Just one day after arriving in Spain, the id2 National Selection had its first matches on Feb. 19, playing a combined match against RCD Espanyol and UE Cornellà. In a pair of 40-minute contests, the team earned a split, dropping the first game to UE Cornellà 2-1 before defeating RCD Espanyol 1-0.
On Feb. 21, the team notched an impressive 3-1 victory over FC Barcelona at the club’s official training complex, Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Two days later, the team dropped a 2-1 decision to Atlético Madrid at Ciudad del Fútbol in Las Rozas, the headquarters of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), the governing body of soccer in Spain. The competition portion of the schedule was completed with a scrimmage against C.F. Rayo Majadahonda on Feb. 25.
In addition to the team’s four matches and one scrimmage, the id2 National Selection had the chance to experience professional soccer in Spain. The team attended two La Liga matches, watching Lionel Messi score four goals to lead FC Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Valencia CF at L’Estadi Camp Nou, and seeing FC Barcelona win at Atlético Madrid 2-1 later in the week.
During its 10 days in Spain, the squad visited FC Barcelona’s L'Estadi Camp Nou, Atlético Madrid’s Estadio Vicente Calderon, and Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Away from the soccer field, the players were able to take in the culture of Spain, with extensive opportunities to experience the cities of Barcelona and Madrid.
“This year’s id2 National Selection International Tour was wonderful in that we visited some of the cathedrals of modern soccer in Barcelona and Madrid,” said Gerry McKeown, US Club Soccer’s id2 Boys’ Program Director. “Not only are these great soccer destinations, but culturally they are pretty special places to be and I think the players enjoyed both aspects. They played in some games where they were challenged, but these challenges show them what it takes to be a young professional.”
Joining the squad as a member of the traveling party was U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor Juan Carlos Michia. Numerous former members of the id2 National Selection team have earned invitations into U.S. U-14 Boys’ National Team Camps in the months immediately following past tours, including multiple players who made their first appearance at a U.S. Soccer camp.
The id2 National Selection included 18 male players born in 1998 selected from the fall 2011 id2 Regional Training Camps. Consistent with US Club Soccer’s philosophy that identification and development should be free to players, the organization funded the trip in conjunction with the strong support of Nike; there was no cost to the players.
Full roster: Harry Adanuty (CASL), Christian Albelo (TSV Aimicita Vierheim 1906/09), Danny Barbir (PDA), George Braima (Columbus Crew), Chaz Burnett (PDA), Jonathan Navarro (PAC Atlas), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls), A.J. Palazzolo (St. Louis Scott Gallagher), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic), Juan Riley (Weston FC), Chad Sahinkaya (Dallas Texans), Kevin Silva (PDA), John Skahan (Sunrise FC), Raheem Taylor-Parkes (Brandon FC), Suniel Veerakone (Michigan Wolves), Andrew Verdi (FC Delco)