|Ernesto with Luca Toni (middle), |
soccer player in the Italian National team
I arrived in Florence in August and had to learn basic Italian before I was able to go to training for the team. The team is called U.S. Cerbaia and it is located in the small town of Cerbaia about 40 minutes away from the city center. Once I arrived I soon found out that the team was very warm and all my teammates welcomed me with open arms.
On Tuesday evening, Thursday evening and Saturday mornings, I would have training with Cerbaia. I commuted to Cerbaia on the SITA bus and returned home with one of the players. Usually on Tuesdays we would work on cardiovascular fitness, quick changes of speed, agility and muscle endurance. Thursdays consisted of technical work with the ball, various scrimmages, small sided games and an 11 v. 11 senario at the end of this practice. Saturday mornings would be tactical training with light running, working on set pieces, and shadow play with little pressure.
On Sundays the games were played. Cerbaia played many different teams from around the outskirts of Florence including Grevigana and Porta Romana. I was able to do the pregame warm ups with the team but was not able to play in official games due to visa problems. Watching the games on Sunday, I could see how the tactics used in the Italian game differed from the U.S. and other countries. The high level of commitment and work by the team led to Cerbaia winning the championship this year!
At the end of the season there was a scrimmage against Serie A team Empoli FC that was played out in the official stadium. I was given the opportunity to play against pro players that will be competing in the UEFA Cup next year and play in a pro stadium. Needless to say the experience was remarkable.
I gained so much from my soccer internship both on and off the field. I became a better player as well as a better and smarter person. I was able to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and play in the country with the best soccer in the world. I will never forget Florence or my experiences there!
|“The team Cerbaia won|
the championship this year!”