Rapids 08B Central Select Team Travels To The United Kingdom
Posted by: Ben Martisius | Communications Manager
The Rapids 08 Central Select boys traveled overseas this July to experience football (soccer) culture in the United Kingdom. With stops in England and Wales, as well as visits to famous footballing grounds like Anfield, Old Trafford, and Stamford Bridge, the team had a blast seeing the sites with coaches Tom Poole, Jeb Brovsky, Nick DiBattista, travel-hosts Challenger Sports, and the parent chaperones.
For 10 days, the boys traveled to London, Birmingham, Chester, Liverpool, North Wales, and Manchester, stopping at famous landmarks and scrimmaging professional club academies along the way. The team was able to play Manchester United’s Emerging Talent Program, TNS (The New Saints FC), Charlton Athletic, and Birmingham City, gaining valuable experience against some of the top players in their age group. They participated in training sessions coached by a combination of Charlton Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, and Manchester United youth staff. The Rapids 08’s also got the opportunity to see a professional, preseason match between Leicester City and Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.
This week, we sat down with coaches Tom Poole and Jeb Brovsky to speak about the trip and reflect upon what the group took away from it.
When describing the type of experience the trip was for the coaches and players, Coach Tom spoke about his background growing up in England. He knows the area, the people, and most importantly, the football. While living in Birmingham, football was everything to Coach Tom and this was precisely the type of footballing culture he wanted his CRYSC team to see. He noted the coaches in England aren’t doing anything different or revolutionary in their training exercises, methodology, or teaching, compared to what we are doing in Colorado. However, there is a pervasive “all football, all the time” mentality that is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it constantly supplements and enhances the development of the English players.
As coaches, it was interesting for the CRYSC staff to see how the English boys internalize instruction from their coaches and immediately take the lead on the pitch. They saw young players coaching their teammates, identifying their mistakes and providing instruction on how they can improve, as if they were all patrolling the standards themselves on the field. It was a great learning opportunity for the 2008 CRYSC boys and it gave them a world-class experience to see first-hand how the game is played around the world.
“We don’t want our CRYSC players comparing themselves to our local competition in Colorado,” said Coach Jeb, “We want them comparing themselves to the absolute best in the world. We’re trying to aim as high as possible as a Youth Club and I believe this trip to England was also a great motivational tool for our young players.”
Jeb and Tom both agreed the high point of the trip was the day they spent at Carrington Training Ground (Manchester United’s training headquarters), where the CRYSC boys matched up against Manchester United’s Emerging Talent Program. The CRYSC group was treated with the utmost hospitality and professionalism by the Manchester United staff and the facility was, by all standards, world-class.
It wasn’t just the players and coaches that took something away from these training sessions and scrimmages, though. The parents were also able to see the environments and philosophies employed by some of the best youth programs in the world. After speaking with the parent chaperones from the trip, Jeb and Tom were delighted to hear them express their positive feedback. One of the main takeaways from the parent group was the experience not only gave them an enhanced perspective on youth soccer overseas, but also got them excited for what their boys can achieve here in Colorado and on the national stage.
Another high point for the group, away from soccer, was the day they spent together in North Wales. The group toured Conwy Castle, spent some time on the beach, and had fish n’ chips together on the Conwy River. It was a chance to relax, bond as a team, and enjoy their time on the seaside before fully diving back into training, stadium tours, and games.
All around, it was a great 10 days of soccer and travel. The team couldn’t have done this without the help of Rapids friends and supporters. A special THANK YOU to all of the parents who worked so hard to fundraise for the trip. We’d also like to thank all of the coaches, staff, and clubs that welcomed the team into their stadiums and training sessions. The hospitality shown to the group during their travels was humbling. Finally, thank you to Challenger Sports for organizing the trip and making sure the team was taken care of every step of the way.