Keeping up with the 2018 id2 National Selection International Tour

Keeping up with the 2018 id2 National Selection International Tour

Roster/schedule |

The 2018 id2 National Selection International Tour officially began Thursday, March 22, as 18 players from all over the country gathered in New Jersey for the start of a brief domestic camp. A few days later, the delegation will take an overnight flight to Spain, where the squad will explore the scrimmage Girona FC’s youth academy team and explore the historic city. After that, the id2 National Selection travels to Costa Brava for the Mediterranean International Cup (MIC). The final two days in Spain will be spent in Barcelona.

This trip represents the culminating event of the id2 age group cycle targeting 2004 boys. It is highlighted by participation in the MIC, which the id2 National Selection has drawn the top slot in its group among opponents from Trinidad & Tobago, Spain and the Canary Islands. Last year was the first time the id2 National Selection participated in the MIC, and the squad advanced to the quarterfinals – ultimately falling in PKs to Inter.

The 2018 id2 National Selection International Tour is made possible through strong support from Nike. The trip, including travel, lodging, meals, gear, etc., is all provided at no cost to players. LaLiga and Premier International Tours are also assisting.

Tuesday, April 3:

BARCELONA, Spain | The final day of the 2018 id2 National Selection International Tour begins with an early departure from our headquarters hotel to the airport, where the delegation flies back to Newark.

From Newark, the boys leave for their respective hometowns – carrying a once-in-a-lifetime experience and improved physical and mental skills from this trip.

Stay tuned for a full recap of the tour.

Monday, April 2:

BARCELONA, Spain | After breakfast, the boys did a stadium tour of Camp Nou – the famed grounds of FC Barcelona. Then, we ate lunch near Las Ramblas and the beach before playing a spirited game of 9v9 in the sand.

On our way back to the hotel, we took a long route back, driving by La Sagrada Familia and other famous architectural focal points of Barcelona. Before and after dinner, the coaches gave players 1-on-1 evaluations that included valuable data from their Beyond Pulse Smart Belts, which they wore during training sessions and matches.

Sunday, April 1:

PLATJA D’Aro, Spain | Happy Easter! The team watched the championship game of the MIC between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, which was live streamed on local television, from its headquarters hotel. Espanyol, which defeated the id2 National Selection team two days prior, beat Barcelona 1-0.

After the game, the delegation left for Barcelona, where it’ll remain until flying back to the United States. Along the way, we stopped for a sightseeing excursion around the old Olympic Village when Barcelona hosted the Olympics in summer 1992.

Then, after checking into its next hotel, the boys walked to a nearby park and played a friendly tournament of soccer tennis.

Saturday, March 31:

PLATJA D’ARO, Spain | The boys watched a MIC quarterfinal game at 10 a.m., featuring the youth academy teams of FC Barcelona vs. Manchester City. Barcelona won 2-1, advancing to the semifinals to play Espanyol, which defeated a local club later in the following quarterfinal game.

Beyond the tournament, the team now shifts its focus to participating in cultural experiences and immersion into Spanish/Catalan culture. The boys played soccer on the beach in Tossa del Mar.

Friday, March 30:

PLATJA D’ARO, Spain | Win or be eliminated. The boys face that challenge every game from here on out. And, it begins Friday morning with an 11 a.m. kickoff against CE Europa. A victory means the boys will play again in the afternoon with a berth to the quarterfinals at stake.

But, it’s more important than ever to recognize that any slip-up – especially in these 50-minute game formats – can be devastating.

UPDATE: The id2 National Selection defeated CE Europa, 3-0, to advance to the round of 16. Brooklyn Raines scored in the second minute, and Andrew Dutra added another in the 4th minute. In the 40th minute, Kevin Mearse provided an insurance goal after a great cross from Logan Calpito.

The victory earned the Americans an evening game against RCD Espanyol Infantil A, which defeated Club Gimnastic Manresa (the 2017 id2 National Selection beat Gimnastic Manresa in the round of 16), 3-0.

UPDATE: The id2 National Selection saw its 2018 MIC tournament run end with a 3-0 defeat to Espanyol. Coincidentally, this Espanyol team beat FC Barcelona Infantil A two weeks ago by that same score, proving its one of the clear favorites to win this tournament.

The id2 squad showed grit and determination, but ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net. Espanyol’s first goal midway through the first half ended the id2 National Selection’s streak of shutouts at 10, dating back to last year’s team. After the game, Nick Taitague – a former member of the 2013 id2 National Selection team – surprised the boys in the locker room. Taitague is training in Germany with FC Shalke 04, getting his first glimpse of the full team last year.

Thursday, March 29:

PLATJA D’ARO, Spain | The id2 National Selection boys played a doubleheader on Thursday to conclude the MIC group stage. At 12 p.m. local time, the team defeated Club Daniel Carnevali (Canary Islands), 2-0, to clinch a berth in the knockout round (top two from each group of four advance to the winner’s bracket). Allan Rodriguez Lopez (San Antonio SC) continues to perform admirably, scoring both goals in the first half. Thursday evening, the id2 National Selection left no doubt it was the best team in its group, defeating Racing Sarria CF, 6-0, in a well-balanced attack – first half scoring here; second half scoring here.

After dinner, the team had an early lights out to get much needed sleep before the knockout phase begins. The boys will face CE Europa at 11 a.m. at Mont-Ras. The Barcelona-based club tied twice (1-1, 0-0) and won once (5-0) in its group stage.

Wednesday, March 28:

PLATJA D’ARO, Spain | After a pair of scrimmages over the past few days, this is the id2 National Selection’s first real match of the international tour. At 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT), the team plays Trendsetter Hawks FA (Trinidad & Tobago) in the first group stage game of the Mediterranean International Cup. Tuesday night, the team studied film from the Girona FC scrimmage and are looking to implement the learning points into this game. UPDATE: The id2 National Selection won 8-0 behind four goals in each half. Here were the scoring plays: Mearse to Dutra (2nd minute), Rodriguez Lopez (3rd), Dunn (12th), Alcalá (22nd), Bordoy to Chigede (27th), Gambone (43rd) and Mearse (46th, 50th).

After the game, the team dipped into the Mediterranean Sea – located within sight of the hotel – for a different kind of ice bath.

Tuesday, March 27:

GIRONA, Spain | Tuesday is a recovery day after a tough scrimmage against Girona FC last night. The team left Girona in the afternoon after a cultural experience walking through the Girona city center.

The delegation checked in to its MIC headquarter hotel after lunch, where it’ll be stationed for the duration of the tournament. Immediately upon check-in, the players either took part in study hall or, for those on spring break, rested.

Monday, March 26:

GIRONA, Spain | It’s game day! Sort of. The id2 National Selection plays Girona FC Infantil A this evening. Girona FC is also competing in the MIC, which begins Wednesday.

After breakfast, goalkeeper coach Tyler Stakiwicz led stretching exercises in a nearby park, and then assistant coach Ian Mork directed some fun, but challenging, drills designed to build trust and chemistry among teammates. Monday is the only full day in Girona, as the delegation transfers to its MIC hotel Tuesday afternoon. UPDATE: The id2 National Selection team allowed two goals in the first 10 minutes, but rallied for a pair of goals before halftime. The first was by Andrew Dutra (California Odyssey SC) and the equalizer by Allan Rodriguez Lopez (San Antonio SC). The second half went scoreless. After the final whistle, the opposing coaching staffs agreed to advance to penalty kicks – not to force a result, but to practice the situation before both teams compete in the MIC later this week.

Sunday, March 25:

GIRONA, Spain | The international part of this journey came to fruition early this morning when the delegation arrived at the Barcelona airport. Immediately after landing, the team took a bus to Girona, where it’ll be based for a few days. After lunch, there was training at the FC Vilablareix complex for a couple hours to wake up some tired legs. Then, it was a short night with dinner followed by lights out.

Saturday, March 24: