Today the Academy teams had their first training session of the week. The rain has finally stopped, but the training grounds are still overflowing with rainwater, so the coaches had to rent a small indoor soccer facility that is normally used as a Futsal court.
Because this club – like basically all of the clubs in Uruguay – has a very tight budget, the coaches were not actually able to confirm the location of the field until around 1:00 in the afternoon (3 hours prior to the start of training) and, since they had never been to the facility before, they did not know the exact dimensions or any other specifications of the field either.
Interestingly, the coaching staff was still able to plan and execute a very well-organised and professional training session, despite these potential setbacks. On a field measuring just 23 metres long by 12 metres wide, they went through a full dynamic warm-up, technical passing combinations, a 4v4v4 group defending exercise, and a small-sided counter-attacking game. The players were motivated and trained with intensity, and it was a very productive session for them.
Travelling to a country like this and experiencing its soccer culture really makes you realise how much is taken for granted in Canada. In Uruguay, there are any number of reasons for the coaches to cancel or halfheartedly run their training sessions, and an equal number of reasons for players to do the same.
But they show up, they improvise, and they get their job done.
Tomorrow, Farzad and I will work our first match providing performance monitoring and analysis to the Academy U19 Team when they take on Nacional University of Montevideo. I can’t wait to get started!