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Congratulations to Soccer Star David
Wednesday, Dec 2019 4:24 PM
Congratulations to David on his selection to train with world football giant club Sport Lisboa e Benfica (S.L. Benfica) in Portugal.
In June this year, while on holidays with my family, I was accepted to a football training camp by world football giant club Sport Lisboa e Benfica (S.L. Benfica) in Portugal. As a result, I was offered a position in the Benfica international squad – a Benfica team made up of players identified outside Portugal, at their football development and training campus, Caixa Futebol Campus.
Benfica is one of the largest football clubs in the world (won 2 UEFA Champions leagues) and one of the top 3 in terms of young player development. I was integrated in the club’s academy and living on campus, with 2 to 3 hours of supervised (by multilingual tutors) study and schoolwork time set aside each weekday.
My experience at S.L. Benfica was a once in a lifetime opportunity as a football player, over the Two weeks at S.L Benfica I had full access to all gyms equipment at Caixa Futebol Campus, where Benfica’s 1st team and all other senior and other youth teams train and live (youth only) including the 360 lab (a computer analysis automated football training machine facility), my 20/30 m sprint and squat jump were tested and I would be training every day at least twice a day and playing top level clubs such as Estoril Praia and others around Portugal . The biggest challenge was that we were not playing our own age (u16), we played the ages between u17-u21. Some of the results were very good (8-1) and some did not go our way (1-4). On the days when we did not have a game to play, we would do match analysis and train twice a day and the training would always be at a high effort and intensity level. I would always push myself to the max, and if you got injured, you were treated on the spot - we always had two physios on hand that were also chiros. An experience I had never had before was injury prevention lectures and sessions. This is when you do lots of stretching and core work for 1-2 hours every second day.
These are some of the many ways S.L Benfica ensure they are successful and well known for producing world class players. The position I was playing over the 2 weeks was a holding midfielder (6). I would control the game from the back and distribute the ball and lead the attack from the back. In the five games I played I was able to achieve six assists, but unfortunately was not able to put the ball in the back of the net.
The whole experience was incredible, in terms of advancing my football aspirations and personal development. I feel I left a much better player and much more mature and improved as a person and made a lot of new friends from around the world in the process.
So, what is the next step? If I am good enough, I will be one of 5 players selected to attend a further 4-week stint with the Benfica academy in March/April 2020. I hope and pray that I will be selected and invited back again, and at some stage am given the opportunity to move on to be a full Benfica youth player.
Everyday I am positive and work hard to improve my football and every facet of myself. With hard work, diligence, humility and faith I am sure I will make it.
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