Tahuichi in the Media - The Tahuichi Experience

The Tahuichi Experience

I arrived at Tahuichi without any real expectations. I had been to several previous soccer camps, and each one had more or less the same philosophy: working on touch, fitness, and strategy. I expected more or less the same from this one. When we arrived at the Academy, looking out at the dust bowl, with fields aptly named "The Moon," cows grazing in the background, I wondered what I could possibly learn here.

We trained two to three times a day, harder than I had ever trained before. At first it seemed like madness, the coach style was completely different from any other I had been exposed to. Nothing seemed to be connected to the game or practical. But slowly it came together. Soccer is a game of milliseconds, of reaction time and anticipation. Being forced to understand the movements of the body made my technique (and my feet) more efficient. Getting to the ball first, making the pass faster than a defender can shut me down, having the confidence to be able to read an opponent are a significant dribbling advantages. Learning the movements of all 11 players on the field allows me to make passes without even looking up, knowing that a teammate will be there. Organization has always been the soccer trump card, and I began to realize that it was the foundation for each practice, starting with the feet, moving up to each individual player, and coming together in the team. This understanding, or "approach," is still lacking from the American coaching style.

But more than organization, Tahuichi taught me what kind of person I am. Passion, hard work, and intensity are the foundations of life. They are also the foundations of soccer. How hard a player is willing to work, how much intensity he or she is willing to put in, defines how far he or she will go. And of course passion carries a player from one gasping breath to another. Tahuichi is more than a camp; it is an experience. It is a life changing experience. It washes away (usually while running against the current in the jungle rivers) the importance of uniforms and gears, and reinforces the basic love of soccer—the reasons why we first began to kick a ball around. More than making me the player I am today, it made me the person I am today, rising to each new challenge while always remembering the dust, moon-cratered fields, and cow obstacles that got me here.