The day began with a nice walk through Kaiserslautern up to the Walter Fritz Stadium. This stadium was one of the venues for the 2006 World Cup. Our group was treated to a very nice tour of the facility with access to some restricted areas such as the media centre and private suites. A walk along the sidelines and bench areas provided perspective on the size of the stadium and the atmosphere that would be present during matches. This stadium hosted several important matches in 2006 including the quarter final between Italy and Australia. Our tour guide was still upset on the penalty call that allowed Italy’s Francesco Totti to put them through to face Germany in the semi-final. Next to the stadium at the training field, our boys were able to take in a training session of FC Kaiserslautern’s first team. An added bonus was a Q & A session with Canadian International Olivier Occean folowing the training. An interesting sideshow was the access to the head coach by some of the local supporters as he left the grounds. Some of the discussion appeared quite animated as the coach is under some heat for recent results and overall performance. He was fired the following day. In the evening, our U16 group played against FC Kaiserslautern’s U16 team on an absolutely immaculate grass field at their training ground. Our boys conceded two goals in each half for a 4-0 defeat to an exceptional team. The German boys really demonstrated superior technical and tactical abilities. Our boys did well to create a few chances but the pace of the game was something they would never have been exposed to. It was a distinct privilege for our players to play against such a quality team.
The group once again made the trip up to the city of Karlsruhe where the U16 boys had another tough match. This time with the FC Karlsruhler ’98 team who are current legaue champions with a phenomenal goal difference. On the heels of the difficult match the previous night, our boys found themselves chasing early against another fantastic opponent. MUFC held for the first 15 minutes or so, but the extraordinary tactical movements of the Germans began to expose our players and they eventually cruised to a 5-0 win. While the last couple of matches have been humbling experiences for the older boys, they have come away with a true perspective on the standard of the game in Europe. Again, we considered it a privilege to line up against such quality.