On 26-28 May we had the honour of handling one of the biggest youth tournaments in Spain – San Bernabé. It is organised by the charming and passionate Borja, who has been the heart and soul of youth football in the country for 14 years, organising a series of tournaments in which 400 teams took part in this edition.
The day before the start of the competition in Torrelavega, we stopped in Madrid to finalise our application for the tournament and meet with Nacho Rioja, CEO of Zaldun Sports – a company specialising in organising grassroots football tournaments in Asturia. On that day, the stress was palpable, especially as we had introduced a knockout option to the application a few days before departure, which eventually gained a lot of recognition in the Spanish market. After checking everything and a follow-up conversation with the organiser, we were ready for an eventful weekend! In the morning, after a quick transfer to our destination, at 16:00 we found ourselves in the main stadium, one of the many venues where the matches took place. The tournament was divided into 3 age categories: boys 2012 and 2014 and girls 2011.
The competition took place on nine pitches in four different locations, up to 10 km apart. However, no one made a problem out of it. Each team had access to our app, so they knew exactly when and where they were playing. This weekend’s tournament featured 100 teams and between them teams such as Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Athletic de Bilbao, Real Valladolid and CA Osasuna. On site, it turned out that in Spain it is not enough, as in Poland, to mark the pitches with numbers. As the pitches were located in different towns and cities, additional signage was needed in the FC.APP app. This surprised us somewhat, but we quickly dealt with the confusion. For the following weekend, we supplemented the app with the possibility to enter the name of the pitch, which made the organisers’ job even easier. During the tournament we had the opportunity to talk to coaches, PR specialists, referees and parents – the problem was one, hardly anyone spoke English!
During my 12 years in Poland, I think I have managed to see everything at tournaments. But what surprised me in Spain was:
- parents/guardians who treated the tournament like a big picnic. There was an atmosphere of barbecuing, singing, dancing, moderate consumption of alcohol provided by the caterers. They mostly spent their time outside the stands without interfering with the children’s play.
- professional referees who did not have to explain any decisions. Great respect and authority.
- a coaching staff – of between 2 and even 8 people! (psychologists, PR people, medics…).
Motivatingly, every coach was keen to talk about FC.APP. We were positively surprised by the FC Barcelona coach who approached us himself to find out all the details about our app.
In terms of organisation, the tournament was prepared perfectly. Everything agreed down to the minute. Each pitch had its own ‘pitch keeper’ and each of the four locations a ‘main location manager’. Of course, there was no shortage of excitement at the event! Everyone wanted to win, everyone wanted to compete, but always with respect for the opponent. In one word – it was a real football festival! Summary: The app was a big help for the organiser, who had to control the results in several locations at the same time.
We were able to manage FC.APP TEAM!