We returned home after our long trek from Cavaion, Italy by luxury bus to Milan’s Malpensa Airport. This was 3 hours after we boarded at 5:30am from a pleasant stay at our Hotel Al Sole.

10 hours and 8620 miles after, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean to land at Miami Airport. The American Airlines flight 1082 taxied to the exclusive section, we glimpsed a Caribbean Airlines plane going in the opposite direction. Home was close as everyone is thankful for the opportunity to play in Italy but now missing home and family.

Miami airport of Immigration and Security processing was tedious at best, down right frustrating, and worse really with a group of youngsters rushing for a flight. They cannot spoil what has been a great experience however, nor the joy of getting home; these thoughts instantly removed the blur.

The last leg of under 2 hours flew by so quickly, as we were descending at Palisadoes to have bags collected and meet the smiling faces of family. Hugs, kisses, smiles of joy and longing embraces said it all. Gratitude and handshakes gave way to cars picking up group members, as plans to meet next Saturday morning at 9am are agreed after rest.

Ciao!

The big day was here! The Bandalino Tournament began at the crack of dawn, as we are on time and ready to go after hearing the rules and conditions of play. Continue Reading →

Day 7:

Focused on rest, relaxation, and recovery as we got ready for the tournament on Saturday, we stayed in for an early technical meeting after breakfast. Some parents traveled to Verona, others went to the APPI Mall to get souvenirs, gifts and supplies as laundry was returned.

Six clubs arrived at the hillside Complex for a 4:30pm tournament, comprised of two zones of three clubs each playing twice for 25 minutes. Everyone played in both games as a good contest ensued across the board. Clubs like Liverpool, Bardolino, Helsinki, Debrichen Hungary, Bromma, and of course, HVFC. Cold rain brought a successful afternoon for all to an end, to meet, greet and play the games.

A technical meeting was held at the luxurious Bardolino Hotel, where all 24 clubs converged for the press launch, rules, and presentation packages. The tournament cup was on display and the community hotel training school charity was awarded and recognized by the organizers.

The boys went to bed early as the tournament kicks off at 9am when we are scheduled to play on field one against Bayern Munich.

Last night we had mixed fortunes with the availability of buses and a driver, so we had to cancel both our practice match and the historic tour of Verona. Continue Reading →

A more-than-full day of double sessions in training was enjoyed yesterday, plus watching the Champions League game where Real Madrid won over Bayern Munich late into the night at 11pm, meant the little guys were all worn out. A few overslept past the breakfast meeting wake up call to be awoken by their teammates.

5 adults took off at 7am, bound for a tour in Rome to return later in the night. As we know, our last set of supporters, including a player and family members, departed Jamaica and England respectively today to swell our numbers to 41.

At breakfast, everyone was behaved as expected. There was a light drizzle outside, which meant cooler conditions inside each room. Rest was planned for this morning, and the 10am technical meeting reviewed the Real Madrid game victory.

Parents were free to schedule alternative activities as kids relaxed through lunch, ahead of 3:30pm training up the hill. After the afternoon session completed, we descended the hillside to enjoy our 7pm dinner.

We played a team guessing game in the lobby to predict who will win and what would be the exact score in the UEFA Champions League semifinal return match between Roma hosting Liverpool FC, in Rome, Italy. All the squad members registered there preferred scoreline with Mummy Nadria in writing as the game began at a brisk pace. Like last night, an early goal kick-started the contest as Liverpool’s Mane notched one in in the fifth minute. Two more first half goals were converted to really warm up the proceedings, as LFC led 2-1 at halftime. The jubilant squad were more than satisfied as Roma equalised early in the second half, but most players were losing out with their guesses. Nainggolan’s 86th minute Roma stunner virtually ended the contest as all guesses were deemed null and void. The boys argued amongst themselves while rejoicing in the Liverpool victory. Still, a later penalty was awarded in the 90th plus 3 minutes to be slammed home; Roma 4-2, but not enough to force extra time as it ended in favour of Liverpool 7-6.

Game concluded, bedtime called. Tomorrow is another day.

4 adults were the early risers who made arrangements from the night before to travel 4 hours by train to the waterway town of ancient Venice. Continue Reading →

Monday and Tuesday are two public holidays here, so limited commercial activities and a lot more leisurely emphasis is practised. Continue Reading →

Most of the group rested well and were up for a team meeting and breakfast at 8am in the dining room. At 10am, we were scheduled to depart for the visit to the town of Bardolino, about 5km away, where the tournament is to be played. Continue Reading →

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