2015 Europe Trip
It was a busy and exciting summer for our U12 boys who took to the skies in search of testing themselves against the best competition that Europe has to offer. They took part in the world-renowned Cup No. 1 and Gothia Cup tournaments in Frederikshavn, Denmark and Gothenburg, Sweden respectively. The Gothia Cup, in particular, is referred to as the “Youth World Cup” for the sheer number, diversity, and quality of teams that participate.
First up was Denmark. Our U12 boys showed great character to fight through their jet lag on the first match day of Cup No.1 in Frederikshavn, Denmark on Tuesday, with Manmeet Jhutty scoring a last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Cercle Municipale de Casablanca from Morocco. This isn’t the first time that a Tulis team has faced opposition from Morrocco: in 2009, our U13 boys won a close 1-0 match against Sporting Atlantic SC to reach the round of 16 in the Gothia Cup. In the afternoon, despite heavily out-chancing their opponents – including a series of unlucky crossbars – our boys fell 2-0 to SK Vard Haugesand from Norway. The coaches were proud of the way that the players responded to their first taste of international competition and were confident that they could improve on their results in the coming days.
True to coaches predictions, the boys found their goal-scoring touch on the second day of the tournament, putting 6 goals past Hammarby IF in a one-sided 6-1 victory. Agam Dhami scored a brilliant hat trick, followed by Manmeet Jhutty with 2 goals and Kieran Eve with 1. Their confidence from playing so well in the morning carried them through into the afternoon, as they battled back after conceding an early penalty to beat Bangsbo Freya 2-1. Kieran Eve and Manmeet Jhutty added to their tallies, supported by strong team play. They continued their winning ways on Thursday, defeating the hosts Frederikshavn FI by a score of 4-2 to qualify for the A-Playoffs.
Despite their best efforts in the quarter finals, they couldn’t overcome a strong Mercedarios side from Spain, falling out of the tournament in the Round of 16 after a 2-1 loss. The coaches are extremely proud of the character the boys showed against some very difficult opponents, and would like to congratulate Reading FC from England on winning the tournament!
As soon as the tournament wrapped up, our globetrotting boys set sail across the North Sea to Gothenburg, Sweden for the Gothia Cup. Awaiting them was a true soccer spectacle, featuring representation from 74 countries that totalled 1754 teams and 40,200 players! In their age group alone, our boys were fighting to be the best among 197 teams. The opening ceremony was a sight to behold, with a sold-out crowd of 56,420 welcoming the start of the tournament with music, flags, and fireworks.
Our boys opened the tournament against Las Rozas CF from Madrid, a team that played with the characteristic flair and skill that Spanish teams are known for. It was a closely contested affair, but a single goal from the Spaniards was our undoing in a 1-0 loss. Despite the unfortunate result, coach Felex remarked that it was a great learning experience to be confronted with a style that the players don’t get to see at home. Next up were a team of Scandinavian giants, BK Olympic Vit from the southern Swedish city of Malmo. Despite being at a significant disadvantage for height and strength, the boys battled to earn a 1-1 draw and their first point of the tournament. In their last group stage match, the Tulis boys came up against hometown favourites and perennial powerhouse IFK Goteborg, losing 4-1. However, the point they earned in their second match was good enough for 3rd in the group and a place in the B-playoffs against Skene IF, another Swedish team. After being frustrated for goals despite some good play early in the tournament, the floodgates opened for the Tulis team in this knock-out match as they won 3-0. To add to the occasion, they played out the match at the tournament headquarters, the Heden center, with crowds of spectators passing by. Less than 3 hours later, they were back on the field against yet another Swedish team, Lunds BK. They fought well but eventually fell out of the tournament as fatigue from 11 matches in 10 days caught up with them in a 2-0 loss.
The coaches and parents were extremely impressed with the maturity and professionalism the boys showed throughout the trip. Even when results didn’t go their way, they remained polite, upbeat, and respectful. They represented our school – and our country – in the best possible light.
Way to go boys!