People We Met Along the Way

admin | August 13th, 2015 - 3:54 am

People we met on the trip

Caetano… the bus driver, he was an amazing driver. There were some tight roads and he always made it look easy, regardless of the size of the bus.

Bartender at Bar Piscinas… never caught his name but was always attentive and making it easy to speak in English and getting what we wanted. The prices were always good, as the parents spent hours at night there and got a small bill in the end. The view of the pool wasn’t bad either 😉

Staff at Nelas Parq Hotel… whether the desk staff which had tons of patience as the boys kept looking their keys in the room to the dinning room staff that always made sure the meals on time.

Joao Costa… the museum/tour guide at Estadio do Dragao. His English was excellent, his explanation of things was excellent, his patience with our large group was excellent. Go Porto… excellent! (we would’ve appreciated a goal vs Napoli, but still loved the game atmosphere)

Lady guide at Alvalade… Her English was good, the stadium was cool and while different from Porto’s stadium, still very good. When in Lisbon, a must visit.

Wine Tour guide (will update with name as soon as it hits me)… the parents took this tour and rave of his English, his explanations and how thorough he was. He was so good, many parents were ready to become vineyard owners themselves….or at least buy a few extra bottles to enjoy again and again.

Waiter at Radisson Blu… spoke perfect English, had lived in Galveston, Texas and has seen the world (at least lots of it), was even a bullfighter at one time, although he called it a ‘hobby’ not a job.

The countless others that made it an amazing trip. Thank you.

Lisbon’s Lions and Castles

admin | August 11th, 2015 - 2:51 pm

Monday, August 11

Traveled to Lisbon this morning, went to Sporting Alvalade Stadium. We were hoping to see the Super Cup trophy they had won the night before, but it wasn’t on display. The stadium is very colorful and the museum had tons of trophies. We did see a display of when Ronaldo played at Sporting. Along with a signed jersey, there was his file of time spent with the club, since very young. A player pass of when he first joined the club, he looked like a baby compared to today.

After the stadium tour and a visit to the club store for some scarves and jerseys, we headed to the Castle of St Jorge. The walk up thru the old neighborhoods was cool. Thin winding streets/allies snakes side to side, with small houses. You’d walk by a store no larger then many closets back in the USA. We took a pit stop on our walk up to a roof top, overlooking the river and it was amazing. Lots of street vendors around selling art and stuff, we tried to avoid them and just enjoyed the view.

A little further up and we made it to the castle and it was awesome. The view from there was even better. We can see the entire city. The old area to the newer, more model area. Many climbed the stairs to the top of the castle tower and enjoyed the 360 degree view. There is also a cafe/restaurant with peacocks walimageking around, they were beautiful and not afraid of people, they just walked around the garden and between the people. Many of us commented that its easy to spend an entire day there, just enjoyed the shade and the views for miles.

After making our walk back down thru the neighborhoods, dogging the old trollies click and clacking thru the streets and the small golf cart like tour rides, we met our bus and headed to our hotel for the night. Its new and modern. We had a great final dinner and making of us spoke about the experience, our favorite things and it felt it went quickly. We went to bed as we all have early flights in the morning.

Obrigado and Boa Viagem.

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Fire Power and Bumper Cars

admin | August 11th, 2015 - 7:27 am

Sunday, August 9

We woke up for an early game and had breakfast in the hotel. Once everyone was ready we headed over to the field around 10. We got ready in the locker rooms and headed out onto the field. The grass was great but not all of the lines were painted on yet. The corners, parts of the box, and the center circle were there but we had no sidelines or midfield. However, we did have referees and they handled the field pretty well. Before, the game started we walked back into the tunnel and did an official walk out. The game itself went very well for us. Everyone started fast and we really dictated the tempo of the game. We had much more of the ball and created far more chances and the scoreline showed this at halftime. We were up 3-0. The second half was very similar to the first. We were very clearly the better team and because of this some people got to try new positions. Tyler, Giancarlo, and Dashiell all got a chance further up the field at forward and Dash even managed to score the final goal in a 8-0 victory. After some hard games to start the trip it was nice to get a win like that. After the game we took pictures with the other team and some of us even gave them our jerseys. Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the carnival at Viseu that night.

After the game we all headed back to the hotel, while there we were able to catch a couple of Premier league soccer games on tv, like the Arsenal vs West ham and Liverpool vs Stoke. Some of us also went to the pool to relax and have a good time. At around 5 we all got on the bus and headed to Viseu for a carnival. The carnival was a great time. The whole team took part in dramatic bumper cars games, and a few of us also went on rides. We also rented scooters that we raced around the carnival safely. The carnival was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time. After we all headed back to the hotel and watched the Sporting vs Benfica game. Then watched the NYCFC vs Red bulls game in each other’s rooms. All in all it was a fantastic day and now we have one more day before we go back home.

Written by DD and PL

 

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Full Stadium Fun

admin | August 9th, 2015 - 9:43 am

Today we got up at 8 and had the same breakfast as we always do in the hotel. After breakfast Coach distributed the new uniforms to us for the tournament games(green&blue). The jerseys were really cool and unique.

Today we had two games in the Mangualde Tournament. Each game was one 45 min half with no refs. The language barrier was tough and hard to decipher the fouls. The first game we played we lost 1-0. We played very well and limited the other teams chances. The second game we won 4-2. Goals scored by Miles (2),Casey, and Cole. During the second game we were able to find our chemistry and convert good opportunities into goals. Green had to end his start in goal early because he tried to make a diving save and hit his head against the post. His afro provided cushion to his fall.

After the two tournament games we rushed back to the hotel to take a quick shower and then go to lunch at 2 at O Canecao. After lunch we went straight from the Cafe to the Porto Napoli game at Porto image image image image image image image image imageimageimageStadium. Today was Porto’s first home game so there were celebration ceremonies starting at 6:30. There were dragons, flags, and living statues. We were all excited to watch a historic soccer club play. The players of Porto were individually introduced and brought on to stage. The game was possessed very well, but both teams were not able to score and ended in a 0-0 draw. We were disappointed because neither team was able to put the ball into the net.

After the game the team went to get a midnight snack outside the stadium at a hot dog stand. They tried to overcharge Dash, but he realized and got all of his money back.

All in all it was a successful day filled with soccer.
Only 2 days left! 🙁

Written by: CB & CK

 

 

Dragons, Trophies and the other side of the Atlantic

admin | August 7th, 2015 - 7:40 pm

image imageToday we visited the FC Porto stadium (Estadio Dragao). It was a special trip for me because I am a Porto fan and had never been to the stadium. Our tour guide gave us a history on the stadium, the championships the club has won, famous players, coaches, and legacy.

In the stadium the dragon is displayed everywhere especially on the walls and trophy room. We took a trip to the field where we noticed how clean cut the grass was and how well maintained the facility was. We entered the presidential suite where you must be invited into, you cannot purchase tickets. Many of the families of the players stay here as well as the president of Portugal. We also were able to visit the media room where we learned about how the unique design of the room allows even the slightest of sound to be heard in the back of the room. Our tour concluded with a trip to the visitors locker room. We sat in the same locker room where the players of Napoli will be sitting tomorrow.

After we took a tour of the stadium we got a chance to do a yellow bus hop on hop off kind of tour. We saw lots of cool buildings and historical sites. We decided to stop at the beach where we saw many very attractive women who were very funny to converse with since we were Americans. We grabbed a bite to eat and as we were having a good time, a sudden gust of wind blew over the umbrellas making everyone spill their drinks, thankfully nobody was hurt. We left the restaurant and proceeded to the bus stop. As we were waiting we had an intense dance battle with our music and even locals joined. Thimage image image image image image image image image image image imagee unanimous winner was Dash with his amazing skills at the “whip” and “nae nae.” We headed back and finished our tour bus ride with an amazing view of the river overlooking the beautiful Porto.

In the evening, we had dinner at a local restaurant. The meal was very good and we all enjoyed it. Looking forward to getting on the field again tomorrow.

Written by GC and DC.

 

Small Town Life and Soccer Lessons

admin | August 7th, 2015 - 7:27 pm

Day 4 – August 6

“Don’t demand perfection. Demand effort.” words a great man once said.

Our Thursday began with a trip to the hometown of coach Rui, where parents had the opportunity to experience a major cultural aspect of rural Portugal in a wine tasting event. During this wine tasting, the rest of the team hiked around the town. The small town, with a population of a hundreds, was built around narrow cobblestone roads, lined with iconic red-bricked roof houses. Vineyards and trees bearing fruits like apples, oranges, peaches, also made up a part of the landscape.

After a game of futsal at the local court-different from the last time we played futsal, which ended with us almost arrested for trespassing-we headed back to the house to have one of the best meals of the trip. We filled up on freshly cooked rice, pasta, cod cakes, chicken, pork, and other foods that make up components of a Portuguese diet.

In the late afternoon, we played a competitive game against Tondela, a top academy team that plays in the first division of the Portuguese league, which consists of the top 40 teams in the country. As expected, they played a very crisp game and made very few mistakes. We managed to hang close with them for nearly the entire game, only giving up one goal on a soft foul in the box. However, they were a teaimage image image image image image imagem built to play at a top level into even the last few minutes, and they managed to net three goals in the last ten minutes of the game, a result of a slight breakdown we had mentally. In the end, we felt that the scoreline didn’t represent the game we played, as were able to hang tight with one of the top teams this country has to offer.

Written by JR and SE

 

 

Bottom to the top, Coimbra we go

admin | August 5th, 2015 - 8:48 pm

Day 3- August 5

Today, we started our morning with the usual breakfast in the hotel and took a joyful bus-ride to the city of Coimbra. In Coimbra, we walked up hills to the university, which dates back to the 12th century. Students wear capes in all black and let us take pictures with their capes on. On the campus, which overlooks the entire city, we walked to the library where 200 year old books were and we went to the prison underneath the library.

Next, we went to the museum in the city. There were many sculptures and paintings dating back hundreds of years. Most of the sculptures did not have hands because the crusaders invaded and destroyed the artwork. In addition, there were tunnels and crypts which once held dead bodies. This museum took two hours as it was very large and lots to see.

After the museum, we had our free time for a few hours where we sat down and ate. Most of the group ordered hamburgers but they did not have buns nor fries. We concluded Portugal has some of the best looking girls we have ever seen. Some of the group got gelato and waited at the rendezvous point. We bought many souvenirs, checked out more girls, and Green messed with some of the locals.
After Coimbra, we took the bus to a pro soccer game between CD Tondela vs Berkane of Morocco. The game was intense which resulted in a score of 2-1 for the home team, Tondela. Although it was a friendly, there were a few scuffles between the teams. On our way out, we saw a group of guys try to hit on a girl and immediately got rejected.

After a short ride from the game to the hotel, we had dinner and hung out for remainder of the night.

 

Written by VE and EG

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Tale of Two Halves

admin | August 5th, 2015 - 3:45 am

Day 2 was our first full day in Portugal. We woke up around 7:45; then ate a breakfast consisting of croissants, eggs, cereal, and fruit. We had a training session in Nelas at the local grass field. Afterwards, we had lunch at the hotel and left for Viseu.

In Viseu, we walked to the Old Cathedral (Se) and visited Grao Vasco museum. So far, that was the most life-changing part of our trip. The art really spoke to all the players. It told us stories of executed criminals and old kings. After that, we had free roam around the city. Soup paid a mime 3 euros to be his friend and give her a flower. Some kids went to local shops while some went to eat gelato. Steve insisted that the Snickers flavored gelato was the most life-changing part of the trip. The women in the city were beautiful, the best I have every seen. They stared at us with great awe as our American faces were to hot to handle. Everyone met up near the bus and we made the voyage (35 minutes) to the small stadium where we were playing.

The best part of the field had to be the view. There was a great view of the mountains around and the neighboring towns. We changed in the visiting locker room and played a team that was in the highest division of Portuguese youth soccer. This team was one of the top 40 teams in all of Portugal. Miles and Joe Kelly added goals and we were up 2-1 at half with Teitelbaum assisting the first one. Soup drew a penalty and He-who-must-not-be-named insisted upon taking it. He got thrown off by a dog barking in the distance 2 kilometers away, it seemed to be a dalmatian and hit the crossbar. After that, it all went downhill…

(we lost 5-2)

Written by ST and JB

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Finally there, now some soccer…

admin | August 4th, 2015 - 3:35 am

After months and months of preparation, finally we are in Portugal!

Our transportation consisted a 6 hour flight, 3 hour waiting period (waiting for the second flight), and 2 hour bus ride, and then finally a chance to lay dimage image image image imageown in our hotel, Hotel Nelas Parq. After that it was futsal (blacktop soccer), supermarket runs and the game room. JB and CB might of spent 45 minutes – 2 hours playing a single game of pool. ST could of bought a hermit crab (decided not to),and JK still hasn’t said a word.

The hotel is also in a prime location, with a public pool across the street, and our practice facilities conveniently located diagonally from our hotel. Practice last night was from 6-7:30 our time, and after we went to explore the town, and then went to sleep after a long day of both traveling and playing soccer in a foreign country. After the first day of Portugal, both MF and I contemplated the disbelief we had which stemmed from the fact that we finally were playing soccer in a foreign country, and we finally made it to Portugal.

 

Written by TB and MF.

 

 

Meet me at the cafe…poolside. 

admin | July 31st, 2015 - 9:50 am

Welcome to Nelas Piscinas Cafe. Focus 90 Select and chaperones will be spending plenty of down time here, just hanging out.

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