Colchester United's U18s have headed to Spain for a twelve day trip as part of their pre-season preparations.
They will enjoy training from Spanish coaches, along with the chance to learn some of the Spanish language along the way too.
The trip – which is fully subsidised by the Erasmus+ fund to promote development and the exchange of ideas between coaches and players in both countries – sees the U's and Huddersfield Town go to Seville, with AFC Wimbledon and QPR travelling to Madrid.
The U's U18s will also be given the chance to visit the city and make their way around the local stadiums.
“The tour will provide us a fantastic opportunity to build on existing relationships with the players and to help develop the players as holistically as possible,” Colchester academy manager Jon De Souza told the League Football Education website. “Overall, we expect the tour to provide us with some fantastic learning experiences both on and off the field.
“The trip will allow the staff to get a lot of technical and tactical work done on the field, as well as set the standard for the values we are trying to create and install at the Academy.
“It will also help create a team bond and morale that can benefit the squad going into the season.
“We try to provide our players with as much variety in their fixture programme as possible,” De Souza added. “However, the opportunity to play Spanish opposition will be something the majority of our players have not experienced.
“I would expect the game to be far more technical and tactical then they are used to and I’m sure the tempo will be more varied than the games we play against fellow English sides.”
The U's are set to play three fixtures against Spanish clubs including Sevilla and Real Betis during their time in Spain.
Jon added: “As staff and players, we are looking forward to watching and working with the Spanish coaches.
“Naturally they will have different ideas and methods and we are looking forward to learning from these differences and hopefully coming away with some new ideas that we can implement into our coaching programme.”
The U's Academy Manager said: “For us, the biggest benefit of the trip is the time we get to spend with the players off the pitch. Our job is to develop better players, but to do this we believe you have to develop the players as people.
“The cultural activities will allow our players to gain many new experiences that will further develop them as people to excel not only in football but in everyday life.”