Senior Canary figures have reflected on the benefits of Norwich’s week-long warm weather training camp in Tampa Bay.
The team travelled during the first week of the international break and as well as training at the Al Lang Stadium, players also visited the local hospital to hand out gifts to children, shared skills at a youth football camp and heard from inspirational speaker Martín Gramática, an NFL Super Bowl winning kicker.
The trip was made possible thanks to Norwich’s partnership with Florida-based tourism body Visit Tampa Bay, the Club’s official destination partner, with the training facilities provided thanks to a collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rowdies American soccer team.
The travelling group included City’s Sporting Director Stuart Webber, Head Coach Daniel Farke and Chief Operating Officer Ben Kensell.
And Webber said the trip had been very beneficial for both the players and the Club.
"It was nice to have the warm weather and a different environment and there were lots of different opportunities to get the boys to socialise together and have a bit of fun,” he said. “But there was also a serious side with the training, our visits to the hospital, the youth football camp and the inspirational speaker. We have hopefully given the players some new experiences and a different environment to help them become more rounded men and hopefully that will show on the football pitch.
“I think the trip is probably the tip of the iceberg in terms of our relationship with Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Rowdies and I think it has given us a real solid foundation to build both on the commercial side and also the sporting side. We spent some really good time with Neill Collins, the head coach at the Rowdies, and spoke about a potential link up with players going out there in the future. I think that we have to be really open to what opportunities are out there and if we have gained some more during the week then that’s great news.”
The team underwent the same training schedule they would usually carry out during international break, but with the added benefits of the sunshine.
Reflecting on the week, Daniel Farke said: “We were in a different surrounding, right by the sea and the sun was shining, so be able to train in November in those conditions was good. We have brilliant conditions at Colney but when you train for ten and a half months each and every day in the same circumstances, sometimes it’s good for the players to have a different surrounding.
“The atmosphere, togetherness and commitment in the team is already good but you always have to work further on it and it’s always good when you are not only on the training pitch together but also spending some time off together speaking about other things, not just football. It helps to strengthen the bond and that was one of our main topics on the trip.”
The trio were joined by coaching and support staff, the Club’s commercial ambassadors Grant Holt and Adam Drury and a small party of commercial guests who support the Club.
And Kensell said the week had been a real success for all those involved.
“All of our sponsors said they had a great time and really got a lot out of it,” he said. “It was also a really good chance for us to make them feel like they are really part of the Club and I think we have strengthened our relationships as a result.
“The biggest thing for me was to see so much bonding on the trip. The commercial team and staff, the sponsors, players and all the groups who hosted us really came together and created what was quite a special spirit. There were certain points when I smiled to myself and thought this is really special.
“We are excited to develop our partnerships further and Stuart and I have spoken a lot about how we can build on it in the next three to five years, so we can grow a fanbase out in Tampa, work with the franchises and really move forward together.”