On Friday 15th February 2019 the Heworth Grange Futsal Academy set off for Seville on our first ever futsal tour with Inspire Sport. The touring party was an U18 squad consisting of Year 11, 12 and 13 students who are all receiving weekly coaching as part of the school futsal programme.
We arrived and spent the afternoon exploring the port city of Malaga which is located in the south of Spain’s Costa Del Sol. On the Friday evening we went to see Be Soccer CD UMA Antequera and Emotion Zaragoza play in a professional futsal fixture in the LNFS (Liga Nacional Futbol Sala). There were around 2,000 lively fans in attendance as we watched a thoroughly entertaining game end 7-4 to Zaragoza.
On Saturday 16th February we travelled to the Universidad De Sevilla to meet Manual Adranda and Juan Manuel Garcia who were assigned to coach our players throughout the visit. During the course of the course of the day we participated in two outstanding training sessions which were brilliantly delivered to improve the technical and tactical understanding of the game.
On Sunday 17th February in the morning we took a trip into the centre of Sevilla and had the opportunity to watch the marathon that was taking place in the city centre. We also had time to take in some of the major landmarks including the gothic cathedral, the alcazar castle complex and the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring.
In the afternoon we played a friendly fixture against Real Betis Futbol Sala U19’s, this was a huge challenge for our players as they were competing against some of the best young players in southern Spain. Despite being on the end of a heavy defeat as players and coaches we learned so much from our opponents and their staff.
On the Sunday evening we made our way to the Estadio Benito Villamarín, the fourth largest football stadium in Spain and the home of Real Betis. We soaked up the atmosphere outside of the ground before taking our seats alongside 60,000 fanatical supporters to watch Real Betis play Deportivo Alaves in La Liga (Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División). The game finished 1-1 with Lo Celso scoring for Betis and Maripan equalising for Alaves.
The tour was a fantastic experience which not only allowed our students to develop as players but also as people. By escaping the everyday confines of the classroom, and sharing new experiences with each other the students were able to develop positive relationships and develop key social skills.