For the past three weeks, our family had listened to the constant mumble of “when is soccer going back?”
With the last season having only recently ended, I just knew it was going to be a long Summer with no soccer in our lives.
Not a moment too soon, it arrived in the letter box.
The brochure in itself was enough to lift the mood and bring some soccer cheer back into the house.
With a program based on proven Barcelona Football Club methodology, the Adelaide United Football Club promised to be a great opportunity.
An opportunity not to be missed.
Jalen, an Under 12 keen midfielder could not wait to start the 20 weeks of intensive training, guided by the best footballers in Adelaide.
‘I can’t wait, this is going to be awesome,’ he said.
He did not need to wait long.
Before we knew it, the day of the first training session had arrived.
We were not sure what to expect, but knew it was a youth soccer player’s dream program.
We pulled up at the pitch to see young football hopefuls out in full force for the start of the Adelaide United Football School.
After being split into small groups to allow for high intensity and quality coaching, they were under way.
Jalen teamed up with key striker, Bruce Djite and he could not be happier.
How awesome for the kids, shaking hands and being shown the ropes by local legends.
Within the first half hour, Bruce and the kids were on first name basis.
Just Bruce calling these kids by name, you could see the joy in their eyes.
United’s head coach, Josep Gombau lead by wonderful example, rolling up his sleeves and getting in there with the kids.
Most of the A-league team were out on the pitches lending a hand during the session, offering advice and encouragement to all.
It was a great show of team spirit and you could tell the excitement between the players and trainers was mutual.
After 90 minutes of drills, tricks and a scratch match, it was almost time to say good bye.
Once the group had huddled around, one keen player asked for a juggling demo.
Bruce was all too happy to show the kids a few tricks.
After handshakes and goodbyes to all, it was time to ask for the ultimate “selfie”.
And that was me not the kids!
After my brush with fame, I snapped a great picture of Jalen with Bruce.
‘You’ve got a great kid there,’ said Mr Djite.
During the ride home, Jalen posted the picture straight to Instagram.
He watched intently as more and more ‘likes’ came through.
Proud as punch, and exhausted with the night’s efforts, it was bedtime.
Jalen came running through in the morning to announce Bruce had ‘liked’ his photo.
The smile on his face was priceless and certainly worth the price tag of the football school.