International Football Business student at UCFB Wembley, Samuel Cardenas has recently completed a truly unique work experience opportunity in Spain, working as a translator on behalf of the Premier League during their visit to La Liga powerhouses Valencia CF and Villarreal CF.

The trip turned out to be a highly rewarding one for Samuel, who had previously worked as a translator in Spain during his summer break from UCFB, as he was able to gain an insight into the operations of Spanish football academies and meet former Manchester United footballer Phil Neville and other academy staff.

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 Upon returning to the UK, the UCFB Sports Entrepreneur Award 2014 prize winner for his football coaching concept has written the following blog about his time in Spain.

“In the beginning of December 2015 I was part of a small Premier League cohort to travel to Valencia as their English/Spanish interpreter for three days.

 “The goal of the trip was to establish a connection with academies for a future visit of a Premier League cohort of coaches as part of the ECAS programme.

 “On the first day we visited Villareal’s academy and were greeted by the youth football coordinator who kindly introduced us to the structural organisation of the academy and the club. This was followed by a tour of the facilities, which were quite simple compared to English academies – but nevertheless served their necessary purpose. The facilities included countless artificial and natural grass pitches, with several of them boasting video technology for direct recording of the sessions. Besides this the most notable facility was the main building with accommodation for a high amount of players due to shared rooms, which were divided by different age groups. On top of that the players had direct access to the school building right next door and shared a big dining room as a club, including all academy teams and even the first team.

 “During the evening we returned to Valencia to watch the UEFA Champions League match of Valencia CF against Lyon. Unfortunately Valencia lost the game, however the stadium was a great place to experience a traditional Spanish stadium.

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 “On the next day we visited the academy of Valencia CF where we had a meeting scheduled with Phil Neville to discuss his development at the club, his brother’s arrival and what he can offer in regards to the ECAS trip.

 “After that we had a meeting, which I had arranged, with the key academy personnel. I knew the sporting director well from my previous work experience at the club during the summer. During the meeting we got an insight into the academy system and methodology of Valencia CF, and possibilities of the future visit were discussed.

 “We then spent some more time with the personnel before returning to the city to check a few organisational things for the trip, after which we headed to the airport for our evening flight back to London.

“All in all it was a great experience, getting the opportunity to work for the Premier League yet again, in an area which I focus on fully for the future. Also it was great to see my contacts at the academy again, whom I met on another work experience earlier in 2015. I am looking forward to more – spending most of my summer this year at Valencia’s academy.”

Read more about the unrivalled work experience opportunities at UCFB