The past two days of the trip have been on and off the bus as there were many miles to travel in order to get to our final games for the players and enjoy the first game of the Serie A season for Inter at San Siro.
Saturday morning, we left for Carpi to have a lunch at the clubhouse and play our third game of the week. It was a long trip to Carpi so the players entertained themselves with a few mafia games and DreamTeam video games. I hear Johnny has been the player to beat all week as he has a superior team to many of the others. I am not the best “gamer” however I love that the entire team is playing a soccer video game compared to any other video game. This could be the only video game I could participate in as they all connect with bluetooth and play against each other on the bus. As you can see the bus rides have gone by quickly with this entertainment on hand!
We were welcomed with a nice dish of pasta for the first dish and followed up with prosciutto and fried bread. At the lunch was the team we would be playing against in the afternoon as well as the coaches for many of the youth teams in the club. After lunch we made our way to the field to prepare in the spogliatoio and get prepared to play our final and toughest match of the week. The game was played against a very strong Carpi side that had players that were bigger, faster, stronger, older and extremely technical and tactically impressive. It was a pleasure to watch them play and for our players to see the level that they will have to reach when they are as old as them.
Some of our players were playing 2 or 3 years older and gave everything they had the whole game. The game finished 8-0 for Carpi who is half way through their preseason before the season starts. The score or result is not important for this particular trip but the best part is that all of our players learn more from this game than the others. Every player left the field exhausted and knowing that they were pushed to the maximum effort and frustration. The mind and body was pushed to its limit for the 75 minute friendly. Thank you Carpi FC for the experience and the example set for our players to look at for their future.
We made our way back to Sestri for some lasagna and our final night at the hotel before commuting to Malpensa the next day.
Malpensa was a 3 hour drive this morning from Sestri for us to check into our last hotel which is close by the airport tomorrow. The main event for today was the game at San Siro Stadium between Inter Milan and Fiorentina. Many of the players and parents bought jerseys and gifts outside the stadium for memories of their first trip to a historic stadium. This stadium hosts Inter Milan and AC Milan in the Serie A and both clubs have won many important games and titles here at this stadium so the players and parents were in for a treat.
Inter was favorites going into the game based on the quality of players they have compared to Fiorentina which is basically a new team with a new coach that is going to take some time to find a true identity. The game did not disappoint with three goals for Inter and zero for Fiorentina. Goals were scored by Icardi (two) and Perisic. Adrian Pjetri actually predicted this exact score line and the exact goal scorers! Pretty impressive but not surprising as Adrian is a BIG soccer follower of many leagues, teams and players.
The quality on the field is the best part of tonights visit to San Siro. Everyone in the stands is on the edge of their seat to be entertained, surprised, disappointed, excited, satisfied and above all impressed. The level was very high and I am excited for a great 2017/18 Serie A season with many title challengers to Juventus who has been dominant for the past 6 years. It was a great ending to the tour to attend this match and see this game live. It is one thing to watch games like I am watching Neymar and PSG on TV at the moment in our new hotel but a LIVE game cannot be beat. Where you see all of the little details of the game (usually off the ball). I wish high level games like this could be more accessible to our players Live but it is not possible at the moment back home. At least we can always come back for another tour to witness the game here and take in the different culture and how things are done here.
Overall it has been a great time here in italy for the past week. So many great memories created amongst players, parents and coaches. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this trip possible. The trip was made possible through the connection and partnership between JPSA and FOOTALY which is run by Giandomenico Costi. Thank you for organizing the trip and having Paolo Parodi assigned to our group. Paolo went to great lengths to make sure the week was enjoyable for the players and running as smooth as possible. Communicating with the busdriver Andrea, restaurants, opposing teams for the games, training ground work, hotels and much more. From the JPSA side, I want to mention the importance of my father Joe Palumbo to these tours with his constant communication and diligence to make sure the tour can be as successful as possible. Administration is one of the most important aspects of these tours and my sister Denise Palumbo helped in a great way to make sure things were in order before the trip began and followed through daily by uploading these posts for me with some addition of pictures! Lastly, Christine Arraiano does so many things behind the scenes with organization, spreadsheets, phone calls and overall communication and hard work to make this trip complete, so a big thank you to her! Again, THANK YOU to all of the people that made the trip happen, but the biggest thank you goes out to the players and parents who were incredible all week. A group of great people open to new things in Italy and people that demonstrated respect for me and all of the participants on the tour.
Tomorrow everyone will return back to their routine work schedule and prepare for the upcoming new school year and I wish you all the best this year. Parents, continue to be your son or daughter’s biggest fan and enjoy watching them play. Players, set your goals for this year and attack them without fear but with motivation and determination.
All the best,