U14 (JPLS) - Report
|Elgoibar||vs||Oxford City FC|
Elgoibar Tournament !!
Elgoibar '96 , Athletic Bilbao '97 and Real Sociedad '97 squads welcomed OCFC to Bilbao .
Friendships were formed between Oxford City FC and the three Basque clubs that will last a lifetime .
Once off the plane it was straight to the Athletic Bilbao training academy .
An extremely impressive facility with proud roots .
After lunch we jumped on the coach and went to "The Cathedral " Athletic Bilbao's stadium(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletic_Bilbao).
Our captain Scott Willoughby presented flowers to the statue of pichichi ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pichichi_Trophy )
On Friday evening we were treated to a welcoming committee in the local town hall hosted by the mayor and associates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgoibar ) .
We were treated to a local traditional welcoming dance performance .
Then after a long day of travelling it was back the hotel for an early night .......
On Saturday we saw the start of the round robin tournament .
First up it was OCFC v Elgoibar .
Due to the long travelling day prior the lads looked under the weather .
They battled boys that were 3 years older in some instances and tried but fell 1-0 .....almost nicking a draw with a Brandon Burton volley coming off the crossbar in the dying seconds !!
The next match we faced an Athletic Bilbao side with Under 16 Spanish national team players in it !!
Our loaned academy goalie had a nightmare of a start when he fumbled what looked to be an easy collection into his own net !!
1-0 Bilbao ...
The Bilbao players then stepped into stride moving the ball at will with great precision .
There technical ability and tactical play had to be seen to be believed .
Personally I've seen Man Utd v WBA Under 14s and the Spanish Academies seem to be a notch up from these great set-up's !!
We finally went down 3-0 to Bilbao .
In our final first day match we faced a Real Sociedad side that also exuded quality , even having a left back that had played for Barcelona prior to moving to the Basque region .
After a decent battle we went down 1-0 .
Truth be told these were decent results against older quality opposition !
In the afternoon we visited Zubieta http://www.trainingtrips.eu/en/destinations/details/141/Academy-of-Real-Sociedad
This academy was absolute quality and no wonder why Spain is producing the players they are !!
Then it was off to Anoeta , Real Sociedad stadium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Sociedad ) .
In the evening it was off to a dinner hosted by the mayor of Elgoibar at the local gastronomy club .
A great evening and an exchange of gifts from OCFC to Elgoibar .
Sunday bought about our last match in the consolation match against Elgoibar '96 .
We had asked the boys to leave everything on the pitch .... and by god they did !!
A wonderful display saw our boys do us proud with the lions share of the chances and the possession .
Elgoibar actually scored aaginst the run of play but our lads came back to tie it 1-1 .
In the penalty shoot out we went down 3-2 but the display of our lads against 16 year olds was very impressive as we have several lads that havn't even turned 14 yet !!!
Then we all took our seats to watch the showcase of Athletic Bilbao v Real Sociedad .
Bilbao ran away winners 4-0 and showed why they just took the Nike Premier Cup Spanish title a few weeks prior earning a trip to China in the World Championship !!
This was a cracking end to a wonderful weekend .
OCFC has to thank Javier Velilla and the town of Elgoibar for there work and hospitality .
Looking forward to next year !!!