Christian Manisck, a member of the Dynamo Academy's U-16 team, is training with Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense for a month before returning to Houston. His experience could lead to future collaborations between the clubs, and Manisck will be blogging at HoustonDynamo.com throughout.
In the morning, the boys had a fitness training session. Since the game was on Saturday and there had been plenty of time to rest, the first training of each week is held without any soccer balls. This is another thing that is very proficient in Brazil: the schedule. All the schedules are available for us to read on the bulletin board, including the professional schedule. Their schedule is very similar to the academy's schedule. Just like the pros, the team is required to stay at the training center for three days prior to a match, and after a match, there are one or two days of down time for the team. In general, the first two days of the week are for physical training with the rest set aside for tactical or technical training in preparation for the upcoming game.
In the afternoon while I did rehab the boys had another fitness training session. Since the season has started with games every weekend, this would be the only fitness day of the week.
In the morning, while I did rehab, the boys had technical training. Just like the previous week, three 93s were called up to play with the junior team in a tournament aside from the main Parana tournament. CAP uses this tournament to slowly push some of the more advanced and older plays of our age group into the older age group. They do this because the tournament is much easier in the earlier phases. This gives the boys a chance to get accustomed to playing with a new team, and also these games are not as important as the weekend's games. This push of players through the age groups is something normal at CAP throughout the year, but especially at this time of year since the season is soon coming to a close. There are many young players in the first team at CAP who are direct products of the Academies. A few examples are Manoel, 19, and Bruno Costa, 20, who both still live at the training center.
In the afternoon I had another session of rehab at the medical therapy center. This is an important aspect of the club because there is a huge investment put into these players. Since injuries happen frequently in soccer, the training center allows the club to makes sure their players are fit and get right treatment in order to come back playing 100 percent.
This would be my last day of the great experience I had at Atletico Paranaense. In the morning, the boys had training and a scrimmage against the junior team. They were set to have a game in the afternoon so the players that were not called up for the game practiced with the juvenil squad. This type of training is critical for the growth of the players since the 93s will soon be playing in the junior age group. While they had the scrimmage, I would do my last rehab session before leaving in the afternoon.
I learned a lot during my trip in Brazil. I saw the differences between developmental soccer in the U.S. and Brazil, and while youth soccer might not be as advanced in America, it is still possible for elite players to come out of our youth development system. With the knowledge I obtained while in Brazil, I will strive to be that elite player.
To whomever has been following my blog, I thank you. It has been a great experience, and I hope I was able to give you a full understanding of my experiences in Brazil. To the many players, and especially the trainers and administrative staff who received me so warmly, I would like to thank you. I hope to be able to go back to CAP and play there again in the future.