VA ODP Day 8 and 9: Au Revior

"Traveling - It leaves you speechless, then you turn into a story teller." Ibn Battuta

By now, those who have represented Virginia Youth Soccer Association, clubs in VA/DC, their soccer coaches and their families, have shared a laugh or three about their adventures. Our last 2 days in France was at a slower pace with some sight seeing, goodbyes and what now seems like a short trip across the Atlantic. Best wishes to our hosts, a shout out to Sam, Yassen and Pierre.

Our girl's squads spent Day 8 in downtown Bordeaux exploring the history, the shops and of course... a quest for macarons. The boys went to one of our host restaurants to partake in the local food (the girls did this upon arrival in Bordeaux a few days back.) Then, all 4 teams hopped onto their buses for the 7 hour ride back to Paris. Being on the girl's bus, no one escaped ODP Idol. Even coaches and administrators had to partake!  The fear of being "up-front" was eventually overtaken by the suppor…

VA ODP Day 7: Paella

All the planning, adapting, sight-seeing, game day routines, passionate matches, laughs and heartaches…. comes to a close in a couple of days. Alum of previous trips know the feeling, it goes from anticipation to a memory. Seize the day…. and that we do with a trip to see the largest sand dunes in the world, to dip our feet in the ocean, hangout for lunch in a beach town and play our last batch of games. Dune du Pilat is our first stop in the morning, a hike through the sand hills had the staff romancing of the thought, how about some sand soccer and recovery in the ice-cold water. None of that is happening today as we are off to Cap Feret, a local beach town for lunch. Some chose to picnic by the water, others frequented the local shops and restaurants. To the fields for an afternoon match.
The 02 Girls completed their 4 matches yesterday. The 03 Boys, 04 Boys and the 04 Girls will play their last ones at FCE Mérignac Arlac. We arrive to the feel of a community club with refreshments…

VA ODP Day 6: FC Girondins de Bordeaux

It is amazing to see these young men and women evolve and mature
on such a trip. When they return home in a couple of days, we know you will see/feel a difference. That comes from facing adversity in tough situations where you learn to control the controllables.

After a relaxing breakfast, meaning we got up a later time. We make our way to the Regional Football Center, the home of FC Girondins de Bordeaux. If you are a fan of World Football, the following names will mean something to you, Zidane, Dugarry, Lizarazu, Giresse, Tigana--all played on the pitches of this historic club. A lunch made for athletes in the Center and off to matches for all 4 teams.

The 03 Boys, do well to win their encounter vs FC Bordeaux. Our 04 Boys, cling to the thoughts of keeping the score at 2 nil, in their loss to FC Bordeaux. Our 02 Girls lose a bruising match against FC Toulouse who travelled 3 hours for the game. And the 04 Girls drop a close 2-1 result to an intelligent FC Toulouse.

A some what celebr…

VA ODP Girls Day 5: Coupe de la Ligue

Breakfast at 6:00AM (France time, that's midnight back home). Bags packed onto a van while we hop on an hour bus ride to catch the high-speed train. Averaging a little over 140 miles per hour, we make the 7 hour car ride in 2 hr 15 min. Pretty cool experience through the French country side, not sure how many saw it through their naps.... trust us, it was amazing.

Bienvenue a Bordeaux!

A truly local lunch, with the choice of duck, salmon, steak or chicken and french fries. Some sightseeing for the boys as the girls made it over to the Regional Football Centre. The 02s had a match vs Girondins de Bordeaux.

The huge pitch and various changes in weather brought an interesting match to the spectators who could handle the wind, rain and periodic sun. The hosts dominated possession, some key players on the French side ping the ball around and they open the scoring with a quick counter as we lose possession in the build up phase. Late in the first half, they fail to clear a corner and we…

VA ODP Day 4: Relax

Finally, we get a chance to fully rest and regenerate after a busy arrival. Games came fast on this trip, two matches in 3 days. Let's not forget, travel from the other side of the world. A day of some relaxed sightseeing, shopping and field time to reflect on the efforts we have made.

The 04s jumped onto the field to go over defending situations that were cause for concern in Game #1, we are anticipating the 2 games in Bordeaux to be of a similar level. Then a combative soccer tennis tournament with one coach officiating and the other proceeding to complain about every call. Laughs by all. 
The 02s had a stretching session and a group chat, reestablishing team roles. A challenging couple of days and matches that were tight, we had chances in both games and are very positive the results could have gone our way in the second match.
Onto the main event of the day, sight seeing and shopping. We went over our original plan that got us rained on a couple of days ago… Champs Elysee, the…

VA ODP Boys Day 3: We Take Paris!

The morning training began with a little technical session in the warming Parisian sunshine. Midway through the session the ‘03s and 04s played a 20 minute half against a touring U14 team from the Houston Dynamo Academy.

After lunch the boys toured the famous Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre district for a little shopping and site seeing.  After that, a boat tour was the order of the day where the players got the chance to see Notre Dame and the Eiffel tour while cruising the Siene river.

They returned back to the hotel happy and exhausted and after upon consuming the evening meal fell into their beds well before curfew. 

Tomorrow brings both team’s 2nd match against the highly regarded academy team of Evry.