Demopolis trio participates in Barcelona camp

Demopolis students Zachary Chu, Oscar Valdivia and Jeremy Chu participated in a FC Barcelona soccer camp in Barcelona, Spain July 8-19.

Demopolis students Zachary Chu, Oscar Valdivia and Jeremy Chu participated in a FC Barcelona soccer camp in Barcelona, Spain July 8-19.

Summer break featured a European soccer excursion for three Demopolis High School athletes as Oscar Valdivia joined Jeremy and Zachary Chu for an internationally-renowned Barcelona camp.

“It was a good opportunity. Awesome,” Valdivia, a senior on the DHS soccer team and son of Gerardo and Gisela Valdivia, said of the experience. “It is pretty much waking up every day and just going to play soccer. It’s like a dream. Two whole weeks just waking up and playing soccer.”

The camp, which focused primarily on tactics and strategy, saw the three Demopolis competitors among a group of 86 international participants.

And while the camp contained specific topics and focuses, each DHS player returned home with a unique experience.

Oscar Valdivia, Dr. Ronnie Chu, Zachary Chu and Jeremy Chu in Barcelona, Spain.

Oscar Valdivia, Dr. Ronnie Chu, Zachary Chu and Jeremy Chu in Barcelona, Spain.

“I’m more positionally sound. I know different positions,” Jeremy Chu, a junior at DHS, said of the effect the camp had on his game before commenting on the impact the event had on his understanding of the team dynamic the game requires. “The work rate each player has to possess to function as a whole.”

The eldest son of Ronnie and Lucy Chu, Jeremy finds himself with an increasing role on the Tiger squad and hopes to use the experience from the camp as well as his ever-developing concept of the game to improve in some of the mental aspects of the game.

“Be faster on the ball,” Jeremy said of his personal goals. “My decision making is not as quick.”

For Zachary, the camp exposed a talented eighth-grader who spent parts of the past year playing with Birmingham United to an eclectic and skilled group of international players.

“It helps me get used to the higher speed and brings you back to earth,” Zachary said. “There are better players out there.”

Zachary noted that the Barcelona camp also helped him to be more aggressive and creative with the ball rather than employing a more passive approach to the game.

“Different ways to move the ball, play the game and go forward instead of just standing still. Play with the ball a little bit and move around,” Zachary explained.

For Valdivia, the camp came as a welcome experience for a player only in his fourth year of competitive play. Valdivia, who hopes to parlay his high school experience into a college playing career, returned home with an epiphany regarding the perceived difference between the American and international talent levels.

“The competition was a lot better,” Valdivia said. “We’re not far off of the competition here. If you take the best players, that is sort of what you find over there.”