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Clubs from the American Soccer League look to push their brightest and best to
find a footing in the beautiful game. In 2016, the Philadelphia Fury took part
in a tour of Spain. This trip took place post-season, departing the U.S. in late
November. Alongside guest teammates from other ASL sides, the team took a 10-day
trip, the Fury took part against three Spanish CF sides; Elche, Alicante and
Each posed an exciting and technical challenge for the players, with two losses and a win to come home with.
In the first match against Elche, after arriving in Spain 13 hours earlier, midfielder Real One scored the goal for the Fury, with Elche strikers netting three goals from set plays. The Fury responded with two shots off the bar and two shots rebounding of the woodwork. The pipes were not friendly to the Fury, resulting a 3-1 win for the home side.
Playing against Alicante in the second match, the Fury took an impressive 2-0 lead into the third match, with Ryan Butler and Dodji Freitas finding the back of the net. The Fury was impressive in a game that could have seen them score more of their chances.
The match against Benidorm, a 4-2 loss, was very close with a goal disallowed and a free kick by Luke Finklestien hitting the woodwork. Ryan Butler and Travis Blair scored one each to conclude an exciting tour for the boys.
Matt Driver, the Fury Owner, heaped praise on the team after the event had concluded, It is extremely exciting for these boys to get the chance to play foreign professional opposition over seas. These are the showcase opportunities and experience we want to give to them through the ASL.”
Russel Pointon, owner of Benidorm FC played a very big part on the planning and arranging the tour and was the perfect host. Other members of the team were equally impressed with the standard and the opportunity. Kyle Nuel of the Fury also spoke to us, telling us that Training sessions before the trip became even more
intense and everyone’s attitudes were extremely positive. Once we were there, we played the best soccer we ever have… All in all, I would say it was a very positive trip and an experience that many of us will carry with us forever.
Following the successful conclusion of the three-match tour, which saw the Fury score in each match, four players have begun talks with Benidorm. If successful, this could see these players possibly be sold or loaned to the Spanish based club. As part of the overall aim of the tour, this helps to show that the ASL has access to the quality and consistency of talent expected at this level. By playing on a level field with their Spanish counterparts, this speaks volumes of the growing quality within the ASL at present. With the aim of the ASL to always help younger players move on and find a position within the sport either in the United States or abroad, this shows that success can be achieved by those looking to find space in European soccer.
The success of this tour has seen the ASL take on further plans for more tours and trials for players in the years to come. The ASL plans to now host an ASL All-Star side to take place in both Spring and Fall 2017 sessions abroad.
With the success of this tour, and with some of the players potentially moving to Europe to begin an exciting new chapter, such tours are worth being involved in for these first year professional players with the ambition to succeed.