Posted On March 14, 2013 by PUSC
CHARLESTON, S.C. (March 13, 2013) – The 2013 id2 National Selection International Tour to Spain from Feb. 28-March 11 brought all the excitement that has come to be expected from US Club Soccer’s annual international trip, including two victories, hard-fought matches against youth academy teams from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the experience of life abroad and a chance to see some of the sport’s top professionals play during a La Liga match at Barcelona’s famous L’Estadi Camp Nou.
As part of the id2 Program and with the strong support of Nike, players enjoyed the trip cost-free, coming away with a wealth of experiences both on and off the field that will aid in the development of their young soccer careers. This was the fourth id2 National Selection International Tour, with previous journeys to Spain in 2012, England and Scotland in 2011, and Germany and the Netherlands in 2010.
“Overall, the experience was wonderful for the kids, the coaches and all the staff involved,” id2 National Selection head coach Gerry McKeown said. “The kids were exceptionally well-behaved off the field, and certainly on the field they had moments of really brilliant play. Of course some mistakes were made under pressure, and I think there’s value in that. That’s why we come, to learn. We watch how the other teams operate, and the higher-level teams really put us under duress at times. These are games we can’t replicate at home, and it’s critical that we’re able to do this in a great environment.”
U.S. Under-14 boys national team coach Hugo Perez accompanied the id2 National Selection, and he came away impressed with the level of play and the development opportunities the trip provided.
“I think it’s very important for our players in America to get this type of exposure,” Perez said. “For our kids to play against two of the great clubs in the world I think has been a good experience for them. Watching this week and being here with the group and the players, I think we can compete, and again I’m very excited that US Club Soccer has put this program together.”
The 2013 id2 National Selection International Tour got underway on Feb. 28, when the roster of 18 boys born in 1999-2000 met for a two-day training camp outside Miami. With players coming from 17 clubs and 10 states, it was a crucial opportunity to build familiarity and work on tactics.
Upon arriving in Madrid on March 2, the team settled in to enjoy that evening’s clash between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The first test came the following day against AT Chopera Alcobendas 04 Cadete A, and a 4-0 win primed the players for a hot start at Real Madrid on March 5. Nick Taitague and Sam Vines scored in the first nine minutes to take an early lead, but Real Madrid pulled one back before gaining control with three more goals in the second half that handed the id2 National Selection a 4-2 loss at Ciudad Real Madrid.
That marked the end of the first leg of the trip, as the players traveled to Barcelona next. On March 7, they arrived at FC Barcelona’s official training ground, Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, to take on the Infantil A squad. With the Catalan club’s first team practicing on an adjacent field, both sides ran 4-3-3 formations and played exciting, end-to-end styles. Edwin Lara ripped a left-footed strike in the 52nd minute to set up a tense finish, but the id2 National Selection wasn’t able to replicate last year’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona, as it came up just short in a 2-1 loss.
That was far from the end of the action. March 9 brought a chance to watch FC Barcelona’s home victory over Deportivo de La Coruña — including a goal by Lionel Messi — from field-level seats, and the team capped its game schedule on Sunday with a 6-1 win over Girona FC Infantil A before attending the club’s first-team match that evening. The trip concluded Monday, when the players boarded a plane back to Miami and caught connecting flights home.
The id2 Program is an Olympic Development Program as approved by the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Soccer Federation, and aided by their time in the id2 Program, numerous alums have advanced into U.S. Soccer’s National Team programs. The 2013 id2 National Selection International Tour was coordinated in conjunction with Premier International Tours.
Highlights are available via US Club Soccer’s website and social media channels, including the video journals on YouTube, photo gallery on Facebook and other updates through Twitter (using the hashtag #id2) and KYCK.