JFA Academy Imabari conduct first tour of Spain in three years
04 October 2022
JFA Academy Imabari conducted an overseas tour to Barcelona, Spain, from 20 to 28 September. This tour was held for the first time in three years, involving 15 players, 12 from the academy’s sixth class (junior high school students) and three players selected from the Shikoku region.
During the tour, the team played three training matches against local teams of a higher age category (U-18), experiencing the size and physical strength of foreign players and also having the opportunity to train with Spanish coaches, exposing them to a variety of different strategical perspectives. After the match, the players were seen actively communicating with the local players.
Off the pitch, the players made a conscious effort to make use of their knowledge they had acquired regarding long travels and adapting to local diets. The players also had the opportunity to watch a Spanish Women's League match, visit Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou, where they were exposed to local activities and culture.
We are grateful for the support and cooperation of many people who made this tour possible, and we will use this experience for further growth in the future.
Academy Players’ Comments
OKIDOI Nozomi, (6th Class/Fukuyama Rosas Ladies)
I was happy to take part in this tour to Spain, which I had wanted to do since my first year. Firstly, in terms of football, I enjoyed playing against many teams and found many challenges. When playing against players who are bigger than you, it is important to reduce contact with your opponent and to receive the ball while moving rather than being stationary. Off the pitch, I was able to meet a lot of Spanish people and made a lot of football friends. I was happy to be able to visit Camp Nou, which I wanted to go to for a long time. I would like to thank my family, the staff and all the people who made it possible for me to go on this tour. I am grateful and will continue to do my best to become a better player.
MATSUI Ibuki, (6th Class/Freia FC)
I was able to find many achievements and challenges through this tour of Spain. In terms of achievements, I managed to communicate a lot off the pitch. For example, I was able to talk to the opponents in Spanish after the game, and I was able to use English when we were shopping or eating out. One of the challenges I faced was that I often lost the ball in a physical duel. In order to avoid this, I need to make my move before making contact with the opponent. It reminded me of the need to be aware of my surroundings before receiving the ball and to improve the quality of my ball control under pressure. I hope to make use of all the things I have learnt in this tour and continue to strive to become a better player to achieve my dream.
UEMURA Rei, (6th Class/Kochi Gakuen Kochi Junior High School)
Through the matches against the Spanish teams, I found one area where I did well and one area where I needed to work on. One thing I think I did well was to defend tenaciously. The Spanish players were really tall and so much stronger than us, but I think we were able to play with persistence, especially in one-on-one situations. The area we need to improve is in the final third. There were so many scenes where we could have scored a goal, so we need to raise the overall quality of our passes and shots. We also saw plenty of scenes where the players from both sides showed a lot of respect towards each other. I am grateful to have had such a wonderful experience as a junior high school student, and I hope to make the most of this experience and continue to work hard towards my dreams.
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