An under-16 squad of Christchurch United Football Club is set to depart for an incredible 17-day football trip to Spain where they will be hosted by the famous academy of Valencia FC.
Valencia FC is one of the glamour clubs in the Primera Division and a regular in the UEFA Champions League, but the club is also famous for its player development work.
The travelling party from Christchurch, which made up by the U15 team and strengthened by a few U16 players, will arrive in Valencia on Friday where they will train with the academy coaches for two weeks and play four matches against Spanish opposition.
“This is a unique trip for young New Zealand footballers as they will experience a professional club environment in one of the best academies in Europe,” says Christchurch United Academy Director Colin Williamson, who adds that these opportunities are usually only available for individual Kiwi talents, not entire teams from one club.
The New Zealand players were invited to Valencia after Christchurch United president Slava Meyn last year stayed with the Spanish giants to research their academy structures while he completed an International Diploma in Academy Management.
Williamson says that those contacts have proven invaluable and that the players will be exposed to training and match situations that will hugely benefit their development.
“Our Academy players are already part of a comprehensive programme at Christchurch United, but will now see first-hand what it takes to compete against their peer group at the highest level.”
Aside from the trainings and the matches, the Christchurch youngsters are particularly excited about witnessing Valencia FC play home matches at the cauldron of the Mestalla Stadium in both Primera Division and the UEFA Europa League matches during their stay in the city.
To top that off, the team will also travel up the Spanish coast to Barcelona to watch Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and co take on Real Sociedad in the famous Nou Camp stadium.
“As far as a football trip is concerned, things don’t get much better than watching Messi play in Nou Camp,” says Williamson.
“The players will experience so many special moments, on and off the field, but also by watching the stars play, that will help and inspire them for years to come.”
Caption: Christchurch United Academy Director Colin Williamson is excited to take his squad to Valencia.
For more information please contact Coen Lammers on 021-730239