FC Barcelona Coaches Tour a Tremendous Success
Immersing yourself in the world where soccer is the life blood of the country’s culture can be a life-changing experience. All too often we forget that our youth soccer coaches deserve the experience of traveling to see how their colleagues develop players abroad Recently, a group of talented coaches who train in America traveled to Spain to go behind the scenes at the fames FC Barcelona – and learn at a world class soccer club which has been successfully developing youth soccer players for generations.
The cost of travel is often prohibitive for youth soccer coaches – many of whom do not command high salaries from their work developing our youth players, yet the benefits of travel are well known to all. One solution for helping youth coaches travel is actually a benefit youth soccer team travel. One of the many reasons soccer clubs choose to use the services of Premier International Tours is because this travel company gives away free coach trips to its annual Coaches Education Event in Barcelona, Spain.
During the Coaches Education trip, which usually takes place in late January or early February, coaches are the guests of FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol and have access to what is usually restricted to many; FC Barcelona academy coaches and their elite training complex.
As guest of Premier International Tours, approximately forty coaches traveled to Barcelona this year. Click here for tour pictures.
SoccerToday’s Diane Scavuzzo spoke with Loek van Zijl, President of Premier International Tours regarding the 2015 FC Barcelona Coaches Tour:
Diane Scavuzzo: How unusual / difficult is it to tour Barcelona and meet with the coaches?
Loek van Zijl: FC Barcelona is one of the most popular clubs in the world and they don’t offer any tours to their training center for the public or even most youth soccer team travel. We developed a relationship with FC Barcelona over the the last two years. It all started with setting up a game vs. FC Barcelona for the US Club Soccer id2 program two years ago. Our local staff did a very good job. We spent a lot of time to achieve this relationship and we even helped flying in 2 FC Barcelona coaches to the 2015 NSCAA convention.
I think we are very fortunate to have this relationship with FC Barcelona and we want to help youth soccer coaches all over America learn what they call the Barcelona Way.
Diane Scavuzzo: Will you do the trip again? If so when?
Loek van Zijl: Yes, the trip is an annual event now. It will be held the last weekend of January or first weekend of February depending when FC Barcelona plays at home.
Diane Scavuzzo: Just curious – Why FC Barcelona? Will you also do coaching tours to go behind the scenes at other well known professional soccer clubs?
Loek van Zijl: Barcelona is one of the top destinations for our groups, FCB games are always very entertaining and the city is beautiful. We hosted Coaches Tours as well to Ajax Amsterdam. We might consider another club within the next couple of years. This tour is offered by invite only.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why offer a complimentary trip?
Loek van Zijl: This trip is only available for coaches and team representatives who are using the services of our organization. Organizing an international tour is a lot of work for the team coaches and managers. This is a way for us to say “Thank You for your Business”. Coaches deserve a tour like this and we want to give them a once in a lifetime experience.
What did the American-based coaches think of the trip to Spain? Here is what some of the coaches said:
“Thank you Loek for the opportunity to visit Barca!” – Ian Barker – NSCAA Director of Coaching Education.
“I had an AMAZING time in Barcelona with Premier International Tours! I can’t wait to bring my University of Mary women’s team here in 27 days!” – Sarah McNulty – University of Mary Women’s Soccer.
“Had a great time on the Premier International Tours coaches tour in Barcelona. We are in good hands for our trip this summer!” – Marc Crozier – Norco Soccer Club.
“A big thanks to Premier International Tours. As I have come to expect through the years, the “Fam” trip continues to be a top shelf experience for all. From the educational seminars, to touring world class facilities of some of the best known clubs in football, to witnessing the game played at the highest professional level, to the networking that occurs amongst coaches, participating in the Premier International Tours “Fam” trip is a contributing factor in why I choose my international team travel through your great company. Well done in Barcelona 2015!”
– J.B. Belzer, Regis University Women.
“I wanted to take a minute to thank both of you for a great trip and experience. I’ve already set up a meeting with our coaches to discuss a possible Spain trip next spring. Thanks!” – Jim Lianos, Ottawa South United.
“Thank you again for a great trip. It’s just really hitting me even more, how special this trip was. Not every day are Barca’s doors open like they were to us. It was just incredible and I appreciate the job you guys do.” – Erick Chomskis, Huntsville Soccer Club.