Most people think there are four seasons, but for the true “footballer” there are only three: off-season, preseason and soccer season. And what you do during the second determines how you’ll do during the third.
Preseason soccer training has become incredibly sophisticated in pro leagues, with elaborate graphics spelling out week-by-week fitness benchmarks, drones to film practices from every angle, and even “sleepboxes” for players to nod off between drills.
For many non-professional teams, it has become increasingly popular to travel internationally as a team to visit another country for friendly matches, tournaments, soccer clinics and more for preseason training.
Costa Rica Soccer Tours has been organizing trips like these for close to 25 years, and we make sure that every tour is uniquely tailored to the needs of the team. We spend months planning each tour, fine-tuning the itinerary with the coach, and paying special attention to setting up friendly matches with local teams that play at the level of the visiting team.
Here are several reasons why a Costa Rican soccer tour could be the perfect preseason tonic for your team.
1) International Soccer Experience
International soccer experience can provide big competitive advantages over teams that have never played far from home.
The University of Lynchburg women’s team recently got the opportunity to visit the Soccer Federation and play the Costa Rican national team, La Selección. “Great experience playing the top-level team in Costa Rica,” said assistant coach Natalie Deacon.
2) Costa Rican Soccer Culture
Exposure to a country where fútbol is king offers an entirely new perspective to people from a country like the U.S., where soccer is also a popular sport.
The boys’ team of Belmont Hill High School in Massachusetts was honored to have the opportunity to train with professional coach Guilherme Farinha, who drilled them in maintaining possession and long ball plays. “He identified with them a lot and was involved with a lot of energy in the training,” our tour guide wrote.
3) Team Bonding
Eight or ten days of international travel together provides unparalleled team bonding.
The non-soccer portions of our soccer tours, which often include ziplining, whitewater rafting, hot springs, hikes, catamaran cruises and cultural tours, allows everyone to broaden their horizons, conquer their fears, and improve cooperation and coordination on the field. All while having a heck of a lot of fun together.
The Roanoke College women’s team participated in all of these adventures and found them to be great team-building activities. Speaking of rafting, Delaney Weston said, “The adrenaline rush it gave us was exhilarating. It was a lot of fun to work together with teammates we hadn’t necessarily worked with before.”
4) Exposure to Different Soccer Styles
Exposure to new styles of play that may be faster, more technical and more physical teaches players new strategies and tactics that might be different from what they learn at home.
The Marywood University women’s team enjoyed their trip visiting amazing sights and lots of soccer. The team trained with professional coach, Carolina Venegas, and learned about the different styles of soccer in Costa Rica.
“[Costa Ricans] play more of a possession game compared to the U.S.,” said player Kayla Schmadtke of Marywood. “They use more moves than us and have excellent touches.”
5) Eye-Opening Community Service
The community service projects that are part of our tours — in which teams visit centers for children living in poverty to offer hugs, smiles, soccer lessons and gifts — teach compassion, empathy and the importance of taking nothing for granted.
The Simpson College men’s team got a great taste of it. “The visit to the shelter started off with the kids, who were all 2 to 5 years old, charging at all of us to give us a huge welcome hug,” wrote senior Connor Robson. “From there on out, it was pure chaos. The kids had each one of us chasing after them in what seemed to be a never-ending game of tag where we were always it.”
The women of Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock University actually visited two of these centers. Before their trip, the team also gathered a lot of school supplies to donate.
“I absolutely loved being with the children and spending time with them all,” said player Sofia Harrison. “I will never forget the memories I made with them.”
Book a trip with Costa Rica Soccer Tours, and we’ll take care of your lodging, meals, transportation, tours and friendly matches against teams at your level, with an English-speaking guide from start to finish. You might just find that it’s the perfect preseason training.