Posted On February 19, 2015 by PUSC
by Corban Anderson
I had always heard that soccer was an integral part of the European culture, but experiencing it firsthand has been an amazing experience. I have been training in Spain for about three weeks now and love it. The family I am staying with has been very welcoming and my mom here makes some killer Spanish meals. I like to think that I sound less like a gringo with each new day. One of my favorite cultural differences here is how people fill bars every night for the soccer games and discuss different styles of play and tactics concerning the match. Everyone here is wild about the game and it’s awesome how I can expand my “soccer IQ” by simply sitting down and watching a game at a bar.
Training here is incredible. I am playing with a professional team in the Tercera Division called Aurrera de Vitoria. The speed of play is much faster than anything I’ve ever been exposed to before. As an eighteen year-old, it is difficult playing with a group of guys that are in their mid-late twenties, even thirties. They are faster, stronger, and more competitive than what I’m used to because they are fighting for playing time at the professional level. It is a great challenge for me to match their level of play. The first training was a little rough, but after eight training sessions I am started to play really well and rise to the occasion. Playing at this level has revealed a lot of areas where I can get better. The main difference between my play and that of the other players is without a doubt the physicality. I am focused to improve my speed and strength and am confident that this is the best environment for me before I enter training at the college level.
Placer does a great job at developing young players into players who see the game differently and can see movements and available passes before the ball is received. That is a large part of what is enabling me to compete with this team in Spain. I am very thankful for the preparation from the Placer coaching staff and the great teammates that I have had while representing the yellow submarines for the past seven years.