August 7, 2013 – 4:07 pm
Not even a three hour delay on the runway at Philadelphia airport could dampen the spirits and excitement of this set of 13 girls and their parents, and we arrived in Barcelona full of energy!
This was our first destination out of the three on the trip packed with sightseeing and competitive soccer. We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 nights spending our time wandering through La Rambla, admiring various Gaudi works and staring up in awe at the Sagrada Familia. We also kicked off the European soccer experience with two practice sessions on a great turf field, whose owner (as well as the locals!) was very excited to have us there and insisted on’watering’ the turf and providing us with every possible piece of soccer equipment he could find! It is definitely fair to say that we were all very sad to leave Barcelona behind, but we were itching to get to San Sebastian where the tournament was getting ready to kick off! En route, we stopped by the Nou Camp, (home of FC Barcelona) definitely one of the overall highlights!
After checking in at the tournament HQ, we made the short, but very steep trip up to our hotel, where we were met with the most amazing views of San Sebastian, it was without a doubt a WOW moment!
The next five days were spent playing tournament games in the mornings sightseeing trips or free time in the afternoon. One of the highlights was a trip to Biarritz in France, where the girls enjoyed the waves of the European surf capital.
The girls cruised through the 3 group games, scoring 15 goals and conceding none, as well as playing some very impressive soccer! This included a 1-0 victory over Athletico Madrid ‘A’. Unfortunately, we played a very fast side in the knockout games, who utilized their blazing speed, transitioning very quickly on the counter attack and eventually knocked the girls out of the tournament.
On Saturday morning we said goodbye to the views from our hotel and boarded the bus to Madrid, where it was forecast to be 106 degrees! We wasted no time checking out the sights, ticking off, among other things, the Prado Museum, the bullring, the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. I’m fairly sure we could have left the girls there without a single complaint but eventually it was time to go home, and we bid ‘hasta luego’ to spain, with a ‘gracias!’ for the amazing time, hospitality and sights.