The 2019 id2 National Selection International Tour takes place March 29-April 9, beginning with a brief domestic camp in New Jersey before the delegation travels to Belgium and France. This marks the first time the id2 Program has competed in Belgium and France, as this year's squad will play four top academies. Eighteen players from 17 clubs make up the roster, which consists of 17 players born in 2005 and one born in 2006.
Stay tuned to US Club Soccer on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for daily updates throughout the trip. Nike is a proud supporter of the id2 Program, and Premier International Tours is assisting with tour logistics.
Stay tuned for the third and fourth video journals of the 2019 id2 National Selection International Tour. The third will detail both games in France, while the fourth will wrap up the trip with more highlights and commentary from coaches and players.
The American delegation catches an early flight Tuesday morning back to the United States, carrying with them memories that will last a lifetime and skills that will take them to the next level.
A final recap is coming soon. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #id2Belgium and #id2France.
The id2 National Selection team's final game of this journey was held this morning, as Stade de Reims hosted a game at its training grounds.
Sebastian Carbajal scored in the 8th minute with a flick over the goalkeeper to take an early lead. The Americans scored first in every game of the trip.
Daniel Farberov added a goal in the 29th, and then five minutes later, he assisted Dominic Dubon for the ultimate 3-0 result.
With the shutout, the id2 National Selection team finished with a 7-6 goal advantage in Belgium (vs. KV Mechelen and KRC Genk) and 4-3 edge in France (vs. PSG and Reims).
Sunday is a busy day off the pitch. The morning started with a bus ride into the city and stops at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
After lunch, the boys worked on homework and took some much-needed rest and relaxation ahead of tomorrow morning's game against Reims.
Tonight, the delegation will watch a Ligue 1 game between PSG and Strasbourg.
The id2 National Selection squad battled PSG early and often, but ultimately was defeated, 3-1. Once again, the Americans got out to a 1-0 lead early in the first period off a goal from Carbajal.
But, PSG tied it in the second period in a hard-fought 25 minutes. The French side later took the lead in the final frame off a controversial foul call in the box. With only a few minutes left in the game, PSG added another goal for insurance.
After the game, the boys ate lunch at the PSG facility and then took a quick detour to the historic city of Versailles.
When they returned to the Paris headquarter hotel for dinner, the boys reviewed game film and talked about having better possessions.
The delegation departed Antwerp for Paris at 10 a.m. CET. The bus ride was about five hours, so athletic trainer Chris Young led the team on a stretch in a nearby park before getting on the bus and at a rest stop about 2/3 of the way to Paris.
NOTE: The second video journal, which includes highlights of both Belgian games and sightseeing in Brugge, is now available.
When the team arrived in Paris, the boys rested until dinner and then had a discussion with the coaching staff about mentality. It will be a tough task to take down PSG Saturday morning, but it's only possible if 18 players from 17 clubs - who have been with each other for eight days - come together as a team and play for each other.
The id2 National Selection team had an early start with breakfast and then an hour-long bus ride to KRC Genk to face the renowned Belgian club's 2005 academy.
Sebastian Carbajal scored just 27 seconds into the game, but that's all the American delegation could muster en route to a 4-1 defeat. It was an educational experience for the boys on and off the pitch, as afterwards, the host club provided lunch in its clubhouse and a stadium tour of the pro facility.
Later that night, the coaching staff discussed the game and overall expectations of the trip. "It's not about results, but it is about performance," McKeown told the group. Head of Delegation and US Club Soccer Board of Directors member Eddie Henderson added powerful words about belief.
The delegation spent most of the day touring the beautiful city of Brugge. That included walking the historic streets, eating at a pizzeria, enjoying Belgian waffles and taking a boat tour in the Brugge canals.
Back at the Belgian headquarter hotel, the team ate dinner and winded down with a film session and pep talk.
The first real game of the 2019 id2 National Selection International Tour is tonight at 6 p.m. CET (12 p.m. ET), and it's against KV Mechelen.
In preparation for that, the coaching staff led a film session from the scrimmage against PDA this afternoon to help the team visualize success on the field.
That night, the id2 National Selection team defeated KV Mechelen, 6-2. The format was three 25-minute periods, and the boys overcame steady rain during their warm-up and opening period.
Sebastian Carbajal scored three goals, including two in the final period. Dominic Dubon and Brooklyn Raines each added one goal, and Anthony Castor provided three assists and one goal.
Afterward, the boys were hosted by KV Mechelen in their training facility to enjoy a light post-game meal.
After more than seven hours in the air, the delegation touched down in Brussels. It was here that Ruwan Thoumoung, a German-based player who attended the id2 Training Camp last year in Kansas City, joined the team.
The squad didn't spend much time in Brussels, though. Premier International Tours, who is on-site to assist with the logistics of the tour, directed a bus to take the team to Antwerp, where the boys will be based until Friday.
Upon arrival, the team ate a quick meal and then rested until 4 p.m. training. Although training on tired legs and minds is difficult, it's necessary with a game on Tuesday.
Before leaving New Jersey on an overnight flight to Brussels, Belgium, the team engaged in various stretching in a recovery session outside the headquarter hotel (Radisson Piscataway-Somerset), led by athletic trainer Chris Young.
Then, it's off to the land of Belgian waffles and Brussels sprouts - and two challenging opponents, of course.
The first full day of this journey features a light training session in the morning, some rest and relaxation in the afternoon and an evening scrimmage against PDA 2004s.
After lunch, Dan Edelman - a member of the id2 all-time selection team - stopped by to deliver a pep talk to the team. "The nerves are okay to have," Edelman told them. "You just have to let them go as the games go on."
Later that evening, the id2 battled PDA's talented 2004 team in a trio of 25-minute sessions. Coach McKeown was able to test different lineups and gauge players' response to adversity. Here's how the id2 National Selection team started, and here are a few photos from the scrimmage.
The first day of the 2019 id2 National Selection International Tour has finally arrived with the team traveling to New Jersey to quickly get acquainted before flying overseas.
Friday may have started on the road or in airports for these players, but it ended in a familiar place: on the field. A light training session at PDA Soccer Complex greeted the athletes that night.
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