02 Mar id2 National Selection team travels from Valencia to Barcelona in second video journal
The second video journal of the 2016 id² National Selection International Tour to Spain recaps a difficult game against Villarreal FC Infantil A, chronicles the travel from Valencia to Barcelona and shows preparation for the id² National Selection team’s final opponents: Espanyol and FC Barcelona.
The id2 National Selection team consists of 16 boys born in 2002 and two born in 2003. Eighteen clubs are represented on the roster. The trip is highlighted by four games against top LaLiga academies (Infantil A – 2002s) and a cultural immersion to Valencia and Barcelona.
While the first video journal included the opening scenes of a domestic camp in New Jersey and the game against Valencia CF Infantil A, the second video journal picks up with the team’s game against Villarreal FC Infantil A, Feb. 25 at Villarreal Ciutat Deportiva.
The host club exposed the id² National Selection team’s relative unfamiliarity with each other and defended its home turf well, defeating the American delegation, 4-0. Luis Toledo (FC Boulder) and Nico Rosamilia (Ironbound SC) each had shots in the second half, but their attempts were just off the mark.
“The game was quite an experience for our boys. We were challenged in every way,” Gerry McKeown, id² National Selection head coach and id² Boys Program Director, said. “It was a great education, not so much the result. The hope is that the education was worth it, because they did see what a good player looks and what it is to be a high level both physically and technically.”
The following day, the boys bid farewell to the city with a recovery session on the scenic Valencia beach, where they played soccer in the sand and reinvigorated their legs in the Mediterranean Sea. On Feb. 28, the team took a bus ride south to Barcelona with a pit stop en route to train at Complex Esportiva Futbol Salou. While there, the id² National Selection team made strides in ball control and communication, ultimately gaining more confidence leading into its final two games against seasoned Espanyol and FC Barcelona academy teams.
Once in Barcelona, the boys got acquainted with the city by walking to La Sagrada Familia – a truly breath-taking experience. They also trained the next day, Feb. 28, at Agrupacio Esportiva Bon Pastor.
That’s where the second video journal concludes, but since then, the delegation was treated to field-level seats by LaLiga to the FC Barcelona vs. Sevilla FC match at Camp Nou. FC Barcelona rallied to win 2-1, backed by Lionel Messi’s bending free kick and Gerard Pique’s finish just before halftime. The team was just a handful among about 80,000 people in attendance.
Then, on Feb. 29, the id² National Selection team was edged 3-2 by Espanyol Infantil A (2002s) in a thrilling match. Cameron Dunbar (Albion SC) scored an early first half goal that created a swell of confidence on the team. Alfredo Moran Loera (Surf SC) tacked on his second goal of the international trip with about 10 minutes left in the second half. Andrew Tong (GPS Massachusetts), Max Goeggel (Ballistic United SC) and Erik Centeno (Earthquakes – East Valley FC) all tested the Espanyol goalkeeper with quality strikes in the waning minutes. Ultimately, the hosts claimed the narrow victory, but spirits were rightfully high after the game, because it was clearly the id² National Selection team’s best showing so far.
Last night – Tuesday, March 1 – the boys played their final game of the id² National Selection International Tour against FC Barcelona Infantil A (2002s) at Ciutat Deportiva Joan Gamper. Despite two first-half goals from Goeggel, the id² National Selection was defeated 3-2. Afterward, coach McKeown praised the team’s resilience both that night against arguably the best academy in the world and during the entire trip.
Please stay tuned for the third video journal, which will include highlights from both games in Barcelona. For more information on US Club Soccer’s id² Program, please visit usclubsoccer.org/id2.
ABOUT US CLUB SOCCER:
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages.
US Club Soccer offers youth and adult registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms at the recreational and competitive levels, and a variety of other programming and services. Anchored by Players First, US Club Soccer supports all facets of youth soccer through the five pillars of Players First: Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety. Other programming elements include National Premier Leagues, the id² Program and Player Development Program, and the National Cup.
US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and is supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.