last long full day on tour and lots of memories still to be made. After early breakfast a light training session at the Heden fields which went very well followed by some free time to work on things individually or just play.
Amazing how much the kids have improved with their skill and thought process. Most of them have no idea on how much of a better player they are but we as coaches were discussing it last night and Wow what a difference. Wish we could have taken all of our teams on a tour such as this as all benefit tremendously. Also their off the field conduct has also improved as they are much more aware of surroundings and take our life as Americans a little more seriously now than before we left on tour. Small things like walking, crossing busy intersections, loud behaviour in public places, and just a more general awareness of surroundings. Sometimes we rush through life too much and our canal ride yesterday really made a lot of us realize how beautiful nature and our surroundings can be. I know, I know, if you ask any of the kids what I am talking about they will give you a look of disbelief but some of our conversations we have had with them would have shocked most of you. The things we take for granted are much more in bold these days. Mom taking us to the store rather than walking a few miles or taking public trains and busses. Waffles and eggs for breakfast rather than corn flakes and bread, although some of the kids might enjoy the latter more now than before. Lack of computers and TV's have made the kids work harder to amuse themselves and playing cards or simply talking with each other have been great substitutes.
I am confident that the kids will never watch a soccer game without breaking some portion of the game down. Ask them to watch a game together and you will be surprised at what they can show you. Taking the breakdown and analysis and then applying them to their games is the hardest thing but they are asking questions about tactics and what to do in situations that as coaches we have never heard before. Seeing 32 kids bond as close as these kids have done has been quite extrordinary.
Anyway, back to the day at hand, we packed our bags and had a reminder what punctuality is again as we missed my deadline of noon to have rooms cleaned and cleared. One of the most common phrases on tour is ´what does 9 o´clock mean to you.´ After loading our bags into 2 rooms we are off to see finals, change more money, and last minute shopping as well as internet cafe. Some great games were seen capped off by Zambia´s penalty kick victory in the boys 18 final.
Now to some fun, we load the bus at 6pm and head off to Liseberg, Europes oldest amusement park, for some rides. Kids had a ball and we even caught Charles and some of his disciples sneaking Burger King. Yes, Burger King, can you believe it, and then he tried to run and told the kids to run. They blew it however when they followed him to a dead end of bushes and they were all busted. Go figure.
After Liseberg, we have an overnight bus ride to Stockholm for our flight home. Should be a fun ride as the kids are so close now they will use each other as pillows. Will do a final recap upon my return but what a great tour so far. Blessed to have such great kids.
Awards also handed out and will detail these tomorrow.