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Macduff Lions get The Barcelona Experience

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Macduff Lions are this week giving youngsters from the local area a taste of the Barcelona Experience. Alberto Manga, Carlos Gimeno and Juanjo Carricondo are the coaches in attendance in the Aberdeenshire town with former Hearts and Inverness CT player, Juanjo. 

The players involved get a full Barcelona Experience kit which is designed by Nike, medals and also autographs/photos with Alberto Manga, Carlos Gimeno and Juanjo Carricondo who are all former players of the Camp Nou outfit.

There will be a morning session and an afternoon session, the morning session will be for the more younger kids starting at 9:30am with the afternoon session containing older kids, the morning session is for ages 6-8 ½ with the afternoon session for ages 9-12/13 year olds.

The Barcelona Experience provides specialised training and opportunities based on the learnings of the coaches during their time at FC Barcelona. They teach the Methodology learned at Barcelona teaching children around the world how to develop into a smarter player playing the Barcelona way.

Alberto Manga is no stranger to the Aberdeenshire town having made a visit to Macduff already back in February to deliver a session to the kids in the local area in what was sub-zero temperatures, Alberto and his coaches have certainly took the sun with them this time around though.

Stuart Gray, a coach at Macduff Lions and a former player at Ross County and Hibernian said, “The whole concept of the week is to give kids football and the point is as a parent I was fed up having to travel to things so the closest camp I have been to is Inverurie that would benefit not only the kids but also coaches as well who can pick up stuff from UEFA Pro Licence holders.

“As a club we aren’t looking to get anything out of it, I am looking to see kids have a week of football experience that they haven’t had before, for Macduff Lions we are gaining a lot of exposure with Alberto, Carlos and Juanjo coming across however the ultimate aim is to give the kids an experience they haven’t had before.

“The basis of the morning sessions is a lot of game related work which Juanjo and his team have put together where there is a lot of ball work and game related stuff before the afternoon sessions are more technical and that is just based on the age groups that we have had, the ultimate aim though is the fun.

“We have an excellent 4G facility on our doorstep which is two minutes from my house, we had Alberto across in February and this is what we should be using these facilities for, they are primed for these kind of activities.

“It’s certainly brought something different to here, we ran a session where Alberto was across in February and the kids enjoyed it regardless of the sub zero temperatures, it was snowing and -5 degrees but there wasn’t one kid who stepped out of the session and everybody was engaged and that is the biggest winner for these camps that everyone is engaged from the start to the very end, the sessions are set up in a small but discreet way and the kids are on the ball the whole session."

Juanjo also spoke to Youth Football Scotland and he said: “The weather since we have arrived here has been spot on, British football is attacking football, very quick and we are trying to give the kids the opportunities that they would be brought up as a kid in Barcelona so we are working on more possession, keeping the ball and also players moving into free areas.

“Macduff is a beautiful area, there is nearly 200 kids here this week and Stuart Gray alongside his other coaches do a great job to promote their area, every day is going to be different in our sessions however they will be specific towards the FC Barcelona way, the main priority is the kids enjoy their football.

“I played for Hearts and Inverness and also played in England for two years, the players in Scotland are very passionate and I love the way they love their football and it’s a different way about thinking of football as we are taught a different way in Spain."

David Reid | YFS North Region Journalist
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