Truckee coaches Casey Eberhardt and Travis Spencer returned from a week in Barcelona, Spain, where they were accompanied by 15 players and four chaperones.
Local soccer club Barcelona Nor Cal was invited to send a team to train in the shadow of the famous Camp Nou stadium in April. The team consisted of players from Truckee, Bishop Manogue, Douglas and McQueen high schools.
During their seven days in Barcelona, the players walked toward Camp Nou each morning to attend a two-hour clinic led by Barcelona coaches and various U.S. coaches in training. Evenings consisted of boarding a bus that took them to games played against local teams in their home stadiums.
The games were attended by many supporters cheering for the home side, but also applauding good plays by the visitors.
“It was an amazing week,” said player Marcelle Reynaud. “My favorite part was playing teams that really know how to play soccer. They had such great touches and speed that they usually played the ball and not the player.”
While there, the team received tickets to attend a professional match at Camp Nou starring their favorite players and a second game with the Barcelona “B” team that consisted of up-and-coming talent. A trip to La Masia — where FC Barcelona houses, trains and educates their future superstars — was included in the itinerary as was a guided tour of the highlights of the city.
“I had fun practicing my Spanish,” said Nichole Graham. “We would speak to the Spanish players, the referees and people around the city. To be able to share a trip like this with some of my favorite people, made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The trip would not have been possible without the support of local sponsors and fundraising efforts. Each player needed to raise in excess of $3,000, but without coaches, the opportunity would not have been available.
“We are lucky to have such committed and supportive coaches who are willing to give up their personal time and money to dedicate to our girls,” said Michelle Larson. “This group would never have had this opportunity without the vision and persistence of both Travis and Casey.”