Premier International Tours took 40 coaches and guests from North America to Barcelona, Spain January 26 – 29 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 coaches arrived on Friday, January 26th, and started off with a visit to Estadi Cornella-El Prat, stadium of RCD Espanyol, where the coaches then proceeded into the press room of the stadium for a presentation from Pol Garcia McAlduch, the youth technical director of RCD Espanyol and head coach of the Espanyol U16 Academy team. 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 their visit with RCD Espanyol the coaches went to the FC Barcelona Escola HQ for an amazing coaching session with Isaac Guerrero, Head Coordinator of FCB Escola, FC Barcelona’s soccer school, about the playing and training methodology of FC Barcelona. He captivated the audience with his energy and passion and the information and videos he shared about “playing the FC Barcelona way”. Many of the coaches on the tour agreed that this was the best session of the trip. Ending their first day 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.
On Saturday, January 27th, day two of the Barcelona Coaches Tour, we went to RCD Espanyol’s training complex, Dani Jarque Complex, and watched the Espanyol women play as well as some of the younger boys teams. After spending some time on at the fields the group did some sightseeing in Barcelona which included a walk along Las Ramblas, a walk around La Bocqueria, and the Gothia Quarter. We wrapped up the day with a traditional Paella dinner at La Fonda in the Olympic Port.
Sunday was a long, but 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. The coaches then got to watch the FC Barcelona U9, U10, and U19 boys teams play, as well as a U16 girls team. It was such an amazing experience to see these games after Isaac Guerrero’s presentation on Friday as the coaches got to see first-hand how FC Barcelona’s methodology is consistent from the first team all the way down to the academy teams. After spending some time at the Joan Gamper complex the coaches went to the city and spent some time exploring La Sagrada Familia. After some time in the city the group went to FC Juniors for another great coaching session from Xavi Guila, Technical Director of Analysis of FC Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich. Xavi educated our coaches on the video and player/match analysis system that these top teams are using.
After spending some time watching the academy teams of RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona play Premier International Tours arranged a visit to Camp Nou to watch FC Barcelona face off against Alaves! The coaches were all thrilled to see the best player in the world, Messi, and the stars of FC Barcelona. Alaves took the lead in the first half, in the second half FC Barcelona came from behind after Andrés Iniesta set up Luis Suárez with a goal to tie the game. Later in the second Leo Messi had a free kick which put Barça in the lead with FC Barcelona winning the match 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.
Premier International Tours would like to thank FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol for giving our coaches special access to their clubs and making it an amazing trip for our coaches!