When F.C. Global heads to Spain next summer for the Donosti Cup, David Boyd will once again be part of the trip. After spending time at UK Elite running the residential camps, Boyd wanted to get out and travel and took on the role of overseeing the annual F.C. Global trip. We caught up with him after a recruiting trip in the U.K. to discuss what makes F.C. Global special.
Q: What is it about the F.C. Global experience that makes you want to continue being a part of it year after year.
David Boyd: I used to run all of our residential camps, and I was stuck in the office during the summer. I’m a bit of a traveler so it was one of those things where I was keen to get on the tour and the travel side of things. Being a former teacher and doing lots of school trips I just think that yes, the soccer is the main thing that everyone comes for, but the whole socialization aspect for the kids and parents to see another country and play against teams and players from another country. The game is different over there. It’s a great opportunity to go abroad and play against people from other countries.
Q: How are the coaches selected to make the trip with F.C. Global?
DB: There’s always no shortage of coaches wanting to attend the trip, but it’s almost a reward for doing a good job not only one year but two, three, four years. It’s come to a point where we’re only selecting the very best staff to make the trip.
Q: What does the Donosti Cup do to separate it from other events players may see in the U.S. or even some of the other international events?
DB: I think it’s the trip in general. Most of the people we talk to they want to go to either Spain or Italy. Apart from the tournament is going to Madrid and Barcelona, two of the iconic cities in Spain. We get to do training sessions in Barcelona before the tournament begins. And we get to see Barcelona’s stadium, we do the tour there, and we also do the tour of Real Madrid’s stadium. Getting to the tournament itself, it’s in the north of Spain in San Sebastian so it’s a little cooler so there are excellent playing conditions. We actually get to do some of the tournament games at Real Sociedad’s first team’s training facility up in the mountains which is spectacular.
Q: What would you say are some of the main goals the coaches have during the FC Global trip since it’s sort of a unique blend of players from all over?
DB: When they arrive, the biggest task of our coaches is to try, during the two or three training sessions they have with the team, to see what they have talent wise, position wise and try to mold them into a team. We want to give them some tactical knowledge so they can hit the ground running going into the tournament and see how they can compete with these teams from Spain, Italy and France and all the other teams we play against. The main goal is to mold them into a team as quickly as we can before the tournament starts.
Q: What opportunities are there for the coaches and players to learn tactics from other countries by going to an international tournament like this?
DB: It’s not only the coaches but the players as well. When you go to a tournament in Spain and you’re playing a lot of Spanish teams, the Spanish referees referee to the way the Spanish teams play, and that’s very different to the style of soccer the American teams play. The coaches that have been before will pick up on that and discuss it with the players before the tournament begins. The style of American soccer is athletic, quick, strong and organized, but the European teams focus on possession, playing short passes and individual technique. It’s almost a clash of styles, and the coaches and players have to be aware of that.
Q: If you were talking to a player that was on the fence about joining F.C. Global, what would be one highlight you’d share to encourage them to make the trip?
DB: For most people it’s the trip of a lifetime. You might only get one chance to ever play a sport in a foreign country against foreign teams. It’s one of those things that once you experience it, you’ll look back at it fondly years later because it’s such an amazing experience. It’s not just the soccer point of view but getting to meet players from foreign countries. When it comes to the opening ceremonies, you walk into the stadium and there are thousands and thousands of people there. It’s like the Olympics.