Airdrie and District Soccer Association heading to Spain for training trip
By this time next month, a group of Airdrie soccer players will be returning from the trip of a lifetime.
Forty-five players from the Airdrie and District Soccer Association (ADSA) will be heading to Spain for a 10-day training camp March 8 to 18.
The idea for the trip was initiated by Annette Cameron, ADSA president, and Matt Thomas, the group’s technical director. While in Spain receiving his A level license, Thomas met with a group called the Adidas International Training Program, which helps North American soccer teams travel overseas to train with some of Europe’s top professional teams and academies.
That, Cameron said, is one of the main purposes of the trip.
“It’s to allow (the players) to train with the best coaches in the world,” she said. “To play in a stadium that holds 15,000 people will be absolutely phenomenal for them. To be in that atmosphere and to play against those teams, we want the kids to walk away with that ‘wow’ factor and a sense of where you can go with soccer.”
The players heading to Spain range from the club’s U12 to U19 teams and will be accompanied by Cameron, Thomas, a physiotherapist and a host of parent chaperones.
They will get a chance to train with the coaches from Real Madrid and Barcelona, two of the top teams in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). They’ll also get to take in a couple of UEFA games and the sights of Barcalona and Madrid.
It’s the first training trip ADSA has done as a club, but in the past it has sent individual teams to tournaments in the United States. Over the last six months, the group has run the gamut of fundraisers to help pay for the trip, including raffles, 50/50 draws and bottle drives, but Cameron said all the work will be worth it once the players take to the Spanish football pitches.
“As the president, I’m most looking forward to seeing the excitement from the kids,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the kids in their gear and taking everything they’ve learned here and applying it over there. A soccer skill is a soccer skill no matter what country you’re in or from. It’ll be fun to see them grow and realize that they can do anything in the soccer world.”