Most teenagers on their first flight to Tenerife would be thinking of beaches and clubbing but for Bradley Mills it was all about boots and circuit training. The 19 year old from Middlesborough has joined CD Marino’s young pool of Tenerife talent as they prepare to make a mark on their Tercera Division group – and he is eager to embrace everything about his new adventure.
I caught up with Bradley six days into pre season training at the Estadio Antonio Dominguez in Playa de Las Americas. “I’ve been with Middlesborough FC since the under 9’s and was on loan at Conference Premier club Gateshead last season but I’ve always fancied playing abroad. My parents stayed at the Columbus Hotel across the road earlier in the year and went to a CD Marino game and talked to a few people about me possibly playing here.”
A club towel from the merchandise shop wasn’t the only link to Marino that his parents brought back. After swapping details with the blues management Bradley was offered a 10 day trial. “ It was all the encouragement I needed, I paid my own flights and came over to train, they must have been pleased because they signed me up after just two days. I liked the style of their football, the coach (Constantino Tirado) gets very involved with training, he’s got the same enthusiasm as the players.”
Bradley plays right back or central midfield and although softly spoken there’s an air of confidence and determination about him. Pressed for his strengths he put them as “two strong feet, good awareness, a good engine, and competitive.” Arriving during one of the hottest summer spells he was adapting well to the two hour plus evening training stints and even his first red hot morning session.
There will be a lot of learning going on this season, the club has always been big on youth development, but with this years modest budget the first team squad will be dominated by promising talent from the ranks and a few returning to their roots after drifting away. Passion for the shirt will be the driving force and it will be good to see the squad develop together. Once again entrance will only be 8 euros for adults with children free and the basic season ticket is just 100 euros. It’s unlikely there will be any home friendlies, the pitch needs to get its breath back after 22,000 packed in for the Marc Anthony concert, 8.000 for the motocross, and more to come for the Arona Summer Festival on 7 August. Just as well CD Marino start the league campaign on 23 August away to El Cotillo in Fuerteventura, make a date for Sunday 30 August at home to Union Viera, noon is the usual kick off time but check CD Marino on Facebook for updates. I will be prowling the touchline again with my camera and you can see match reports and photos on this blog.