Sound FC B2010 European Summer Adventure 2023
The Sound FC B2010 team had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Europe this summer and participate in the Donosti Cup in San Sebastian (Donostia), Spain. It was a fabulous experience and enjoyed by both players and families during the fifteen day bus tour coordinated by European Soccer Solutions. The program consisted of several days exploring parts of Spain prior to arriving in San Sebastian for the tournament. The Donosti Cup is the largest youth soccer tournament in Spain and one of the largest in all of Europe with over 800 teams from over 20 countries.
The boys played games against teams from Spain (TPE Academy, Lantaron CD and Kostkas A) and one against a team from Portugal (Sao Joao de Brito College) after an amazing opening ceremony at Real Sociedad’s (La Liga) Stadium similar to the opening ceremony of the Olympics highlighted by a parade of teams and fireworks display. We were fortunate enough to be joined by four local guest players from the San Sebastian area who presented our team with jerseys from their club, Zarautz KE. We returned the favor by leaving the retired Adidas kits with the boys to distribute to their teammates. The boys had a couple of tough losses and a hard fought draw in the group stages before losing in the consolation bracket. The games were held at a variety of local stadiums in small towns in Basque country, each with its own flavor and special setting.
Beyond the tournament, there were several memorable moments for the group. The night of our arrival in Spain, the boys ended up playing pick-up beach soccer against a team from Portland in Calella de Palafrugell, a beautiful seaside town northeast of Barcelona on the Balearic Sea. After one tournament game, we enjoyed a quick trip across the border into France and spent a few hours in the seaside town of Biarritz. Many families spent evenings in San Sebastian sharing pintxos (a Basque version of tapas), ice cream and laughs.
Another highlight was a tour of FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium. While the stadium is undergoing renovations, the families were still able to enjoy the visitor center area and see the inspiring trophy rooms. On display were the five Champions League trophies, too many La Liga trophies to count and all of the other photos, trophies and team memorabilia. There was an entire section dedicated to Messi and the team store was a hit for all. After the tour, many families visited the famous La Sagrada Familia cathedral while others walked Las Ramblas Boulevard and had lunch in La Boqueria Food Market.
We also enjoyed time in the tiny mountain town of Ainsa, where the players, siblings and some parents experienced a Canyoning Expedition in the Pyrenees Mountains, a lunch stop in Burgos and two nights in Toledo (an hour south of Madrid).
Lifelong memories were created, hundreds of pictures of our adventure made it home. The Sound FC players enjoyed a experience of a lifetime and got to learn, first hand, the level of play, skill and fitness that players from around the world possess.
A special thanks to the ESS staff and management including Todd Stauber (CEO, SPU Soccer Alum), and especially to Carlos Castellanos, who was our team guide, for making this journey one that we will never forget.