Year 9 Football Tour to Barcelona – The Lloret Cup 2016
Over the course of the weekend the boys were scheduled to play at least three group games, take a tour of F.C. Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium and spend a day relaxing on the beach. It was a fully packed schedule and the boys were kept busy all day every day!
Day 1: We left The Abbey School at 9:00am and drove to London Gatwick. We then boarded our plane to Barcelona. The boys were really excited and for some it was their first time both abroad and on an aeroplane! We then took a coach south with our travel rep from Barcelona to Lloret de Mar where our 4* hotel awaited us. Once settled into our rooms we had our evening meal and the usual team meeting in preparation for Friday’s opening game.
Day 2: The Opening Ceremony was scheduled for the morning and it turned out to be a real eye-opener! The 205 teams all paraded down the town’s high street and into the packed stadium where a sea of fans welcomed us with cheers as ‘The Abbey School’ was welcomed into the tournament. The boys were overwhelmed and very excited to get their games underway.
In the afternoon, we travelled to our first match against the German side TSV Weyhe-Lahausen. It is worth pointing out at this stage that the boys were playing an age group up (U15s) as opposed to their usual age group of U14. The boys put in an excellent first half display came in at 0-0. Unfortunately, we conceded early in the second half and then again late on as we pushed forward for an equaliser. Final score 2-0 with Zac Benfield as Man of the Match. The boys spent the evening in the pool or playing table tennis and an early night was in order in anticipation of our tour of the Nou Camp in the morning.
Day 3: We had an early start as we took the one hour trip back to Barcelona for the stadium tour of the Nou Camp. The boys were overawed at the experience of walking through the F.C. Barcelona museum and then into the stadium and onto the pitch. It was a great experience for the students to see where their heroes had walked before them. Legends of the game such as Messi, Xavi and Puyol were plastered all over the walls with their numerous Champions League and La Liga trophies.
In the afternoon, we travelled back to Lloret de Mar for our second and third games. The second game was against Spanish side CE Vila Olimpica who had comfortably won their first game. We started well and went 1-0 up with a well executed headed from Sam Scott. Olimpica then equalised just before half time and then scored again just after the break. We rallied and had some good chances but were unable to get an equaliser despite changing formation and putting on extra forward players. Final score 2-1 with Finley Banks as Man of the Match.
Our third game was against the very strong Italian side Fidenza AC. We needed to win by three goals to qualify out of the group but unfortunately, they were physically too big and strong for us and we struggled to get a foothold in the game. We defended resiliently as a team and had a few chances ourselves but ultimately lost 3-0 with Jay Morrobel deserving Man of the Match. Overall, the boys did themselves and the school proud for a school team competing in an international tournament against players who were a year older. The football side of the trip was a great experience and the boys learnt a great deal.
After our evening meal, we watched the Germany vs. England match on the TV and the boys were able to relax and have some downtime with a few games of pool and darts.
Day 4: Today we spent the morning at the local beach where the boys were able to play beach football, sunbathe and have a dip in the sea (for those who were brave enough!). In the afternoon, we walked into town to get some lunch and then it was back to the hotel for a last chance to go to the pool and to pack our bags ready for our return journey home.
In the evening, we were invited back to the Closing Ceremony where the boys collected their medals and team trophy. We also had the chance to watch the U19s final which ended dramatically in a penalty shootout.
Day 5: A 2:30am alarm call got us all up and out of the hotel room and on our way home. A 7:30am flight saw us land safely in London and then it was time to make our way back to sunny Faversham after a fantastic weekend away that I’m sure all the boys will remember for many years to come.
The first ever Year 9 football tour was a complete success. The boys were great ambassadors for The Abbey School and we look forward to running many more trips like this for our students in the future.