The first game of the tour was against Genoa today at our training field for the week. The match kicked off around 10:15AM with a walk out of the players and a moment of silence before the game. The moment of silence was to recognize an 11 year old boy from this area who was involved in a terrible car accident this past Sunday and unfortunately passed away. This boy was a player coached by our trainer for the week Paolo Parodi. Our prayers go out to the boys family, friends and loved ones in this time of mourning.
I could tell all of the players were excited to begin playing in their first competitive match here in Italy. The game began with a few misplaced passes and fouls from both teams which can be normal in this type of friendly. However, as the first half went on JPSA gained more confidence and a rhythm to finish the half up 3-0 and eventually finish the game with a victory and score of 6-1. I am very happy with the attitude and approach to the game from the players on this tour. It is a mixed group here for this experience and they are all approaching each soccer experience with professionalism and the correct discipline. Today was a great demonstration of our motto of Skill, Sportsmanship, and Self discipline. Before, during and after the game the players carried themselves in a way that made myself proud as well as their parents. I thank them all for this!
I thank the players and coaches of Genoa for the very generous gift of an official Genoa Uniform for every player on our team. This is a great gesture from them and we hope they take pride in the Pennant and Uniform that was given to them from our Academy. A great sign of respect and fair play from both organizations!
After the match, we made our way back for lunch before heading out to Santa Margherita and Portofino! We were able to take a 15 minute boat ride from Santa Margherita to Portofino where we witnessed some beautiful views, different shops, castles and churches. Portofino required some walking at different heights but it was worth it for many of the tour participants to capture photos for their families as memories! You know the area has some impressive views when you hear 13 year old boys commenting on how amazing it was to look out at the water from where we were.
We finished the touring by returning to Santa Margherita and either enjoyed some quiet time on the beach or took a walk through the streets exploring different shops and more sightseeing. After a long day out at the first game, bus rides and touring, many of the tour participants were tired and called it a night early…
Tomorrow we will be having our 2nd training session in the morning before having lunch and leaving for an afternoon spent in Levanto by Cinque Terre.