Premier International Tours took 50 coaches and guests from North America to Barcelona, Spain January 29 - February 1 for a special coaches education trip that Premier International Tours organizes each year. During this trip our coaches were special guests of FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, and the coaches had exclusive access to these top clubs that is only allowed for special guests. This trip is a free trip offered to coaches in North America as an incentive for coaches who book their team travel with Premier International Tours. This trip is also our way of giving back to soccer in North America as the trip is a very valuable learning experience for the coaches who go on the trip and they can take what they learn back to their teams/clubs.
The trip started off on Friday with a visit to Estadi Cornella-El Prat, stadium of RCD Espanyol, where the coaches were greeted by Oriol Olive Dunach, Head of International Relations of Espanyol. They then proceeded into the press room of the stadium for a presentation from youth coaches from RCD Espanyol. The presentation highlighted Espanyol’s player development structure and philosophy. After the session the visiting coaches got to take a tour of the Espanyol stadium. After this we took the coaches to the famous Camp Nou stadium, home of FC Barcelona, where the coaches got to tour the stadium and take pictures. After the tour our partner Nike arranged to have a special FC Barcelona gift for each coach waiting at the FC Barcelona store. Saturday was a great day, as the coaches visited the training facilities of FC Barcelona and home to La Masia, the FC Barcelona academy, the Joan Gamper complex. On arrival the group was greeted by Pere Gratacos (Head of Sports Institutional Relations for Football for FC Barcelona), and Pere gave the coaches a tour of the facilities. The coaches then got to watch the FC Barcelona U18 team train, the FC Barcelona women’s first team train and also got to see the FC Barcelona U10 team play as well as the U15 first team play. The coaches were all amazed with the skill and field presence/awareness that the youth teams displayed, especially the U10 team, and how even the youth teams played the Barcelona way, like the first team.
The highlight of the trip came on Saturday afternoon when Premier International Tours arranged a visit to one of the best La Liga matches of the year between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid! The coaches were all thrilled to see the best player in the world, Messi, and the stars of FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. While Ateltico Madrid took the lead to start the game, FC Barcelona eventually imposed their will to win this important game by a score of 2-1. The atmosphere in the stadium and the game was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of the coaches and something they will remember forever. Saturday night we took the coaches to a fantastic paella restaurant in the Olympic Port of Barcelona so the coaches could try one of Spain’s most famous dishes.
Sunday, the final day of the trip, the coaches once again had access to FC Barcelona’s Joan Gamper complex to watch more FC Barcelona youth teams play as well as the women’s team play. The coaches watched the FC Barcelona women’s first team beat Oviedo in one of the games as well being able to see the U18 FC Barcelona first team play which featured the famous “Korean Mess”, Lee Seung-Woo. The trip was capped off with some time for sightseeing for the coaches which included a walk along Las Ramblas, a walk around the Sagrada Familia, a visit Montjuic and its beautiful views of the city as well as a visit to the Olympic Stadium.