Young guns love life in Lisbon

Three Buckswood Football Academy students outside the Sporting Lisbon club coach
Three Buckswood Football Academy students outside the Sporting Lisbon club coach

The Buckswood Football Academy has returned from a four-day football development camp with Sporting Lisbon FC in Portugal.

The 22-strong academy squad representing 17 different countries travelled to the Portuguese capital and stayed at the Sporting Lisbon Academy.

The boys, whose ages range from 13 to 18, took part in daily training sessions and matches against Portuguese League One under-18 sides Alcochense and FC Amora, as well as a training game with the Sporting Lisbon u18s.

The football academy also trained at and toured the famous Stadium of Light, home of Benfica FC, and was invited to attend the biggest game in Portugal, the Lisbon derby between Benfica and Sporting, as guests of Sporting.

But the bad weather we’ve been experiencing in this country was even playing havoc in Portugal with the squad having to evacuate the stadium before kick-off due to hurricane strength winds.

Buckswood Football Academy director Jim Colston said: “The international make up of the football academy brings a breadth of playing styles you don’t find in many clubs or academies.

“We have players from Nigeria, Mexico, Chile, Germany and Montenegro to name a few. The South American game is different to the African game, so the boys in the academy have as much to learn from each other as they do from me.

“Our European training camps are an extension of this work and the boys all benefit from seeing the many different aspects that make up the football industry; from the players, physios, training staff and the business side of stadium life, merchandising and youth training etc, there are many careers that can be pursued - not just on the pitch.”

The academy has previously enjoyed development trips to Real Madrid, Ajax and Paris St Germain, as well as recently being invited to Manchester United and Manchester City.

Many of the academy students play for the Sussex County Schools’ representative side and one of the boys recently had trials for England Schoolboys under-18s. Buckswood is an independent school based in Guestling.