Professional training session of Leiria, a visit of Nazare and a game in Marrazes!
Another early start to our 4th day of the tour with all players and parents starting with a quick breakfast and a quick visit of the upper area of Nazare’. Nazare’ is a famous beach in Portugal where many surfers from around the globe come to face some of the largest waves in the world. All of the players and parents were able to take pictures of the view overlooking the beach and buy a few personalized bracelets. With the attractive views and early morning start we departed from Nazare later than we wanted to to make it to the first team training of Leiria. Some of the supporters stayed back and enjoyed the entire day at the beach while the team was mandated to go to the first team training along with any other tour participants that wanted to stay with the group..
The training session was worth the trip back to Leiria as the boys got to see the high level that a 3rd division team possesses here in Portugal. The Russian owner of the club has been investing a lot in the past 5 years to gain promotion and reach his goal of arriving in the 1st division but it has not been easy. They had an undefeated season last year and were expecting a promotion however they tied their matches in the playoffs of the 4 regions to be disqualified from promotion. It is a tough season going undefeated and not gaining promotion, very similar to our 04’s season this past year who went undefeated in the Metro League but missed out on the final four by a point!
The training session showed the coach going through transitional play and attacking from different areas of the field. He was explaining to the team the tendencies of their opponents for this weekend and how they like to press very high up the field, so he had one team pressing and the most likely starting group trying to break the press with a few different options. The boys were impressed, engaged and fortunate to interact with the players and coaches after the session. They welcomed the players onto the field for pictures, videos and autographs after the match that made the day for our boys. After this spectacular experience the boys headed for a lunch close by and then returning to Nazare to reconnect with everyone who is on the trip.
It wasn’t the best beach weather in terms of sun however for our purpose it worked out great. It was overcast and pretty chilly so we didn’t have the heat adding to the already tired legs of the boys. The beach offered a chilly swim, soccer on the beach with new friends and mini shops to explore. The day was well spent before heading to SCL Marrazes for the third game of the tour. This game would end up being our toughest challenge here so far as the 2004 boys were very strong. The obvious difference is the physicality but this is not the reason for the dominance by them. The Marrazes team simplified every situation, they were patient in their attack to find the best space to hurt us and they were playing at a speed that could not be matched but only contained. Our boys did a tremendous job of moving as a team and covering one another once their teammate was beaten off the dribble or a line was split with a pass. The compliments of the opposing coaching, the round of applause of the opponents parents and appreciation of the effort the boys put it was rewarding. Thank you to SCLMarrazes 2004s for our toughest challenge of the week and additional growth of our players. The boys have faced some tough competition with the opponents superior in many concepts of the game as well as a physical level that cannot be matched. SCLMarrazes provided a vision and standard that our players must strive to reach in two years. The 0-6 loss is not the focal point today…The takeaway is the growth and experience these young players get by going up against players and teams of quality and professionalism.
We made it back to the hotel late for a dinner at Al Grelha again and after about an hour and half everyone called it a night and headed to their rooms. What’s ahead tomorrow is an exciting day spent in Lisbon for a tour of the Benfica Stadium, the Benfica Museum and Cidade do Futebol tour where the National teams train. The day will finish with a training session at Benfica Stadiums Synthetic turf with a Benfica Coach. We will keep you posted throughout the day on our Instagram story! www.instagram.com/palumboacademy