8:30am was the start for the day with breakfast in the hotel before the group went to the stadium for the day. Training began at 10:00am and they did a similar training from the first day. Creating some familiarity and progression for the week.
Aspects of training:
– Protecting the ball
– 1 v 1 with option of 2 goals
– 10 v 2 in 4 boxes
– The awareness of where to play the ball and move into space took time for them to understand and they never quite found a rhythm of the exercise
– Moved onto shooting with balls coming towards you with both feet
– 4v4 games
– Penalty shootout
– Stretch and talk
Lunch was inside the stadium again. The view of the field from where you are eating lunch could never get old. Today was a lunch followed by a tour of the full stadium amenities. The stadium has many different uses similar to a small shopping mall with 2 Benfica stores, media stores, multiple restaurants and other add ons to increase revenue of the club and provide as much as they can to enhance the Benfica experience.
The tour was really well run giving history on the club and explaining all the destinations on the tour in detail. Visiting the locker room was enjoyable to see for the kids and imagining themselves being in a similar place in the future. The locker room was where the visiting teams go of course. Not even the tour guide has seen the first teams locker room. No one is allowed in. The best experience for the group was being able to walk along side the field and seeing how perfect the field was and the feel of the stadium around you down below. The tour ended back in the stores section and each participant was given a 20% off card for being a part of the tour. Some took full advantage of this and got some nice Benfica memorabilia.
Downtown Lisbon was the next destination. It is a nice location with many small shops, cafes, and statues. The boys were pretty tired by afternoon and started to get the itch to get back to the hotel. The hour and half spent in Lisbon was mostly filled shopping, sightseeing, and ice cream eating.
The day closed with a dinner back at the hotel and was one of the better meals. Pork meat mixed with pickled vegetables, potatoes, bacalhau, rice, pasta and of course the boys favorite here: plenty of bread.
Being back earlier today will help us all get some rest and enjoy the day tomorrow where the boys will be training at the Caixa Futebol Campus. This is where the First team trains. Benfica B plays their games. And the youth teams from u14 and up all train! It has dorms for he boys to stay during the week attend classes and train every day. Weekends they are allowed to go home to see family before and after games. It will be a great experience and will hope to encounter some surprises like possibly meeting some first team players. The Benfica Museum will also be on tomorrow’s agenda which everyone has been speaking very highly of all week!!
What a trip this has been so far!