Star players of the National School League (NSL) were left in awe as they got a first-hand look on what it takes to become a professional footballer in their unforgettable International Training Camp in France and Turkey.
Eight budding footballers, who were specially selected after impressing in this season’s Sport360-organised competition, arrived back in the early hours of Monday from an inspiring seven-day trip in Rennes and Istanbul.
Designed to enhance their knowledge and skills on the field and step outside their comfort zones, the camp provided a fascinating insight on the challenges that come with international training.
Having flown straight to Turkey, the boys were put through their paces in an intense training session at Galatasaray’s Academy at Florya Metin Oktay Tesisleri, before an organised tour of Istanbul by Turkish Airlines.
The players then travelled more than 3,000km to Rennes where they had an exclusive tour of Stade Rennais’ 29,000-seater home stadium Roazhon Park and their training facilities.
The trip also saw them get an understanding on how the club’s youngsters train on a daily basis by staying three nights at the Ligue 1 club’s boarding academy, including training sessions for two days.
Prior to their departure from Rennes, the group were also fortunate to watch a Ligue 1 match live in the 1-1 draw between Lorient and Angers at Stade du Moustoir.
James Aubrey, 12, who starred for Dubai English Speaking College, said the trip was a great learning experience. “I learnt many things especially the desire from players on how to win the ball as well as how much they cared about the game.”
Tony Paul of Our Own Indian School echoed Aubrey’s view.
“It was great to get a first-hand experience on how professional football in Europe works,” he said.
“It wasn’t just about football, we also had time to visit the city and amusement parks and for sure, I feel like I have come back as a better player. It has taught me on what areas I need to improve on and how much work I need to put in to play at the top level.”
Landry Chauvin, academy director of Stade Rennais was impressed with what he saw.
“It was fantastic to have the top eight players from the NSL come train and stay with our youth players in the academy,” he said.
“They all really impressed and most importantly, they were all well disciplined with their training and
Matt Burn, sports events manager at Sport360, added: “The trip was a big success. Thank you to Turkish Airlines for giving this opportunity to talented footballers.”