Sigma's U10 squad are heading to Holland for a 10-day tour that the coaches hope will be as educational as it will be inspirational.
The boys, the majority born in 2001 and who were assembled from the Sigma ETC Program development groups, will be the youngest traveling team at Sigma FC this year. They will be following a tried and true routine established by the Sigma coaches over the years.
The team will use the usual home base in Akersloot (halfway between Amsterdam and Alkmaar), and have games scheduled with Dutch professional sides Feyenoord, Sparta Rotterdam and FC Volendam, and also Belgian top club; Club Brugge. As well, there will be matches with amateur clubs ADO '20 and Forresters (affiliate clubs of AZ Alkmaar who doesn't have a team of their own at this age).
In addition, the boys will have training sessions with AZ Alkmaar youth coaches and will make two visits to the famed De Toekomst (Ajax youth academy), to meet various personalities (players/coaches), watch training and matches etc.
For some of the players, it will be the first time that they have stayed away from their parents, and for Sigma Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis, it is a chance to teach the boys what he calls "the culture of soccer."
"The biggest lesson when we take these teams on trips is not so much the soccer itself, the soccer serves to give them the experience," he said. "It puts them in a professional atmosphere, and they can see what kids their age are doing in a well organized professionally run club and hopefully they will see that they are not as far off from what they are doing."
"Beyond that, we are teaching the culture of soccer," he explained. "It's about how they act as a team. They are among themselves for breakfast lunch dinner, the training and the games."
"It's quite an experience, especially when you get to do it at a young age,"said Smyrniotis. It gives them the foundation going forward."
The team departs on March 14th and returns return on March 24th.