Lewes Old Grammar School (LOGS) footballers were given the opportunity to fulfil their sporting dreams, as they travelled to Spain to train with the professionals at Villarreal.
Thirty-eight pupils from Years 8 and 9 went toe-to-toe with players at the UEFA Europa League squad’s training ground, where Villarreal stars have previously prepared to take on giants such as Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Staying in Valencia, students were given unprecedented access to the squad’s training facilities, which include five astro turf pitches, two grass pitches, and a mini stadium.
Spending their mornings training with top Villarreal coaches, students then battled it out against local teams in a series of contentious 11-a-side fixtures. With Spanish youth typically playing football and training at least three times a week, LOGS pupils were up against stiff competition but managed to secure one victory.
During the trip, students also had the chance to tour other football stadiums, including Estadio de la Cerámica and Valencia CF’s home, Mestalla Stadium.
The excursion marks Lewes Old Grammar School’s second football-themed away trip, after students trained with the top-flight FC Porto last year.
Murray Heywood, Faculty Head of PE and Games, said: “Trips like these take a lot of planning but it’s always worth it when we see how much the children get from the experience. Everyone was inspired by seeing professional football facilities up close, learning from first-class coaches, and playing tense games against local teams. I think we all returned to England with a renewed passion for football.”