Now I have had chance to let it all sink in, I can definitely say that the RIASA summer experience really is a once in a lifetime experience. The boys that went over there were exposed to the most real English soccer culture experience you could ever wish to experience! We toured stadiums from semi pro (Guisely and Eccleshill), to League 1 (Bradford City), Championship (Leeds United) and finally the Premier League (Manchester United). All the tours apart from the Manchester United tour were personal private tours, an experience no other group would get unless you were connected with the RIASA program. We got a look inside how professional soccer is from watching the pro’s train and play, to being coached by some of the best coaches in England. The opportunity and exposure the 97 Boys IASA team was given really is second to none and it was topped off with three great games against Bradford City U18’s, Manchester City Yorkshire Development U17’s and Rochdale United U17’s. The boys all performed admirably and I came home proud of each and every one of them! I would highly recommend the RIASA experience to any soccer player that wants to be pushed to the next level, challenged beyond anywhere they have been before, and given the opportunity to achieve their dream of being a professional soccer player!
The boys were a little slow getting up this morning due to being tired from the game. But everyone was in high spirits. After another full English breakfast, we went on a tour of Bradford City FC's stadium. During the tour were lucky enough to meet and talk with the chief executive of the club and watch a closed training session on their game field. This was a huge privilege to be able to see. After the session, we got a closer look at the field and took some pictures with Bradford players. The chief exec was also nice enough to let us all take photos with their league two playoff champion trophy which again, is not something just anyone gets to do. We had our lunch in Bradfords 1911 club overlooking the field and then went to the club shop to pick up some memorabilia.
The day was capped off with another training session with Lee Duxbury, an ex Bradford professional player! The boys will relax tonight as we prepare for Man City tomorrow.