Premier International Tours took 40 coaches and guests from North America to Barcelona, Spain February 2-6 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 which is only allowed for special guests. This 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 the soccer coaching community in North America since the trip is a valuable learning experience for the coaches who go on the trip and they can apply what they learn to their own clubs/teams.
The trip started off on Friday, February 2 with arrival of the coaches followed by a visit to Estadi Cornella-El Prat, stadium of RCD Espanyol. There, one of the youth academy coaches from Espanyol did a presentation about Espanyol’s player development and playing and training methodology in the press room of the stadium. After this, our visiting coaches got to take a tour of Espanyol’s stadium. Next, it was on to the Nou Camp stadium, home of FC Barcelona where the coaches got to tour the FC Barcelona museum and stadium and take pictures. This was followed by a reception at the office of FC Barcelona’s Jug adores which is the FC Barcelona former players association. The day concluded with 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.
Saturday was another one of the highlights of the tour, as the coaches visited the Joan Gamper complex which is the training facilities of FC Barcelona and home to La Masia, the FC Barcelona academy. The coaches got to tour the facilities and then watched several FC Barcelona youth teams play as well as train. It was amazing to see these games and training sessions after Isaac Guerrero’s presentation the day before 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 U10 teams. One of the coaches on the tour commented, “Those kids from BARCA play the same way as the 1st team. They are like robots!!! Fun to watch!!”
The best part of the tour though was Saturday afternoon when Premier International Tours arranged for the touring coaches to go to the FC Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao match. The coaches got to witness the brilliance of the world’s best players, Messi, as he put on an absolute clinic in leading FC Barcelona to a 3-0 victory. 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.
On Sunday, the final day of the trip, the coaches headed to the Dani Jarque Soccer Complex, the training facilities of RCD Espanyol to see the U18 RCD Espanyol team take on the U18 FC Barcelona team as well as one of the younger Espanyol girls teams play. Then, the coaches had some time for sightseeing in Barcelona which included a walk along La Rambla, the Sarala Familia and a visit to Sant Pau Hospital which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The trip was concluded with 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.
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!