Follow our adventures in Argentina and Uruguay!
Day 1 – Departing Duke and Buenos Aires Arrival
After many movies and the inevitable struggle of sleeping on a plane, we finally made it to Argentina. It wasn’t long into our drive from the airport to the hotel that we passed the training facility of the Argentinian National Team. We even caught a glimpse of some players on the field. It was hard not to imagine the kinds of goals Messi has scored on those fields...
An hour or so later we arrived at the hotel, quickly settled in, and then headed out for lunch at a local café. We then got a chance to come back to the rooms and get some much needed rest. We then walked to training, and got to play on a small turf field. We continued our season tradition of Americans vs. Foreigners, and us Americans got the win (Coach Kieran was in goal for the foreigners so it wasn’t too difficult J).
After training we headed back to the hotel, and got ready for dinner. Nico’s [Macri] family had us over for an authentic Argentinian asado. We tried a number of meats and appetizers, and to top it off the Rogel cake with some ice cream was delicious. We then came back to the hotel and all hit the beds pretty quickly as we play River Plate tomorrow morning in our first official game.
Stay tuned for more adventures from my teammates over the next 10 days…
Day 2: Our first full day in Buenos Aires
By Colby Agu
May 16, 2018
Today was our first full day in Argentina and it came hard and fast! Waking up at 6:30 was a bit of a challenge for some of the boys as we still were feeling a bit of jet lag from the eight-hour flight. We had the privilege of playing against River Plate’s academy comprised of players aged from sixteen to eighteen. The field was next to the River Plate stadium, Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, which was an amazing spectacle that holds so much history. The match presented a different complex to what we were used to as River Plate had very technical players all over the field who were all comfortable on the ball. The game ended 1-1 against River Plate and was the start of a truly momentous day!
During the day we were able to do some sightseeing around Buenos Aires and learned about the rich history of the country itself. The tension between Argentina and Great Britain through history spilled into our group as a lady on the street thought we were from England. Let’s just say she had a few choice words for me! We attempted to ride the subway to go downtown but it wasn’t available, so we walked the busy streets a few blocks from our hotel which had much to offer. We learned that the sales tax in Argentina is astronomically high so many citizens travel to specifically Miami to buy their electronics such as iPhones, computers, and televisions so they won’t be taxed as heavily.
The most exciting part of the day came in the evening as we attended the Boca Juniors versus Allianza Lima match. The energy in the stadium was so vibrant and the passion in the voices of the fans was something that can hardly be put into words. The fans live and die for Boca and it was evident in their constant chants all throughout the match. We were able to see the likes of world class players such as Carlos Tevez, Cristian Pavon, and so many others. Each time Boca scored a goal the stadium erupted, and we found ourselves celebrating with random Boca fans we had never even met as a connetion was birthed through the love of the game. The match ended 5-0 to Boca and the songs of the stadium filled the air as we left on our way home.
My teammate Max will have more for you from Day 3.
Day 3: Game 2, Pizza and More Fun
By Max Feldman
Today was our third day in Argentina and it was another early start. We had an awesome time last night enjoying the Boca game at the Bombonera and we got to wake up this morning and play the U-19 team. We were really excited for the chance to play Boca and I think because of it we played a lot better and were a lot more confident on the ball.
We started off pretty well in the first half but conceded a goal before halftime. We responded well after the half and Daniele [Proch] scored a good goal to bring us level before Boca scored two goals near the end. Overall it was a great game and experience and we played a lot better in my opinion than the day before. We learned a lot from the first game and did a much better at playing out of the back while being pressed. It was super fun and a really great experience to test ourselves against some of the best players in Argentina!
After the game the Boca coaching staff toured us around their really cool new facility, including hosting a small Q and A with us about Boca. It was really interesting to hear about a huge pro club and what they do differently than in the United States. I thought it was very interesting that at Boca if you don’t study you can’t play for them! That was a really cool perspective on soccer that isn’t taken by a lot of clubs and I think that is really beneficial and sets all of their players up for success later in life even if they don’t succeed at soccer.
After the game we drove back to the hotel and were on our own for lunch. We wandered around the city and found a really delicious asado place for lunch. After lunch Wil Jaques and I went to the Boca team store to buy a jersey. It was a really unique experience because I got to haggle with the shop owner for the price of my jersey.
They tried to rip me off and charge me more but I told them in Spanish they were wrong and they fixed it. It was super cool to use my Spanish for something like that and I was actually surprised I was able to do it! After that most of us all went back to the hotel and napped for a couple of hours.
After our naps we walked a couple of blocks to an Argentinian pizza place that was super good. The pizza is a little different here than back home, they load it up with cheese and meat on the pizza and I liked it a lot. We also started an Instagram war with the coaches posting funny pictures of each other on the Instagram page. My favorite was one of the videos of Suniel [Veerakone] during the Boca match bobbing his head up and down to the chants looking pretty goofy. Obviously we also celebrated Coach Rich’s birthday for the second day in a row. He had the birthday joke handed to him from Carter Manley after he forgot his passport for our trip.
Overall it was another awesome fun-filled day. We started with a great experience and game, got to walk around and buy some stuff, got in some essential rest, and finished the day off with a fantastic meal. There is not much more you can ask for one a trip like this. Can’t wait for all the other awesome things to come!
Jack Doran will have the next update for you!
Make sure to keep following us on social media, especially Instagram - @dukemsoc to see what we’re up to.
Day 4: History lesson and Bike Tour Fun
By Jack Doran
After a few busy days immersing ourselves in Argentina’s storied soccer culture and competing against some of the countries best young academy players from River and Boca, Friday offered us the opportunity to explore the city of Buenos Aires, dubbed the “little Paris of South America” because of its wealthy French influence from many decades ago. We strolled only a few blocks from our hotel and proceeded to spend the entire morning slaloming through the neighborhoods of Palermo and Barrio Parque on a bike tour. The coaches decided to join us on the ride; it was nice to see them finally get some fitness in for once. We visited historic sites such as the rose garden, city planetarium, La Recoleta Cemetery and the Plaza of San Martin. My favorite landmark easily had to be the “Monument to the Spanish”, a huge statue almost 90 feet tall which was donated to celebrate the centennial of the “Revolucion de Mayo”, which won Argentina its independence in 1810. It also contained pieces representing the country’s four main regions: Pampas, Gran Chaco, River Plate and the Andes. Needless to say it was very beautiful.
After our tour, we took taxis downtown to grab lunch at “Las Nazarenas”, a traditional “asada” joint serving Argentina’s incredible brand of barbecue. The skirt steak turned out to be a huge hit for our guys, some even calling it the best they had ever tried. After some much needed rest, our cultural incursion was capped of with a night at the tango, taking place at a hole in the wall studio called “El VIejo Almacen” (The Old Warehouse) that seemed to be plucked right out of the early 1900s. Not quite knowing what to expect, we marveled at the skill and rhythm of the pro dancers and the live orchestra that accompanied them. Each new routine seemed to captivate me more than the last. It was an experience unlike any I have ever had before.
After a couple more days in the Argentine capital, we will move on to Uruguay, taking with us not only a respect for the nation’s boundless passion for soccer, but also a true appreciation for its rich cultural heritage as well.
Our resident Italian will have his perspective next. Stay tuned!
Make sure to keep following us on social media, especially Instagram - @dukemsoc to see what we’re up to.
Day 5: Visiting the Pink House
Yesterday was our last day in Buenos Aires. As always during this trip, we decided to make the most out of our time in the Argentinian capital city.
The alarm went off at 8:30. Waking up early was not hard because we all knew that on planta baja (“ground floor”) the tables would be filled with great breakfast choices. With our bellies full, we then left the hotel. Destination: Casa Rosa (the “Pink House”), the building where the Argentinian president works.
It is still unknown why the walls of this building were painted in pink. The tour guide explained that there are different explanations for the characteristic color of the presidential house. However, none of these explanations is fully accepted, and many embrace the idea that the color pink is simply for aesthetic purposes.
The main attractions of the house were the Presidential and Vice Presidential offices, the “Salon Eva Perón” (Eva Perón was the First Lady of the Argentinian president Juan Perón in the post-War World II period, and she is an iconic figure for the country still today), and the room where the president takes the oath at the beginning of his tenure.
Once done with the classic team pictures outside the Pink House, we headed to “Rodizio,” a restaurant with a suggestive view on Porto Madero. Team meals are always the best, this is no news. But, in the opinion of many, yesterday’s lunch was particularly delicious.
Some empanadas paved the way for a huge buffet, which had a vast choice. Everybody filled up at least two plates (rumors say that coach Rich had four). Caprese, prosciutto e carpaccio made for a prefect Italian appetizer, while the Argentinian meat (la carne) was served directly at the table. The meal ended in the sweetest possible way: ice cream on a waffle while Antonio Conte was leading Chelsea to the victory of the FA Cup final against Mou’s Manchester United.
After lunch, we barely had a moment to rest up in the hotel room before it was already time to leave again. The days here in Buenos Aires are very busy, but we do not mind it because there is always something exciting to do. Last night, for instance, we attended another game.
No fútbol this time, we did not want to sound too boring. Instead, we went to the rugby game between the Argentinian Jaguars and the South African Bulls. Many people on our team had no idea what to expect from this game, as rugby is not a very common sport among us.
The José Amalfitani Stadium, however, did not take long to show us that rugby is much more than just a game in Argentina. Fireworks and hype music welcomed the Argentinian team on the field last night in a black uniform. The message was clear: they were ready to fight the battle and get the W in front of their people.
Thanks to the determination of the players and to the push given by the 11,300 supporters on the stands, the Jaguars destroyed the Bulls. The superiority on the field was evident throughout the entire game; at full time, the Jaguars had a clear 30-point lead on the Bulls (54-24).
As we prepare to hop on the feery to get to Montevideo, we look back at these six days with a huge smile. We are happy to have checked off all the typical Argentinian experiences from our bucket list, knowing that we have made many memories with a team that we are proud to call “family.” Many more of these memories will be made in the remaining four days in Montevideo. As always, we will make sure to share these experiences with you all.
My dear Austrian friend, Max Moser will have the next update for you. Meanwhile, follow us on Instagram @DukeMSOC for all of the fun!