for it. I feel blessed to have these opportunities, not many kids get them, so I jumped in with both hands and feet and enjoyed it. It was a once in a lifetime thing. So thank to everybody, Spain, coaches, friends and my family. You guys helped me reach my dreams.

2nd Game

Today we played a FANTASTIC Real Madrid squad. We lost 2-0, but played very well I must say. In their age, they are in the top 10 in Europe. Wow. I came in the last 7 minutes, and played as good as you can in 7 minutes! My very first touch I smacked a shot, but the goalie made a nice save. Also I never gave the ball away. So I was satisfied with my 7 minutes plus stoppage time I played. We leave tomorrow, it’s been a great trip, a dream come true.

Today after this mornings very fun session, we toured downtown Madrid. One word; Lovely. Everything was so beautiful, from the buildings, to the smallest details, like the sidewalk bricks. Such a great city, so great to see all of the history the it’s had to offer. We stopped at a ice cream place, then say in one of the many squares. That is where I got followed by an old beggar, she didn’t leave me alone for about 5 minutes, until she finally left, after me telling her to go 28393837384949 times. That was funny. We also watched a magician who would also attach and detach three strings from eachother. He would also make small things appear from people’s bags. Very cool. I definitely want to come back.

First game

Today our squads played the youth teams of Rayo Vallecano, we had two teams and both sadly got defeated by one goal margins. First team lost 3-2, and my squad lost 2-1. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play today, but that is life. Ill show them in training what I’ve got and ill hopefully play next match. The boys played very well against a strong Rayo squad.

This is what the stadium is like during the players walkout. Quite cool, notice how everyone stands up and raises a scarf up. Don’t see that in the NFL do ya? (Mind the dudes that walk in front of the camera at te start)

This is a small taste of the atmosphere at the Calderon, this is during the warm ups, stadium wasn’t even close to being full yet! Brilliant.

Last night we went to an absolutely incredible match. Atletico Madrid vs FC Barcelona. 2 of the worlds greatest teams. They played in the Spanish supercopa, which is where the league winners (Barca) play the winners if the Spanish cup (Atletico) in a two legged series, one at Atletico and one at Barca. It was an absolutely wonderful match, well played and highly entertaining to watch. There where only 2 downsides. One, EVERYONE in Spain smokes cigarettes, so a steady smell of cigarettes wafted over the stadium the whole match. And the other being, Lionel Messi, the worlds best player, got subbed out at halftime after being shut down completely by a experienced Atletico back line. But the positives outweighed the negatives greatly. Atletico play at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, it’s an old, sort of run down sort of place and it reflects the fans, old and working class. It’s a citizens club, blue collar spaniards love Atletico. The Calderon has more atmosphere than the bernabeu, more life to it. Yes, the bernabeu has more history, but the Calderon has life, everyone sings, everyone shouts, everyone supports one team, Ateltico. When tourists come to Madrid, they wanna watch Real Madrid, so less tourists go to Atletico matches, making it more alive, more authentic, more Spanish. After Atletico opened the score with a godly volley by David Villa, an ex-Barca player, after only 12 minutes, the stadium went insane, it was pandemonium. I loved it. Because that forced Barca to attack, to play with flare. Which was awesome, the way they move, and pass, which is what makes Barca the best. After halftime Barca brought in Fabregas (moms boyfriend) for messi, and the 21 year old brazilian wonder boy, and world phenomenon, Neymar. Neymar came in for Pedro, who was less than impressive last night. Barca kept pressing on and after relentless pressure, Dani Alves, barcas brazilian whipped in a PERFECT cross to the back post, and who heads it in? Neymar. That being his first competitive goal for barca since moving from santos. It started a steady chant of swear words and yelling for the Atletico. The match ended at 1-1, which was fine with me, as I felt that is what each team deserved. But it was absolutely wonderful experience, I wish to see them both play again.

We just finished the tour of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. One word, wow. There is so much history, so much more to a club than the current players they have. It started off simple enough with you walking around the stadium seats and VIP boxes. After that, the interesting part came, the museum! It was amazing to see all the old jerseys, trophies and boots of some of the worlds greatest players. And there is a special hall with a photograph of every player that has played a match for Real Madrid. Being a fan if zidane, I found it interesting to take a picture of him. Then the next room after that was the jackpot, sitting high and mighty, the 9 European cups. They have 9 champions league trophies. It was inspiring to see those, and I aspire to hopefully hold one. And on the other side of the room, sits the individual players trophies, balon d’ors, golden boots ad FIFA world players of the year awards. Those are astonishing to look at. Names like Ronaldo, Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane and, the holy Alfredo di Stefano, who a whole room was dedicated to. Tonight we go to the match between Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona, ill post about that after the match.

Today was another good day. Woke up and went to training, then we showered, and went back to the hotel. Then we had a good pool recovery session and after we went to the massive mall close to our hotel and walked around. Only thing I bought was two cans of Aquarius and a mcchicken at McDonald’s. american food tasted so good. While ordering I noticed the mcchicken was a “mcpollo” which is mcchicken in Spanish. I thought that was funny. Tomorrow is going to be a very fun, and long day. Light training in the morning, followed by a tour of the estadio Santiago bernabeu, where Real Madrid play. After we go to the Real Madrid superstore to buy mindless Real Madrid shit and help pay Cristiano Ronaldo’s massive wages. And tomorrow night we get to watch the holy grail of all football matches. The Spanish super cup. It where the league winners play the cup winners. And this year it’s cup winners Atletico de Madrid vs FC Barcelona, yes that’s right, BARCA! I couldn’t be more excited.

Day Two

Today was the day we started sessions with the Real Madrid academy coaches. We have two, Alejandro, and José. I have only had Alejandro so far and I enjoy him very much. He is quite knowledgeable, although his English is terrible, it’s nice to have Spanish speakers on the team. They translate for him, and Alejandro is good at making football seem simple. We had a mandatory 2 hour nap today, (in which I actually slept!) and felt great afterwards. It was a great day, and I hope tomorrow goes well.