The potential for proper European football is still a couple of weeks away, so it was a little shocking when I heard that Spanish legends Real Madrid were taking on English stalwart Blackburn Rovers this weekend. In Arlinton, Virginia. On artificial turf, at a high school.

Turns out it was their academy squads over for a tourney hosted in association with D.C. United, but that didn’t deter the lady sparkler and I (and at least 12 other curious bystanders) from looking on as the two squads threw themselves up and down the pitch.

There wasn’t a scoreboard, but near as we can figure “Los Merengues” were up three at the break … and Blackburn would have been farther down the whole if it wasn’t for a dozen standout saves by the Rover’s keeper.

Real won handily, but both sides showed real class. It was hard to believe they were all under the age of 17, and yet still had skills that could have embarrassed a lot of professional squads in the States.