The Essex based football academy FITC visited Valencia in May with 12 players (and 12 parents) and three coaches including the head of the academy, Nicky Fitch. The plan was to take in the footballing sites of the city before enjoying a coaching session with local top flight side Levante UD, before a friendly match against the same clubs academy, a very exciting prospect for both FITC and Valencia Sports Tours alike as this was our first collaboration with Levante UD in this manner.
Day 1 – Arrival and the Mestalla
With FITC staying for two nights, every part of the trip was taken care of. After the coach collected the group from the airport and checked into the hotel, following a little refreshment, it was back on the coach and straight to Valencia CFs famous Mestalla Stadium for a tour. A club steeped in history, with players such as Kempes, Ayala, Silva, Villa and more adorning the walls, plus the chance to take in the changing rooms and of course go pitchside and sit in the dugouts, this was a great way to start the tour for everyone involved. With all the football activities on day two, it was now time to relax for the rest of the afternoon and evening. With the FITC hotel accommodation featuring a great pool on the roof and the famous Valencia blue skies prominent, most of the group spent the afternoon in or around the water, while others took to the Turia park and a visit into the old town area of El Carmen. A three course meal included at the hotel brought everyone together in the evening before the long day took its toll.
Day 2 – Levante UD
Valencia Sports Tours partnership with Levante UD allows teams to come to Valencia and train at their facilities just north of the city. Should the visiting sides be of a high standard, we are also able to offer friendly fixtures against the Levante academy sides, offering both parties the opportunity to test their metal against international opposition. This is what FITC came for and the day didn’t disappoint.
The day started with the short drive to Levante’s stadium (Estadi Ciutat de Valencia) where they were greeted by Ferdi, one of their coaches for the session later on but also the man who would take the group around the club’s stadium. Levante has a very different feel to Valencia, a smaller club without as many trophies but more than a match with their history. Taking the kids into the Levante family was the message and this led perfectly into the coaching session which took place at their Buñol training ground. Ferdi and two other coaches (including the club’s youth goalkeeping coach) took an hour and a half session with FITC, working through exercises which encompassed the clubs methodology. Thoroughly enjoyed by all, this led into lunch before Nicky and his two FITC coaches had the opportunity to sit with Pablo Rota, head of methodology at Levante UD, an opportunity that was gratefully received by Nicky and his team.
Following a break and lunch, it was onto the game. The U12 side from Essex started with real pressure, fully dominating the opening period they were able to take control of the game with two goals unanswered in the first half, although Levante showed glimpses of what they could offer. Following the break a hard-fought game saw the home side come back with two second half goals to draw level but it was FITC who seemed to finish the stronger but honours remained even at the final whistle.
The day finished around the dining table at the hotel, discussing the day that had passed. With the evening of free time the final part of the trip before the coach back to the airport in the morning of Day 3, the time seemed to have flown by. The players, parents and staff all returned to the UK with many memories and positive experiences to take home with them.
We can’t wait to see FITC again in the future and thanks to Nicky and Daniel at Levante UD for their commitment to making the tour a successful one.