Today was the first day that the players were able to get out onto the field and take part in the first training of the week. The first action of the day was meeting as a group in the hotel Restaurant at 8:00AM for breakfast before leaving for training. All players sat at the same table with their attire for the morning training and you could see they were all excited and anxious to get on the field.
We arrived at the training session where we were directed into Lo Spogliatoio or the changing rooms to prepare for the training. The groundsman informed us on where all of the equipment was for training and was pleased to help us with any of our needs for the morning.
Part 1: Warmup
- a brief juggling with the ball inside the 18 yard box as the players could not wait to touch a ball after the long travel from the past 24-36 hours.
- After this time with the ball, they took part in some game like movements movements outside of the box with no ball to warm their muscles and prepare for the training ahead.
Part 2: Technical passing of the ball outside of a box (groups of 5 players with 3 boxes)
- Accuracy of pass outside the box
- Keep your head up and make eye contact with your teammate or (Friend)
- Two touches only and then progressed to one touch
- Change your speed after you make the accurate pass
- Stay on your toes and not standing still when not involved in the pass
Part 3: Three team possession game with one team in the middle. The playing area for this exercise was inside the 18 yard box with 3 different areas. The middle team needed to press the ball as quickly as possible to prevent the team in possession of the ball from making 7 passes. If the team in possession made 7 passes they could switch the ball to the other side for the third team to begin making passes. The team in the middle needed to then go prevent this team from completing the same task and so on. If the defenders won the ball we would play on the opposite side with a new ball and the new defending team goes to press.
- Must press together and minimize space and time on the ball
- Must react to the switch of the ball if they are unsuccessful in stealing the ball
- Tackling at the right moment and intercepting passes by reading the play
- Movement of the players off the ball to support teammates
- Quality of the pass or fake
- Creativity with and without the ball
- Survey your teammates and opponents to aid in quick thinking and decision making
Part 4: Game of 5v5 going to goal with the off team playing 3v2 on a small 10×10 field
- 1v1 battles in more space
- When and where to take risks or play simple
- Responsibility of returning on defense and awareness of marking your man
- Creativity when attacking goal
Part 5: Game of 8v8 going to goal
- Larger responsibility as both a team and individuals
- More players and space to hurt you or help you
- Recognizing strengths and weaknesses of your teammates and open communication
- Analyzing the best ways to attack the other team whether wide or through the middle
- Can the other team combat this with how they defend what is working for the others.
After the training we left the training ground to shower in the locker room and head to lunch. We had a 1:00PM lunch to attend before catching some down time before taking a walk in the town of Sestri Levante. The down time meant some of the players and families made their way up to the roof to take a swim in the pool and take in the view of the Mountains. It is a beautiful view however the kids were more interested in who was the fastest swimmer. The winner?….Well, that would be Ashton Welcome! The brother of Aidan who is a supporter for the soccer tour but demonstrated his swimming expertise to all of us!
4:00PM came around and it was time for us to take a walk through the town to see some small shops and get some Gelato. The Gelato shop still owes Christine Arraiano Commission for her initiative in stopping at the first Gelato shop she saw. About 40 ice creams sold in a matter of 5 minutes! One of the highlights of the area is the Sestri Levante Baia Del Silenzio where people travel from all over to stay at this beach spot. We finished our walk in town with a stop at the beach!
This was not your normal sandy beach! It was covered with rocks that lead to the water. Of course the first impression is not the best to have to be walking on rocks or questioning how you could even sit or lay down. However, there was no sitting or lying down once you touched the water. The water was clear and at an incredible temperature that made you want to stay in for hours. We eventually stopped jumping off of the jetty of rocks, swam back to shore and made our way back to the room to shower and prepare for dinner.
The group met in the hotel lobby at 7:30PM and took the 10 minute walk over to restaurant Dodo for dinner where we ate baked ziti with veal and salad. The restaurant has a section in the back for only our group where the players and supporters have the privacy to eat and converse. After dinner, the players had a brief meeting to talk about the following day which will be the first game of the trip. The players will be playing in a friendly match against Genoa. All is set for a great match in the morning and we are all looking forward to it!
Check in tomorrow!
(Some photos from day 2 are shown below)