INAUGURAL PDA GIRLS INTERNATIONAL TOUR - FEBRUARY 2016
recap by PDA Girls International Head Coach Jonah Silk
In February 2016 PDA sent its first ever group of players on a PDA international soccer tour to Spain. We assembled a group of 16 players, a variety of ages, all very capable, to play in three matches, train with professional clubs, and view professional matches.
PDA Girls at the Camp Nou Players at Barcelona Harbor
We flew over to sunny Spain and immediately had a tour of the soccer mecca, Barcelona FC stadium, Camp Nou. The spectacle had the players, parents and coaches in awe, and we knew the best was yet to come. The following day we watched in person as Messi, Suarez and Neymar combined for 6 goals against Celta Vigo. Drerssed in our newly acquired Barcelona gear we took our seats in the Camp Nou and witnessed Messi run the fake penalty kick seen around the world. We chanted Ole ole ole ole, which would become our bus ride chant to each of our own matches.
Game 1 vs. St. Jordi Preparing for kick off
The girls competed against slightly older players in the first two matches to make sure the competition was on par. We lost our first match to a St. Jordi side 3-2. Having only trained a few times prior, the PDA players looked outstanding. We had barely slept yet, only checked into hotel, and after we adjusted to the time change and got some rest, PDA International really performed.
Training at RCD Espanyol
We trained with La Liga side Espanyol’s womens academy the following day and had a really good session with one of their first team trainers, and former players, Julia Garcia. That afternoon PDA won 7-0 in our second match against Jupiter FC, also a girls team from Barcelona. The girls finished brilliantly including our keeper who had moved up to striker! Spectators and other clubs were very impressed by our players. Again the team was older than our own players. We finished Barcelona with walking tours through the beautiful streets and architecture, outdoor restaurants down by the beaches in the old Olympic Port. Team meals and sightseeing in Montserrat. Shopping for jerseys, scarves and everything you can imagine on Las Ramblas. We left for Madrid in great spirits, everyone having loved Barcelona.
Clinic w/ Real Madrid Coach Outside Ciudad Real
We were fortunate enough to train at the actual Real Madrid practice facility, on their campus at Ciudad Real Madrid, after touring their locker rooms and institutions.
In our final match under the lights of Madrid, we played one of the top two clubs for women in Spain, Rayo Vallecano (their men’s team are also in La Liga). Their young ladies were also very technical, our own age, and it looked like a title match intensity, with word having gone around of our win against Jupiter. PDA scored very early, and after Rayo Vallecano drew even late in the first half, a brilliant team goal with under two minutes to play from PDA sealed the deal, with the buildings of Madrid in the back ground. We took a team photograph with each team, exchanging flags and banners, and laughs.
Souvenir Shopping @ Real On the Real Madrid Bench
The following day we toured St Bernabeu, the other cathedral of Spain, and the museum with memorabilia and trophies, history and video highlights. We had access to the locker rooms and player benches, tunnels, etc. Fantastic tour, followed by more shopping and eating in bustling Madrid.
Royal Palace in Madrid
Our tour guide Adriana was wonderful, we all grew very close and she now wears a baby blue PDA jersey instead of her Real Madrid kit. Both cities she was informative and passionate and very concerned with our experience being perfect. Quest Sports Travel did an exceptional job, helping us offer these PDA players one of the experiences of their lives, culminating with a Farewell Dinner at an elegant Tapas restaurant just for our trip and families to tie it all together. Everyone agreed the trip was a huge success and an incredible experience for our players and families! Spain is a beautiful country full of love for life and FUTBOL.
In February 20 we will do it even bigger! Will you join us on our 2017 Tour