Graham Chadwick

FCD Academy team arrives in Spain to face top competition

FOLLOW THE TRIP: Behind-the-scenes blog | U-18 blog | U-16 blog

FRISCO, Texas – The FC Dallas Academy teams arrive in Spain this morning to take in a week of culture and competition against some of the best academy teams the country -- and the world -- have to offer.

The teams will face off against squads from Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and a fourth opponent to be determined. They will also get to enjoy tours of the Spanish National Team complex Ciudad de Futbol, world famous Bernabeu Stadium, and the historic cities of Toledo and Madrid.

The Academy had a similar trip last year when they were invited to participate in the AEGON Future Cup last April. The tournament was hosted by AFC Ajax in Amsterdam and involved eight elite youth clubs from around the world including Ajax, FC Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC and AC Milan.

However, last year FC Dallas only took one 19-man squad comprised of a mixture of U-16s and U-18s. This year they’ll have two teams – a full U-16 and U-18 team – for a total of 36 players.

FC Dallas Youth Director of Coaching Chris Hayden said the most important part of these trips is not the results of each game, but the overall experience each player comes away with.

“What we’re doing is preparing players for a time when they’re playing at a higher level, hopefully professional soccer,” said Hayden. “We feel like the opportunity this week will prepare them for some moment later when they have to step into a big game.” will be offering exclusive coverage of the trip, including a behind-the-scenes blog from our FC Dallas Youth beat writer, Scott Brown, along with team blogs from both the U-16 and U-18 squads. In addition, make sure to check out the FC Dallas Youth Facebook page and follow @fcdallasyouth on Twitter for exclusive coverage of the trip.

*Spain Training/Match Schedule (All Times local)

Wednesday, March 169:10 AMArrive in Madrid
 3:00 PMTOUR: Spanish National Team complex, "Ciudad de Futbol"
 8:45 PMUEFA Champions League Match: Real Madrid vs. Olympique Lyon
Thursday, March 1710:00 AMTraining
 7:30 PMMATCH: FCD U-16s Atletico Madrid
 8:00 PMMATCH: FCD U-18s Rayo Vallecano
Friday, March 189:30 AMTraining
 1:15 PMFree time in Toledo
Saturday, March 192:00 PMMATCH: TBD
 10:00 PMLa Liga Match: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
Sunday, March 2010:00 AMTraining
 2:00 PMTOUR: Real Madrid Stadium
 3:30 PMTOUR: City of Madrid
Monday, March 2110:00 AMLight training session
Tuesday, March 2210:00 AMTraining OR watch Spanish National Team Train (TBD)
 5:00 PMMATCH: FCD U-18s vs. Real Madrid
 6:45 PMMATCH: FCD U-16s vs. Real Madrid
Wednesday, March 2312:10 PMDepart for Dallas
 5:20 PM (CT)
Arrive in Dallas

*Schedule subject to change

FOLLOW THE TRIP: Behind-the-scenes blog | U-18 blog | U-16 blog