Excel Soccer Academy, from the Phoenix, AZ area, took a U15 boys team to Barcelona, Spain March 6-13, on a tour organized by Premier International Tours. The club coaching staff let it be known from the star that they wanted a very soccer centric tour for this group to meet the soccer passion of the players and staff. And the tour did not disappoint. The soccer fest started on arrival in Barcelona on March 7 as the group did a tour of the Camp Nou stadium right after arrival at the airport. The soccer continued throughout the tour as the group visited the Joan Gamper complex and La Masia, the training grounds and youth residential academy of FC Barcelona. While there, they go to see some FC Barcelona youth teams play.
The group also had a surprise of a lifetime as they got to see and meet none other than Lionel Messi himself in person at the complex, along with Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique and his famous wife Shakira!! These famous FC Barcelona players were at the complex to watch their sons play, who also play for FC Barcelona youth teams. As hard as it was to match that experience, the group still had more great soccer adventures on the trip, including a training session with a youth coach from the other Spanish pro club, RCD Espanyol, at Espanyol’s training complex, as well as a training session with coaches from one of the top amateur clubs in the Catalan region, Jabac soccer club. Jabac has produced many players to play in the professional ranks including Xavi. The team played 3 very competitive friendly matches against high level amateur club teams in the Barcelona area. They also went to the FC Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad match that FC Barcelona squeeze out a 1-0 victory. In between all the soccer activities, the group did have some time to do some great sightseeing which included a visit to Las Ramblas, Placa Catalunya, The Gothic Quarter and the world famous Sagrada Familia.
Corbett Hess, Boys Director at Excel Soccer Academy, spoke very highly of the experience saying , “I began working with Premier International Tours and their team supported us greatly with raising funds and regular communication. We achieved our goal and traveled to Barcelona, Spain. We saw some sights and played games, trained at academies, watched youth games, watched Barcelona win at Camp Nou, and yes, my players met Lionel Messi! They will never forget the experience and neither will I. I will be using PIT for my future trips! I wouldn’t want to go with anybody else.”