A group of boys and girls players, coaches and supporters from Alexandria Soccer Association (ASA) just returned from an incredible ten day soccer tour to Italy and Spain. As part of Alexandria Soccer’s International Program, this trip, in partnership with GOL Experiences, was spent playing and watching soccer in Turin and Alessandria, Italy and Barcelona, Spain.
ASA has developed partnerships with organizations and soccer clubs around the world in an effort to provide opportunities for players and coaches to experience other cultures on and off the soccer field. The value of bringing communities together through the beautiful game is unparalleled.
ASA traveled to Italy and Spain with a total of 40 male and female players born in 2003 or 2004 along with 4 club coaches and a number of supporters. The goal of the trip was to give players a taste of high level international competition as well as experience the local soccer culture, food and history. The first leg of the trip in Italy offered ASA players the opportunity to train at the beautiful BSR Gruliasco facility as well as train in futsal at Orange Futsal Asti’s incredible indoor courts.
Between training sessions each team (boys and girls) participated in the Alessandria Soccer Cup hosted at the CentroGrigio Sport Village. The village, boasting six turf fields, a futsal arena, dorms, cafeteria, and locker rooms, provided an amazing example of a soccer specific comprehensive training facility. Both ASA teams were victorious in the tournament, bringing home the cups! While in Italy the players also toured Juventus’ home stadium and museum as well as took in a third round Italian Cup game.
Traveling next to Barcelona, the group had once in a lifetime opportunities to train at the original FC Barcelona “La Masia” with FCB coaches as well as train in futsal at the new “La Masia” Joan Camper facility. The ASA players were the second youth team to ever train at the incredible futsal facility. At both locations, it was an amazing experience for the players to train in the same spot where Barcelona’s first team trains. While in Barcelona the teams also played friendly matches against CF Palleja and also toured FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium and museum.
ASA capped off the trip by attending FC Barcelona’s first home match of the season versus Real Betis at Camp Nou. Lionel Messi scored one goal and hit the post three times in a 2-0 Barcelona victory. This incredible experience will not be forgotten by players and coaches alike.
During ASA’s stay in Barcelona the city experienced a terrorist incident when a truck drove onto the pedestrian streets of Los Ramblas, killing thirteen people. While scary, ASA believes it is more important than ever to continue to forge peaceful relationships through the world’s sport. The ASA players experienced nothing but respect, competition and comradery from the teams and players they encountered during the trip. To show their commitment and pay respect, ASA players wore black armbands during their games and began each match with a minute of silence to honor the victims of the attack.
To read more and visit the trip blog, click HERE!