Not all rainy days are bad…
We woke up to a dark and cloudy sky with the rain pouring down on the balconies of our hotel rooms. I’m sure the boys enjoyed a little extra sleep however the view outside was looking like the day ahead would be difficult to manage.
We decided to spend an hour at the nearby mall to give a chance for the players to walk and shop for their family members back home.
We finally started our journey to Guimaraes around 11:45 am. Guimaraes is the location where Portugal was born. A famous city that is known for this important moment in history as well as the crazy passion for Futebol and their club Vitória Sport Clube aka: (Vitória de Guimaraes). We went straight to lunch at one of the famous restaurants in the city that hosts professional teams in the area for team meals.
They offered a choice of steak or chicken complemented with pasta or rice and neither options disappointed. It was fuel for the group to head back down the hill to the main city. Shout out to our bus driver Isabel who happens to be the best bus driver in all of Portugal with 5 Balon d’or driving awards!
After a few pictures by the castle and a look at the Guimaraes stadium, it was time for the players to head to the second game of the trip! The sun never really came out today but this game was for sure the brightest moment of the day. The boys were up against Sub quinze A team of Vitória de Guimaraes. A team that competes in the National division of their age group and competes with Porto and Braga as the top clubs in this region. The team is made up of local, distant and international players that have been scouted and handpicked to be a part of the club.
The challenge was there for the boys and they lived up to it by tying the game 1-1 in a match of 3 periods of 30 minutes. Brandon Velasquez scored the goal for JPSC in the 21st minute to take the lead. The game was 1-0 up to around the 75th minute where Guimaraes ties the game off a free kick played quickly in the center of midfield. It was a well deserved 1-1 tie with a high-level team and top Academy in all of Portugal. The boys should be very proud of their efforts tonight and looking forward to a final challenge coming tomorrow.
If the game wasn’t exciting enough the highlights continued for the day with a dinner next to the Guimaraes B team who competes in the 2nd division of professional Futebol here in Portugal. The players were nice enough to take a picture with the boys!
Finally, we said our goodbyes to Edu, who is a younger player from S.C. Salgueiro’s who joined us these past few days. He was a player who got into the group nicely in terms of respect and talent level. I wish Edu the best of luck in his upcoming season and we all feel happy to have met a new friend!
On to day 5 tomorrow!