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Saints Southwest in Barcelona - Football in Catalonia

When business and football combine, magic happens. Saints Southwest Coaches Mark, Mike, Niall and Tom embarked on a memorable journey to Barcelona, a city where the passion for football runs deep, where learning and culture meets on the pitch. This adventure was filled with insightful experiences, transferable skills and a taste of Spanish culture that will forever shape our perspective on the beautiful game.

Day 1: Arrival and Immersion

Our journey began on Wednesday where we flew from Bristol to the footballing mecca that is Barcelona. After landing late in the evening, we checked into our hotel and headed to sleep, eager to explore the city’s rich footballing history and contemporary culture in the morning.

Day 2: A Glimpse into FC Badalona’s World

Thursday was certainly a day to remember as we visited FC Badalona, a local spanish club that competes in the Tercera Federacion. Our first stop was the iconic Estadio Municipal de Badalona, where we were warmly welcomed by the local staff.

Estadio Municipal de Badalona

The stadium tour was a fascinating journey through the history of FC Badalona, walking the same paths of many Spanish players including Rodrygo (Real Madrid) and Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) and soaking in the atmosphere of this historical ground that left an indelible mark on all of us. It was an eye opening experience to have access to training sessions led by enthusiastic Spanish coaches and making lots of notes of transferable skills to implement into our own coaching journeys.

We then spent the evening exploring the city and soaking up the culture through music, food and scenery as we enjoyed some tapas in the city centre.

Day 3: A Meeting of Minds

Friday was dedicated to learning from the best in the business. We visited the head office of 360Player in Spain, a renowned player development platform that we work very closely with here at Saints Southwest. We had a meeting with Gerard Trives Guardiola, the head methodologist at FC Barcelona. The exchange of ideas and the discussion of best practices in Spanish football provided us with invaluable insights that we can bring back to England and implement within Saints Southwest.

Gerard Trives Guardiola (Middle Right)

Coaches Mark, Mike, Tom and Niall.

Day 4: La Masia - The Heart of Youth Development at FC Barcelona

Saturday was a day filled with awe and inspiration as we had the privilege of visiting La Masia, FC Barcelona’s famous youth academy. Gerard Trives Guardiola guided us through the state-of-the-art facilities, allowing us to witness firsthand the Barcelona way of football.

La Masia, FC Barcelona

In addition to the tour, we had the

unique opportunity to watch Barcelona’s Under 12, Under 14 and Under 19 sides in action. The dedication and skill on display were a testament to the club's commitment to nurturing talent.

We then headed back to our hotel for a meeting to discuss plans to bring our Saints Southwest Academy teams to Spain in 2024, offering our young talents the chance to experience the Spanish football culture up close.

As if the day couldn’t get any better, we headed back to FC Badalona to watch their Under 19 team face Espanyol in a league match. The sight of these talented youngsters battling it out in front of thousands of passionate fans was a sight to behold.

FC Badalona U19 Vs Espanyol U19

Cultural Delights:

Our journey wasn’t just about football. We immersed ourselves in Spanish culture, savouring the local cuisine, taking in the sights of Barcelona and appreciating the vibrancy of the city. The fusion of football and culture made our trip truly unforgettable.

The Saints Southwest Business Trip to Barcelona was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that enriched our knowledge, broadened our horizons and deepened our love for the beau

tiful game. From the rich history of FC Badalona to the world-class youth development at La Masia, our trip was a testament to the global power of football.

We return to England with not just memories but also an arsenal of ideas and techniques that will undoubtedly elevate our work at Saints Southwest. Barcelona, with its footballing legacy and vibrant culture, has left and indelible mark on us, inspiring us to continue to strive for excellence in all our endeavours.

Stay tuned for more tales of football, culture and adventures from the Saints Southwest team.

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