96 Boys RIASA Tour Diary
Boys had a break from soccer today, spent the day in York City Center touring York Minster and the Viking museum. Sometimes you need to lead teenage boys to the experiences for them to appreciate the rich history. Many memories created today. After York we headed into Leeds to do some shopping before heading back to campus to conclude our 5v5 tournament in which Mexico were victorious! Tomorrow we head to Derby County to play their youth a academy. Going to be a tough game, but the boys feel ready!
Match day. The boys got the day off to a good start with a filling English Breakfast before the RIASA US based Director took 30 minutes to talk with those boys genuinely interested in the program when they graduate high school. The talk was very helpful and helped paint a clear picture of expectations. We then headed over to Bradford City stadium for a tour and light lunch in the 1911 club (player's lounge). Bradford City is where the top RIASA players play their games representing the Bradford U21s. The stadium holds 25,000 peaple. After lunch the Program Directors surprised the lads and brought out the actual trophy the club won this past season when winning promotion to League One by winning the League Two playoff final at Wembely Stadium (England's National Team stadium)
We then headed to Knaresborough to visit a castle which was over 800 years old. Some of the boys also took an underground tour which was used as an escape route from the castle during medieval times.
Game time. We kicked off vs the Scarborough Men's Reserves at 6.15pm. The boys got off to a great start dominating early possession. Their possession paid off when Donovan was bought down in the box for a penalty. Donovan picked himself up and calmly slipped the ball passed the keeper. 1-0. The goal seemed to wake Scarborough up and within 10 minutes they went 2-1 up. At half time we discussed our style of play and made a few changes. The boys went out and played some tremendous football in the 2nd half but could not capitalize on their possession. With 12 minutes to go the referee blew the final whistle due to us having to leave the pitch. The boys were confident that had the full 45 been played we could have at least earned a draw. I guess we will never know. Great game.
Men of the match: Jaxin Rogers, Mario Espinoza, Donovan price. Jesus Zacarias .
Scarborough were tremendous hosts and treated the boys very well. They even provided dinner for the boys at a local pub in Malton. Could not have asked for a nicer bunch of lads to play. Hopefully this can be a standing fixture for SA United and RIASA.
Today the boys toured the Manchester City stadium, what an experience! They particularly enjoyed going into the home team dressing rooms and the press conference room. After the tour the boys headed back to campus for a 4pm training session with Lee Duxbury, former 1st team coach for Oldham Athletic. The boys worked on striking the balls from different angles with a few finishing possession exercises. After training the lads had dinner and then we had a team meeting to discuss the Scarborough game tomorrow night. The lads are excited and ready for their second game. We concluded the day with a 5v5 tournament in which England and Mexico came out of day one in the lead! Coach Sparrow leads the competition for Megs!
Tomorrow we are heading to Bradford City Stadium for lunch in the players lounge before making the two hour trip to Scarborough to take on their adult Reserve Team. Going to be a great experience for the boys!
The boys at the Etihad Stadium, home of English Premier League club Manchester City
Today we took the boys to the Leeds Metropolitan University where the RIASA program study and train. Beautiful facilities. Several of the boys were very interested in learning more about the international sports business degree that they may be fortunate to study should they be selected for the program.
After the campus tour the boys had lunch before a training session with John Hendry, former Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Scotland International player. Very good session on possession and movement of the ball. All the boys looked good and worked hard.
In the evening we took the boys to watch Carlisle United (League Two professional team) vs Garforth Town (semi professional). Good game with a 6-0 win to Carlisle. After the game we took the boys into the club house to meet with some of the players.
Another memorable day for the team. Tomorrow we are going to tour the Manchester City stadium. The boys are really looking forward to it. We then have another training session before playing in a 5v5 tournament.
The boys at Valley Parade, the home of FA League Two side Bradford City
Great day today for the boys. Started bright and early with a visit to the ground at which we were to play Manchester City later in the evening. We wanted to give the boys an opportunity to walk the pitch and have a look at the facilities. We then went into town to change some money into pounds and do some grocery shopping. The boys enjoyed walking around the store and looking at the different foods. Next on the list was a trip to Cow and Calf for a steady hike. The views over the Yorkshire dales were beautiful. The boys took some great pictures at the top of the hill overlooking the Dales. After the hike we headed back to campus for a couple of hours sleep before a light meal to fuel the boys for the game .
We arrived at the ground at 6.00pm for 7.00pm kick off. The boys got off to a slow start but managed to hold Man City for the first 20 minutes but then 2 goals in 90 seconds put City in a commanding position. The goals seemed to wake United up and for the last 25 minutes of half we took control of the game and could of got a goal back right before the half. In the 2nd half we started strong and pressed on for a goal to get back in the game. We created several good opportunities but it was City who scored again with a great volley from a cross in from the left wing. With 20 minutes to go in the game we got a goal from a set piece. Great cross in from Jaxin was headed in at the far post by Emilio Mendez to make it 3.1. This is how the game ended and on the day City deserved the win.
The boys did the club proud today. Very happy with their performance.
The 96 boys IASA landed safely Saturday morning and after settling into the rooms after a long flight they had their first taste of soccer in England. Watching Bradford city play against non-league Guisley AFC in an old fashioned stadium with both seating and standing areas, they saw Bradford run out convincing 4-0 winners in a game that improved as it progressed. Of note for the boys was the starring role from Bradford of a player signed from the RIASA program. Nahki Wells scored 1 and assisted 2 goals after coming on as a half time substitute.