Punahou Soccer Teams Visit Madrid

The Punahou boys and girls varsity soccer teams recently traveled to Madrid, where they competed against a local school; trained at the world-renowned Real Madrid facility and experienced the local culture and landmarks.

“This trip offered a truly amazing learning opportunity for Punahou’s varsity soccer teams,” Punahou Athletic Director James Kakos said. “The student-athletes built lasting global perspectives, as well as deepened their connections to one another, their teams and Punahou School.”

Here’s a look at some of the group’s adventures:

After arriving in Madrid and driving to the GSD Buitrago International School, the students took part in an interactive Spanish cooking lesson, making paella and churros con chocolate. 
The group’s second day in Spain began with early morning workouts on GSD Buitrago’s campus. The weather was a crisp 38 degrees with a fresh snowfall on the surrounding mountains. Following practice, the teams spent the full day touring Madrid, including the Royal Palace, Almuneda Cathedral, Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel and the Egyptian Temple of Debod. 
On day three, the boys played against GSD Buitrago at the local soccer club’s home field. Following the game, the boys and girls teams enjoyed a tour of the Medieval town of Buitrago.
On day 4, both teams participated in highly anticipated matches. The boys played against Mortalaz (Madrid), once again prevailing in a match filled with great sportsmanship and friendly competition. The girls then took on Tacon in an evening match, with Punahou coming out on top. The boys and girls enthusiastically cheered each other on from the sidelines during their respective matches.
At the conclusion of the girls’ match, the boys formed a celebratory tunnel for the girls to run through.
Day 5 was spent in the historic town of Segovia. The morning began with a tour of the famed Roman aqueduct. The group then explored Alcazar de Segovia, the majestic castle of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castille.
The majority of the sixth day was spent interacting with the GSD Buitrago student body. The teams broke into nine co-ed groups and presented their “Hawai‘i Sense of Place” projects to students in grades 4 through 9. This was perhaps the most successful cultural exchange of the trip thus far. The level of engagement and interaction between the groups highlighted the value of global education experiences such as this one.
Following the presentations, the girls played their second match of the trip against Las Rozas (Madrid) football club. After a 0-0 first half, the girls pulled away and enjoyed an impressive victory. Once again, the post-game interactions were truly memorable. A very special moment took place when the teams held hands in a circle and sang, “Hawai‘i Aloha.” The victory tunnel made a second appearance as well.
On the seventh day, the teams had the unique opportunity to train at the world famous Real Madrid City. This complex boasts 14 fields and a state-of-the-art training facility. Following a guided tour, the coaches of Real Madrid led the teams through a two-hour training session on one of the stadium fields. Throughout the practice, the Real Madrid coaches commented on the impressive output and overall energy of both teams.  
The final day in Spain began with a second day of training at Real Madrid City. The teams then explored Estadio Bernabeu, the home stadium of Real Madrid. The tour was both fun and interactive. A particular highlight was an on-premises museum that captures the rich history of FIFA’s “Club of the Century.”

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