Young Champs conclude successful trips to Italy and Japan!
RF Young Champs U14s and U15s recently went on exposure trips to Japan and Italy over the Diwali break.
The U 14s travelled to Fukuoka and stayed at the Global Arena, where they played against local high school and academy teams.
Their games included draws against Hibiki (U 16), where they drew 3-3, FC Global (U 15), where they dew 2-2, and Sagan Tosu (U 15 J1), where they drew 2-2 again.
While games against Avispa Fukuokana (U 15 J1) and FC Global (U 15) resulted in 4-1 and 3-1 losses, games against Fukuokana (U 14) and Giravan Kitakyushu (U 15 J3) were resounding 1-5 and 1-6 wins!
Reflecting on the trip, coach Arnold Danthi said “The trip was a great exposure for our players. They had first hand experience in playing in a different Asian culture, and we got to see how we match up in comparison. The people of Japan and the organisers were very helpful, & Mr. Stefan, Hamada-san, Kuroyama-san and Akane-san in particular were always eager to help out wherever needed.
A special thank you to Arata Izumi for always being available on call and regularly following up with us and being a great help to us throughout!”
Our U 15s, meanwhile, were having a great time in Italy. Heading to the Rome, our players had the chance to train and play with some of the top youth and local teams in Italy.
Initial fears about the players’ ability to deal with the weather (3 - 5 degrees celcius!) were quickly put to rest as the players got used to their surroundings quickly.
“We were in a beautiful facility, surrounded by the mountains on one side and the valley on the other. We really felt a family atmosphere at the Villa Grancassa, and they took great care of all of the boys.” said Coach Devan Daniel
“The games themselves were competitive and eye-opening. Playing against local teams Cassino Calcio & AS Villalba (0-1 and 0-2 wins respectively) allowed us to see how we have benefitted from the facilities we have back home, which are not the norm, even in Europe. But playing against semi-professional and top level teams like Lazio (8-1 loss) reminded us that we still have a long way to go. But we’ll get there!”
Aside from playing football, the Young Champs also had a chance to watch the Italian National Team take on North Macedonia. The game was a first live international game for a few of our players.
The trip was a great experience for all involved. Coach Devan believes this experience will hold them in good stead in the years to come. “Going to a new reality, not knowing who they face, and even losing by some big scorelines was an important learning for our boys. But I’m glad to say that they still dealt with all of it really well. In the end, our team is a lot closer together, and our children have had a valuable experience and created some fantastic memories!”