Final Entry - March 23
It’s Mark Ashby, and I’m on a long flight home after and eventful week in Spain. The main purpose of our trip was to play soccer well, but it was supplemented by a great cultural experience.
The morning the plane landed in Madrid everyone was miserable from jet lag. Nonetheless, we practiced that day to recover from our traveling. We stayed at the Hotel Campanile, which was nice, but eating all our meals there got a little bit old after a while. It was okay though, because most of our time was spent playing or watching soccer anyway.
We played four games in total against a Latin team, Atletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid. Each game was a great learning experience for us, because the Spanish teams are so different compared to the typical American teams we usually play. The Spanish teams had an abundance of skill and great soccer brains.
READ: U-18 Madrid blog
These games forced our team to think and play at a faster pace than we are comfortable with. It was difficult, and we definitely made some mistakes, but I think we did a good job of adjusting to the level of play. The results showed too, since we two games, tied one, and only lost one against such incredible teams.
Looking back on this trip, I think I can speak for everyone when I say we represented ourselves and FC Dallas very well. Because I’m a central defender, I was especially pleased that the U-16s only conceded three goals over the week.
Besides playing soccer, we got to watch two Real Madrid professional games and visit the historic city of Toledo. Seeing Real Madrid play is a once in a lifetime experience – or in this case, twice in a lifetime. The crowd and the atmosphere in the Bernabeu Stadium were crazy. The amount of passion the players and fans showed would make any young soccer player want to become a professional.
We saw even more of the Spanish culture in Toledo. The cathedral and buildings were beautiful. It was also a great place to buy authentic Spanish gifts for our families.
After sitting down and writing about everything we’ve done, I can’t believe we were able to do so much in only seven days in Madrid. It’s a trip I’ll never forget, and I’m so thankful that I got to go.
Day Seven - March 22
Marco Carrizales reportando desde Madrid.
Hoy me levante a las 9:30 a desayunar, después fuimos a caminar y a estirar un poco. Cuando regresamos al hotel descansamos hasta las 3:30 para ir a comer antes del partido. Después de comer empecé a prepararme mentalmente para el partido contra el Real Madrid y descanse más.
LEER: Sub-18 Madrid blog
A las 5:00 nos fuimos hacia Real Madrid Cuidad Deportiva, cuando llegamos me quede impresionado con lo bonito que estaba todo. Entramos al camerino y salimos a ver el partido de los Sub-18. Después de ver un poco el partido regresamos al vestidor y nos preparamos para el partido.
Salimos para ser el calentamiento y para estar listos para el partido, a las 6:45 el silbato sonó y empezó el partido. El juego fue muy intenso y muy rápido, en mi opinión el equipo de Real Madrid es uno de los mejores equipos que me he enfrentado.
Fue un partido muy duro y desafortunadamente perdimos 2-0 pero pienso que el equipo jugó bien y fue una experiencia inolvidable. Fue una buena forma de terminar la semana contra un gran equipo como Real Madrid. Ahora voy a empacar y mañana a primera hora rumbo a DALLAS!
Day Six - March 21
This is Gabriel Cano, and I play up top for the FCD U-16s. Today we started out the morning at 9:15 and ate breakfast. To help wake us up for the day we went out for a walk around the hotel and train station. Then we rested for the game and turned in our dirty laundry. After that we headed to the store to pick up some extra snacks.
READ: U-18 Madrid blog
After our team meeting, we headed out for our game at about 5:00 p.m. Rayo Vallecano was a very technical and physical team. They passed very well and battled strong, but not strong enough for our team. After playing two games and having three training sessions already, we came out with all we had and played brilliantly.
Our goal in the game started out with Marco Ortiz winning a header and getting the ball up to me. I turned a player and played a through-ball to Bobby [Edet] and he finished it for our 1-0 victory. After the game we came back to the hotel and had a delicious dinner and now we’re preparing for another victory against Real Madrid tomorrow night.
Day Five - March 20
Hola mi amigos,
This is Victor Portillo, writing from my trip in Madrid with the FC Dallas Academy teams. Today we took a tour of the beautiful city of Madrid. It was a great cultural experience for us. We got to see a lot of Madrid’s landmarks.
READ: U-18 Madrid blog
We also took an extensive tour of the Santiago Bernabeu. We were allowed to walk through the stadium, the press room, the trophy room and the field. The trophy room was amazing. It housed all of Real Madrid’s glorious trophies.
My favorite part was an area right after the trophy room where they had a pair of autographed cleats from each current Real Madrid player displayed in glass cases. After the tour we were allowed to shop in the Real Madrid super store. It had a wide variety of Madrid uniforms. I was lucky enough to be able to purchase one.
After that we went on an hour-long bus tour. We saw many beautiful places in the city, including the King’s palace. It was a huge and marvelous palace. We also got to see the outside of a bull-fighting arena.
Finally, we were allowed to shop in downtown Madrid. It was so packed that we barely had enough room to walk around, but we saw many shops, restaurants and people. Now we’re back at the hotel and we need to get some rest for our match against Rayo Vallecano tomorrow. Wish us luck!
Day Four - March 19
Greetings from Spain,
Emerson Hyndman here, also known as "Emo." Here is a quick recap of my awesome day of futbol!
I woke up around 8:00 a.m. with my roommate, Marco Ortiz, and went to breakfast. After a good meal, the other U-16s and myself went on a light jog and stretch to loosen our legs and bodies. We had a competition to see who was the best at stretching - I'm pretty sure I won.
Then we met with coach Chris Hayden and he gave us the lineup and set-piece responsibilities. The bus ride to the field was about 30-45 minutes, and when we arrived at the field we were pumped to play. We warmed up on dirt, which was a first to me. I'm used to warming up on grass or turf.
The atmosphere was pretty electric at the field because the bleachers were full with neighborhood families watching the game. We played against a local team from Madrid and beat them 6-0. After the game, we watched the U-18s win 3-0 against an adult team from Madrid. After the U-18 game, our hosts presented us with the Federaligas Cup!
After eating a quick dinner, all of us headed out to Atletico Madrid's stadium, Vicente Calderon, and watched Atletico host Real Madrid. Real won 2-1, but the experience was incredible. All of the people around us were die-hard Atletico fans and would argue with the referee every time the call would go Real Madrid's way. We didn't get back to the hotel until about 1:00 a.m., but it was totally worth it.
Day Three - March 18
I'm Marco Ortiz, writing for the FC Dallas U-16 Academy team. Today we started off the day at 9:00 a.m. We ate breakfast at the hotel and then departed for a light recovery session at Ciudad de Futbol. The recovery session was very calm, but also very competitive. After training, we went to the city of Toledo to take our minds off of soccer for a little bit and visit the beautiful city.
While in Toledo, we got to shop and observe the great history and amazing architecture. It's crazy how narrow all the streets are in Toledo and how fast everybody drives with people walking right next to the roads. Everybody had to be especially careful every time we crossed the street. Luckily, we all made it out of there without getting clipped. All the guys had a wonderful time and are enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day Two — March 17
Caleb Underwood here, goalkeeper and co-captain of the FC Dallas U-16s. We just got back to the hotel after our first match in Madrid. The game starts when we wake up on game days – as we’re always told. We players have to prepare for games physically, but mentally also. And that’s exactly what we did today.
We had a pre-game walk/stretch a few hours before kickoff and then we were off to our match against Atletico Madrid. We had a good quality warm-up leading into the match. We started off the first couple of minutes kind of shaky, but quickly matched up with Atletico’s physical and mental style of the game.
We fought hard and played very well, but unfortunately we gave up a goal around the middle of the first half. We came out even stronger in the second half, fighting for every ball. The hard work paid off with a last minute goal by Jesse Estrada, which ended the match in a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.
In hindsight, I believe that was one of the best games this team has ever played. I’m very proud of the way we played. I can honestly say we gave it our all and performed well against a very good team.
Well, that’s it for me tonight!
Day One — March 16
I’m Alex Frankenfeld, co-captain of the FC Dallas U-16 Academy team. It has been a great and very exciting past 48 hours. We’ve prepared a lot for this trip to Spain, and I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to represent FC Dallas and to play against the world’s best. What an honor!
We arrived at the airport yesterday evening and had a long, but relaxing nine hour flight. Once we arrived in Madrid we were all exhausted, but we managed to make it through the day. In the afternoon we trained at Ciudad de Futbol. I’m still in awe of how incredible those facilities are. I have never seen a place so marvelous when it comes to soccer.
READ: U-18 Madrid blog
Our afternoon practice consisted of a lot of stretching and prepping our bodies for tomorrow’s matches. After practice we were lucky enough to attend a match that I’ll never forget. We went to the Real Madrid versus Olympique Lyon Champions League game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium! The match was incredible and the aatmosphere was indesribable. Real won the match 3-0. Overall it has to be one of the best events I’ve ever been to.
I’ve got to get some rest now. We have our first match of the trip against Atletico Madrid at 7:30 p.m. Wish us luck!