24 ODP and youth soccer coaches, technical directors, and directors of coaching from various clubs throughout Virginia traveled with WorldStrides Excel on a fully customized coaching educational tour to England and Scotland in February. The nine-day tour included visits to top academy teams including Celtic FC, Rangers FC, Manchester City, and Everton FC, where the coaches received educational lectures and watched practical academy training sessions.
After a day of learning with Celtic FC, Tim Krout from VYSA said that it was a “phenomenal day of learning at one of the best player development clubs in the world.” The coaches also had stadium tours at various clubs throughout the U.K., including Celtic Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox Stadium, Etihad Stadium, and Old Trafford Stadium. They also attend two English Premier League matches, Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool vs. Aston Villa. Overall, this once in a lifetime trip was a great learning opportunity for the coaches, but more importantly, will help better their players.
Let’s recap what coaches experienced at each club during their England and Scotland tour:
Scottish Football Association Visit
Welcome to Scotland! The coaches were immersed in the Scottish football culture as soon as they landed. Their first stop on the nine-day tour was a visit to Hampden Park, Scotland’s National Stadium. They were met by Donald Gillies of the Scottish FA where he presented The SFA Coaching Education System. After the lecture, the coaches had the opportunity to tour Hampden Stadium. Highlights from the tour included seeing the team changing room, walking down the tunnel onto the pitch, and following in the footsteps of legends by climbing the stairs to the cup presentation area.
Glasgow Celtic Visit
Highlights of this tour included walking through the trophy room, visiting the team locker room, and walking around the stadium. After the stadium tour, the coaches learned more about Celtic’s academy program with presentations by Chris McCart (Youth Academy Manager), Martin Miller (Junior Academy Manager), and Willie McNab (International Soccer Academy Manager). Their day at Glasgow Celtic concluded with attending the U10-U12’s practical session with Junior Academy coaches at Barrowfield training ground.
Watch an interview with Excel Sports Tour Director Robin Wood and Heather Sanden after they spent the day with Celtic FC here.
Glasgow Rangers FC Visit
The coaches spent a full day at Glasgow Rangers Football Club watching training sessions at Murray Park. Following the training sessions, coaches were allotted time for a Q&A session with a coaching staff member. After a full morning, coaches toured Ibrox Stadium and had exclusive access to the home dressing room and the Trophy Room. They also walked through the tunnel and took a seat in the dugout
Watch an interview with Tour Director Woody and Coach after their day at Glasgow Rangers here.
Manchester City Visit
The tour continued into England where coaches attended two English Premier League matches, but it was back to learning when they arrived at Manchester City FC Academy. After learning about their academy program, it was time for a stadium tour of Etihad. The tour included visiting the players’ changing rooms, the briefing room, and the coaches’ box. They also walked through the tunnel and onto the pitch. Their day at Manchester City concluded with visits to the academy building and an evening visit to watch a Manchester City Academy session.
Watch an interview with Coach Alex Pinto and Tour Director Woody after their day at Manchester City FC here
Everton FC Visit
The final stop on the nine-day tour was a visit to Everton FC. The coaches attended an academy presentation by Chris Sulley, the Joint Head of Coaching at Everton Football Club. Following the presentation, coaches watched Everton’s U18 Academy team train. The rest of the afternoon was filled with more learning as they watched a sports science presentation. Their day concluded with observing Everton’s U16’s, U15’s, and U14’s academy teams train.
For more information regarding WorldStrides Excel, please visit our website at www.eurosoccertours.net or www.worldstrides.com/sports. Interested in planning an international soccer trip with your team? Contact Eric McAleer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Daniel Dicce at email@example.com or call 410-489-2287.