“José, more to the right. Tobia, go to the bottom row”. Marcet’s scholars are about to set off on tour to Zaragoza and the head coach is setting up to travellers to take a family photo before getting onto the bus.
In the Aragonian capital there is a top level opponent waiting for them, and the tension can be seen on some of players faces, even though when a picture is taken it is always a good time to relax and have some fun with teammates.
There are three different squads posing for the camera. Two of these will go up against Zaragoza. The third will go head-to-head with Cuarte, a short distance from the Aragonian club’s facilities.
José doesn’t seem to be worried. He has experience and knows what it is like to compete at a high level, but he has been in Barcelona for less than a month. This afternoon’s clash against Real Zaragoza is without a doubt one of the most complicated matches the Peruvian forward has been involved in since his arrival to Spain.
“I’m from the region of Lima, and in the past few seasons I’ve been battling it out for Universidad San Martín de Porres (USMP)”, explains José. It is a young club that was formed in 2004 and it didn’t take them long to get into the country’s first division, where they have won three national tittles so far.
Whilst his teammates are loading all the food and equipment for the tour onto the bus, José points out, with pride, that USMP had also taken part in the Copa Libertadores competition. “I’ve been with them since 2016, I was initially in the reserves squad”, recalls the forward. “In November 2016 I was promoted to the first team and got to play a dozen matches in the first division”.
Thanks to his experience, José is used to demanding situations, just like todays encounter with Zaragoza. “But I must not forget that I am here to learn. Everything is played at a higher pace compared to Perú… The games, the ball… Everything is at a higher pace and I have to get used to this rhythm”.
On the bus, Marcet’s scholars are taking it easy for the three hour long journey they have until they reach their destination. Next to José is Fabrizzio Bianco, another Peruvian that came to Barcelona a few weeks ago. They are both in the same side and have been selected for the match this afternoon with a GPS sensor on them. This equipment offers important statistical data to the coaching team.
José still doesn’t know whether he is a starter against Zaragoza. “They will let us know who’s in the starting eleven in the dressing room, before we go out to warm up”. The level in the U-19s first team is so high that no one has an assured place in the starting 11. It’s so competitive that a dozen players have been left out of the squad, coached by Pere Tarradellas.
The tour will make a stop at Alfajarín for lunch. Pasta and fried chicken. The players are chatting between themselves and take advantage of the break to stretch their legs. They’ve got an hour to spare before getting back onto the bus.
The mountains in Aragon are some truly epic surroundings. Zaragoza is ever closer and the tension on the bus is starting to grow more and more.
“Listening to music helps me relax before a game”, explains José. It took the striker a long time to get used to the time difference in Spain. “The first few nights I couldn’t sleep, but I’ve settled perfectly now”.
The bus arrives at Zaragoza’s facilities. The players got off and wait for instructions from the opponents staff as to where their dressing room is.
The head coach, Carlos Rivero, takes advantage to have a little interview with José. “I have to play with confidence, I know I have my family and my club back in Peru are behind me. They’re supporting me all the time”.
In the dressing room the gaffer reads out the starting ’11’. José will play on the left wing, coming in onto his right foot. “I don’t mind which side I play on. I came to Spain to improve my weaker foot as well”.
“Before I go out to warm up I pray to God and ask him to ensure everything goes well and that I don’t get injured. The makes me feel calm and boosts my confidence”.
Once on the playing field, the physical preparation coaches put the GPS sensors on José and Fabrizzio’s backs. After the game they will have important data on the way they performed on the pitch.
José Vidal Bolívar Ormeño was born on the 17th of January 2000. At 17 years of age, he is in a crucial moment of his athletic career. A great performance in front of a team like Zaragoza can open up many doors in Spanish football. “There are a lot of differences with the training sessions here compared to Peru. Here 100% is always demanded of the players. But in the First Division in my country there are players who don’t give 100%. It seems difficult to understand, but they start to become complacent because they’ve already made it”.
Getting out of the comfort zone is one of José’s targets. Getting used to a different type of football is vital when it comes to improving. With this is mind, José knows that the match against Zaragoza is like a preparation for other important tours that his team will go on in the next few weeks like at the French Club Mulhouse and Aranda de Duero, where Marcet’s squads will go up against top level opposition.
The priority now is to compete against Zaragoza. José and his teammates gave everything on the pitch in a very balanced game, with goal scoring occasions for both sides.
José hugged the touchline from top to bottom, in a great physical display. “We’ve prepared well for the game and we’ve been told that they’re strong opponents and it’s going to be difficult to beat them on their own ground”.
Zaragoza have shown all of their worth on the pitch and go into the break with a goal advantage (2-1). The Aragonians have been scoring freely against the biggest sides in Spain recently and are currently one of the best sides in the nation at U-19s level.
In the second half of the match Marcet reacts and regains control of the game. An avalanche of opportunities came for Marcet after some great play.
Unfortunately luck has been avoiding José, who hasn’t been able to take full advantage of a couple of clear chances. The team has created chances with ease, but haven’t been able to tuck them away.
In the end, two goals weren’t enough to turn the game around, as the local side were able to match their two goals from the first half. The final result ended 4-3.
Coach Pere Tarradellas is happy with the performance. They were unlucky in the final third, bur his side showed great physical condition as well as psychological. The target was to keep the tie closely contested, against one of the best sides in Spain, the team achieved this.
José knows that matches like this are what makes him improve on a daily basis. “My dream is to stay in Spain and play for a professional side. If I could choose, I’d love to stay in Barcelona. Spain has got the best league and the best players in the world”.
The data analysed by the Physical preparation Department confirms that the Peruvian had a good game. “The points which stand out the most are the Kilometres covered and his highest speed reached”, comments preparation coach Moisés Falcés. “His numbers are close to the statistics of a player in the First Division”.
José knows that Marcet is the place to be in order to challenge himself and continue to improve his stats. He is here to find where his place in European football lies. In the following months everything will become clear.
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