×
Chat now

CRYSC International Visit Spain

Written by:  
Ben Martisius - Director of Marketing and Communications
Published on: March 28, 2024
Spain 01 1

This March, 16 Rapids Youth Soccer 14U boys from across our regions embarked on a remarkable journey through Spain, blending soccer, culture, and camaraderie. Accompanied by their families, the players explored Barcelona and Madrid, creating lasting memories along the way. CRYSC staff members Jeff Oleck (CRYSC International Director), Charlie Bacha (Coach), Maryn Beutler (Coach), and Ben Martisius (CRYSC Marketing and Communications), alongside WorldStrides tour guides Ester and JB, guided the group of 55 travelers over an unforgettable 8 days exploring the country.

Barcelona: Blending Culture & Sports

The group began its journey by traveling to Frankfurt airport and were fortunate to avoid cancellations due to an ongoing Lufthansa strike. This bit of luck set the tone for a smooth trip ahead. We arrived in Barcelona excited and tired, where we met our guides, Ester and JB. Our local experts would grow to be our traveling companions and help immerse the group in the city’s rich heritage. From the Olympic and Sports Museum to wandering through the enchanting Parc Güell, each stop offered a glimpse into Barcelona’s artistic, historic, and independent soul. The most impressive stop was our visit to the magnificent Basilica De La Sagrada Familia, a monument to human creativity designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudí.

Spain 02
Spain 05
Spain 03

Professional Clinics & Friendly Matches

A highlight in Barcelona was undoubtedly the professional coaching clinic with RCD Espanyol. Collaborating with Espanyol’s youth coaches gave our players a glimpse at the high level of play in the country and helped foster teamwork among the players. Friendly matches against local teams added excitement to the trip, allowing our Rapids players to show their skills on foreign turf. The team played their first two matches of the trip against CF Juventud 25 de Septiembre and Martorell, which provided exhilarating moments on the pitch and helped bring our Rapids together as one team.

Spain 06
Spain 15
Spain 07

Soccer Stadiums & Champions League Magic

The group visited the stadiums of the top three professional clubs in Spain: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid. It was an incredible experience seeing soccer history so proudly displayed in some of the most beautiful stadiums in world football. Camp Nou was under construction at the time, but the tour of the Barcelona Museum educated our players on the club’s history, with memorabilia like eight of Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or trophies. In Madrid, the group toured the Santiago Bernabeu, and again we were blown away by the incredible history on display. The highlight of the tour was seeing the 14 Champions Leagues that Real Madrid has won, the most of any single club in the competition. The final stadium tour was Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano Stadium which was arguably the most impressive of the bunch. Our group had access to exclusive areas of the stadium like the locker room and president’s box, and even got to go on the field near the dugout. Check out the video of our players running out of the tunnel to take the field at the Metropolitano!

The group was also fortunate to be in Barcelona and Madrid at the same time two vital Champions League matches were being played: Barcelona vs Napoli and Atletico Madrid vs Inter Milan. The knockout games saw both Spanish teams win and advance to the Champions League quarter-finals, creating an incredible atmosphere of passion for the sport. Though not an official group activity, many families attended the 3-1 Barcelona win at the Estadi Olímpic. The entire group went to the Atletico Madrid game together and were treated to one of the most exciting matches of the year. The game ended 2-1 in Atletico’s favor, which sent the teams to overtime because Inter Milan had won the first leg 1-0. It all came down to a penalty shootout, which was narrowly won by the home team. Our players and parents were buzzing with excitement after such an intense match.

Spain 09
Spain 11
Spain 12

Madrid: Soccer in the Capital

After leaving Barcelona, the group’s journey continued to Madrid, where impromptu futsal matches and a tour of the capital awaited us. The highlight of the entire trip came in our last friendly match vs CD Moratalaz, where both teams fought hard throughout the match, and our Rapids scored a great goal from open play. After the match, both teams were brought together and told they’d be holding a penalty shootout. Everyone involved was into it and created an incredible environment for our last moments on the field in Spain. With some great penalties and big saves, our Rapids won the shootout and rushed to the keeper to celebrate. CD Moratalaz also embraced the moment and rushed to celebrate with our team, as well. It was a special moment where players from different countries with different languages and cultures came together to celebrate their love for the beautiful game. Check out the video of the final save and celebration below!

Spain 14
Spain 10
Spain 21

A Bond Beyond Borders

As our adventure drew to a close, the memories we made lingered. From penalty shootouts to cultural excursions to Champions League excitement, every experience strengthened the bond between players, families, and coaches. As we bid farewell to Spain, gratitude filled our hearts for the unforgettable moments we shared together. Though the trip had ended, the lessons learned and friendships forged will endure, inspiring us on and off the field.

To the Rapids 14U boys and their families, thank you for being part of this extraordinary journey. The entire group was a pleasure to travel with, and our staff can’t wait to see you all again on the fields this spring. Stay tuned for more adventures from Rapids Youth Soccer!

Spain 22
Spain 04
Spain 20

CRYSC international tours are a great way for players to experience soccer through the lens of a different culture. From playing local competitions, experiencing different environments, and seeing new sights, there’s so much to be gained from expanding one’s horizon and taking your game abroad. Visit the CRYSC international page for more information.

Instagram
Written by
Ben Martisius
Director of Marketing and Communications
[email protected]719.394.8561

Ben Martisius grew up in Monroe, Louisiana where he played soccer through high school, and attended Louisiana State University to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. Prior to graduating, he completed a minor in German during a year abroad in Innsbruck, Austria at the Universität Innsbruck. In 2014, Ben moved to Denver, Colorado to attend graduate school at the University of Denver and earn his Master's degree in Strategic Communications. While in school, he took a communications role with the university's alumni advancement team, and has since worked for a local gym as a Marketing Specialist, and multiple clients as the Digital Marketing Specialist for Domoto Brands, LLC. In 2018, he was hired by Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club as the Communications Manager and found a perfect role for merging his passion for Marketing and Communications with soccer. After two years of overseeing communications at the Club, he was promoted to the Director of Marketing and Communications. In his personal life, Ben likes to go snowboarding, enjoy the outdoors during the summer, play guitar, bass guitar, or piano, watch or play soccer, and spend time with friends and family. He's also passionate about travel and wants to see as much of the world and experience as many cultures as possible.

Ben Martisius grew up in Monroe, Louisiana where he played soccer through high school, and attended Louisiana State University to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. Prior to graduating, he completed a minor in German during a year abroad in Innsbruck, Austria at the Universität Innsbruck. In 2014, Ben moved to Denver, Colorado to attend graduate school at the University of Denver and earn his Master's degree in Strategic Communications. While in school, he took a communications role with the university's alumni advancement team, and has since worked for a local gym as a Marketing Specialist, and multiple clients as the Digital Marketing Specialist for Domoto Brands, LLC. In 2018, he was hired by Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club as the Communications Manager and found a perfect role for merging his passion for Marketing and Communications with soccer. After two years of overseeing communications at the Club, he was promoted to the Director of Marketing and Communications. In his personal life, Ben likes to go snowboarding, enjoy the outdoors during the summer, play guitar, bass guitar, or piano, watch or play soccer, and spend time with friends and family. He's also passionate about travel and wants to see as much of the world and experience as many cultures as possible.

Related posts

Partner of the Following Leagues

U.S. Futsal
MLS Next
United Futsal
US Youth Soccer
United States Soccer Federation
Colorado Soccer Association
Regional ECNL League
ECNL
WPSL
Colorado Rapids

Download our Team App

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store
(C) Rapids Youth Soccer 2024  |  Sitemap  |  Privacy Policy  |  Education. Inspiration. Excellence