DAY 6 AT THE GOTHIA CUP:
Saturday, has been our last full day in Gothenburg. All A-Playoff finals were held at Gamla Ullevi Stadium. We picked 3 specific games to go to….Chivas Guadalajara U14 Boys vs. Paris FC, IF Elfsborg U15 vs. Santa Laguna (Mex) and IF Elfsborg U17 vs. Djugardens IF.
One of my favourite teams to watch this tournament IF Elfsborg U15s won, as did the U17s but the game of the day was the U14 Chivas team. My god were they something special! They probably had 80% ball possession and super talented on the ball, with a great understanding of the game!
I managed to get to the IFK Goteborg store outside the stadium as well, picked up a memento to remember our game earlier in the week between IFK Goteborg vs. BK Halmstad.
The day was very relaxed as the boys started to part ways, with everyone leaving at different times. All we have left in the school are 4 boys. We spent the evening playing soccer tennis outside the school with the U18 FC Rehanania Boys Team who were our neighbours in the school this past week. They are a great bunch of guys, who were very respectful to the boys, and gave them a lot of attention. We had the world cup finals of soccer tennis so it was quite an intense affair! Canada came out victorious …. of course …. Germany who? (just kidding…but the boys did win somehow!)
From there we packed up the room some more and then headed out to Heden for 9pm, where we met up with Last Years Quarterfinalists and This years round of 16 team Blackburn Celtic. There were 4 boys playing plus myself vs. the english boys, and what a fun game. The difference in cultures socially is almost noticeable instantly. We ran out winners by a huge margin but nonetheless it was a fun game of soccer, and the boys made a new set of friends.
Coming back from the fields, passing by the disco, a group of U14 Finnish Girls recognized one of the boys and they chatted for a while…. It was nice to see the girls actually recognize the boys and make there way to over to us to speak to the boys.
The rest of the night has been spent trading clothes with the Cruz Azul (Mex) and Space Jardas (Brazil) teams. The boys managed to get some good shirts in exchange.
Its about 130am here and the boys have been down for a while…but its been a great last day here in Gothenburg….speaking on behalf of everyone….we will be sad to leave tomorrow!! I know I cant wait to go through all the videos and pictures because we have done so much I have most likely forgotten most of what we have done……
I will be blogging in the next day or two…
With so many teams eliminated, we managed to setup an exhibition with Breakthrough Chiparamba from Zambia. The boys were unsure what to expect as they arrived outside our meeting point. Kelvin and Bentembo the Zambian Coaches had there boys there on time, and I quickly went about putting them into pairs so there would be one Zambian and one Canadian together. The boys handed out there Canadian pins, and started to make small talk. As we walked to the bus stop to head out to Kviberg the you could see each pair chatting up a storm. The friendly game was just that, the boys played with a lot of respect for each other, and played some great soccer.
After the game, we headed back to Heden and from there we went to lunch, and then out to the Boys U12 Final held at Gamla Ullevi. The BP team was simply too good for Pequininos De Jockey from Brazil and ran out 6-2 winners. We then watched the Girls U19 finals, which ended 2-2 and 10-9 in Pks for the IK Grand Bode. The games we watched were both great quality and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Dinner was a Taco Salad, which was very good, one of the best meals so far. After dinner the boys got ready to head out to the Gothia Cup Disco…. there was a 45 minute lineup when the boys arrived there, and finally got in around 8. Tim and I went to check on them around 9 and the bouncer who let us skip the line said there were 3200 people in the disco at that point with about another 1000 to get in within the next 45 minutes. The boys were having a great time, and continued to until they left at 11pm.
Saturday is the finals day…I’ve already picked out the best games in my opinion of the day and cant wait to go watch!!
DAY 4 AT THE GOTHIA CUP:
Well…yesterday was our first day off from soccer in a very long time. We let the boys sleep in and then headed for a Breakfast at McDonalds. From there we went to the Heden Center to watch the Round of 16 Boys U12 Matches. Its was disappointing watching some of the teams still in the tournament but the boys enjoyed watching some of the different teams from around the world. A Zambian team was playing a team from Lebanon and lost a heartbreaker just like us. I spoke to the coach of the Zambian team right after the game and have setup a friendly for Friday Morning! So that is what most of the boys have been looking forward to.
With more time than normal at the Heden Center the boys made good use of their time, playing cage soccer, watching the freestyle jugglers and their favourite Sumo soccer which is hilarious to watch and had everyone in laughing fits. Most of the boys have also been through the intersport tent and picked up a pair of 3/4 pants (puma of course 😉 ) but each day they have new deals so everyone usually goes to the tent everyday.
From Heden we went back to the school for a quick lunch and then out to Kviberg where there are 23 Full Fields and 2 Mini Fields in the complex. We went to watch IF Elfsborg vs. Blackburn Celtic Youth, and the game finished 4-1 for Elfsborg. That club along with BP have become my two favourite clubs to watch play soccer so we are always on the hunt to find out where they are playing. Although it was a trek out to Kviberg all the boys and parents were thrilled with the quality of play in the game.
Once we made it back we watched a few round of 8 U12 games. The team we lost to made it all the way to Quarters before losing to Bristol City U12s 4-2. What was very nice was the coach recognized some of the boys and approached a parent to say that we provided them with much better competition than they had in the Round of 16 and Round of 8. In our age group there have been 3 teams that I believe are class sides…. BP Svart (same club as the team we lost to), IF Elfsborg, Bristol City. We are all hoping for a BP vs. Bristol City but with the draw the way it is, they will meet in the SFinals, so my guess is that whoever wins that Semi-Final will win the tournament.
After the games we all went our own way for Dinner, and the boys went back to Heden until 1030pm and then came back and played cards with our hosts at the school.
Looking forward to some soccer tomorrow!
Super Eagles vs. Breakthrough Chipmamba (Friendly – 945pm)
DAY 3 AT THE GOTHIA CUP:
We started off the day knowing that if we can beat Hassleholms IF we only have one more game to play that day versus our Round of 32 opponent.
Hassleholms came into the game with 2 wins and a GD of 23, but the boys had really taken to heart our post game talk yesterday and were focused from when they woke up on the game. It was pretty awesome to see the dedication the boys had this morning, waking up at 745, the focus they showed at breakfast, on the train and before the game. They came to play! In the first minute of play, you could tell the boys were on their game and would be a force. After the game 9 goals to the good later, the boys proved just how well they can play. The game was quite spectacular, as they played against such strong opposition, with each player really stepping up for the team. The dedication shown off the field prior to the game, was truly matched by their determination on the field for the full course of the game. Personally, having watched this team play it two prior games I was ready for a real battle but the boys did not want to have any of it, as they blew them out of the water first half.
After the game, the opposition coaches were very complementary towards the boys as were a number of fans that watched us play. The boys enjoyed their success for a few minutes post game and then started the task of refocusing for our Round of 32 Opponent either Blackburn Celtic Youth or BP Kalvesta (BP short for Brommapojkarna which is the club that has won the gothia cup more than any other club). We grabbed lunch at the Inlag SportsComplex. The Lunch is in the cafeteria of the high school nearby which is quite spectacular as it has won two awards for design/architecture. The school and the facilities are second to none. After a good lunch the boys went out in the common area in front of the library and put their heads down for 60 minutes in an attempt to get some rest and keep out of the hot sun. Without any hesitation the boys put their heads down, no talking, no noise making…. I was very proud of the discipline they showed. After we woke them up, we went through a quick stretching session followed by a quick jam session of their favourite tracks from my iPhone. We headed out to the fields and the warm-ups went smoothly.
BP started the game strongly, controlling the first few minutes as both teams settled, and immediately we knew this was the battle we had been waiting for. Their skill and composure on the ball was excellent as they played themselves into the game. About 8 minutes into the first half, they scored a well placed free kick into the upper 90. It was their first real attempt at goal and instantly put us in a hole. Realizing that they needed to play THEIR game, the boys started to settle down and move the ball at will, quick, short and simple passing combinations allowed the us to start dictating the pace of the game, and put BP very much on the backfoot. We finally after 4-5 shots over a 3 to 4 minute span they took out one of the boys on a semi-breakaway and we were justly awarded a PK which we calmly put home. Half-time score was 1-1. The second half started off the same, as we push forward and looked to build up our possession in the opposition half. BP was content to try and catch us on a quick counter which with the exception of some excellent defending numbers down, could have very well put in a goal or two. Ten minutes into the second half they scored on a quick and decisive counter attack. Rattled, the boys took a few minutes to get their flow going again, and we pushed even harder to try and tie up the game. With about 10 minutes to play, a great free flowing move was ended by an excellent 1v1 move and an even better finish. The last ten minutes went by in a flash, as we attacked as much as we could to try and break the deadlock however, our attempts were thwarted with some excellent last ditch defending and commitment from the BP defenders as they blocked shot after shot, some good saves by their Monstrous GK, a few unsuccessful PK appeals and the bounces not falling the Super Eagles ways. The game went straight to PKs where we were unsuccessful losing 3-2.
The boys were heartbroken, as was everyone else. Credit to the BP team and coaching staff for playing a great game of footy, with lots of passion, physicality, determination and skill. The boys were gutted for a very long time, with each of them reduced to tears. In a just world they would have deserved more, and looking back I don’t know what else we could have done to score but we just could not find the back of the net. As with PKs its always harsh on the losing team and those that miss, however its apart of the beautiful game we play. It was very difficult addressing the boys after the loss, I was pretty choked up myself, as they played their hearts out. We just sat for 10 minutes with no one saying anything. I could not ask for anything more from each boys there. I am immensely proud of them for the soccer they played, the adversity they overcame and their desire to be the best. The opposition coach was kind in his words after the game, as he said “Please tell the boys that I feel sad for the way they feel right now, they deserved more.”
Nonetheless, we finished off the day by eating at the High School at the Inlag Complex in Kungsbacka, showering and then heading to the Heden center where the boys played World Cup with some Girls from a U14 Swedish team for a good 2 hours, and finished it off with watching a fantastic B16 game between a team from Columbia and a team from Sweden.
Inside the boys are gutted, but on the train back they all agreed to make the next 3 days here in Sweden the best 3 days they can. Tomorrow I think we will be doing a lot of travelling and game hunting as we are trying to get out to some awesome games tomorrow.
Will write tomorrow….
DAY 2 AT THE GOTHIA CUP: A TIE, & LEADERS PARTY
Well, the excitement of the last three days took their toll today. The boys did not have their best game today by any means. However, the adversity that they faced during the game and the situation they now find themselves in will definitely be a learning lesson.
Kungsbacka went down in the first few minutes, and the opposition effectively killed the rest of the first half with the exception of a great striker by one of the boys. So they went into the half tied. Possession, shots, shots on goal, was definitely in our favour however a late call for a pk tied the game up for Kungsbacka and that’s where the game ended.
Personally, the boys have shown great resolve refocusing after the game knowing that they must win tomorrow to finish first in the group. If we lose, we will end up in second place in the group and then forced to play a Round of 64 game instead of a bye into the Round of 32. Should we win the round of 64 we then have to play 3 games tomorrow finishing off with a Round of 32 game late at night.
Its been great to see the boys work together to pick each other up and start to re-focus. Both Tim and Myself were off to the Leaders Party tonight for all the coaches, and what an awesome party it was. A few small presentations and ceremonies, the action started, with free food and lots of beer for all those drinking the Band was great and it took maybe 20 minutes until the Scandinavium was rocking. For the next 90 minutes everyone was on the chairs or tables dancing, with so many different styles and genres covered it was quite spectacular.
Looking forward to tomorrow…..its termed the day of death, because to get through tomorrow will be quite something!
While we were at the leaders party, the boys went to the Heden Centre with Gary and Craig.
The summary of their evening is as follows…. When we first got their they played cage soccer with guys from Sweden, that were about 17 took a picture with them and had fun. Then, they went over to another soccer field and played with guys from Malaysia or Indonesia and took a picture with them. They then stayed and played world cup after which they went to McDonalds to buy McFlurry´s. They went across the street and played more soccer in courtyard of where we eat. The boys were in bed by 1030.
DAY 1 RECAP:
Today has been a day for the ages. Probably one of my personal favourite days ever.
The boys were very excited for the first game today, and definitely had trouble sitting still both at breakfast and on the train. Our trip to the fields in Kungsbacka (Inlag Complex) was much easier and comfortable today having been there yesterday. The only hiccup was missing the 951am train by seconds. We caught the 1021 out and there was a bus waiting at the train station to take us to our destination 5 minutes away.
The boys watched a few teams in our age group, and noticed the definite difference in the styles of play. We saw some immensely talented individuals, and a few great goals. The boys excitement before the game was hard to contain, and the warm-ups were full of nervous energy.
The game started….and the final result was a Super Eagles Victory! The boys played absolutely fantastic, as good as I could possibly have hoped for. With the halves being 20 minutes the pace of the game was fast, and their ball movement was superb….a great first game.
The opposition coaches were very complimentary at the end of the game, and were more than happy to take a picture with us (thanks to Anne Wiebe for the photo).
The highlight of the day was the opening ceremonies….all I can say is WOW!
52000 spectators were there today and the ceremonies last 2 hours on the dot. Each country that attended the Gothia cup was represented and paraded around the stadium. There was a live band, and a number of different singers covering a lot of different songs, cultural songs, and more. The boys were blown away and I think we were all sad to leave the stadium. The show was the best live show/performance/concert I have ever been to. The feedback from the parents was all positive and one said the cost of the flight was worth it for this show. We had a large contingent of Brazilians in front of us (we were about 13 rows back from the track/field) and 2 German Teams behind us. The boys were caught in between a constant barrage of dancing and singing from both groups and loved it.
The MC for the night who also sang a few songs was brilliant, as were all the performers and hundreds of girls who were dancing throughout the show. It all ended with rhythmic fireworks, which were pretty spectacular.
With the boys starved, we headed to subway after, and it was quite awesome to see so many different teams parading down aveny street (where the subway, and McDonalds are). The boys pretty much know there way around the core of Gothenburg as they led the way to the Subway.
Finally managed to get them remotely in their beds, at 1115pm. They are still on an emotional high from the game and buzzing from the opening ceremonies…hopefully they keep it together for tomorrow!
Super Eagles vs. Kungsbacka IF KO at 12pm local time!!
Wish us luck
DAY 1 AT THE GOTHIA CUP:
This is a very rushed blog post today. I have about 10 minutes before we head to breakfast.
Yesterday was a great day. We walked up to the parents for breakfast and from there went straight to Kungsbacka where the Inlag fields are where we are playing all our round robin games. We walked to the Liseberg Station caught the first train out to Kungsbacka and then talked a bus driver into dropping us off near the fields (free of charge!)
The facility (Inlag) is beautiful….11 Fields 9 Full Fields(7 grass, 2 turf), 2 Minis and a clubhouse and cafeteria. The boys were blown away by the facilities. We ended up training for about 100 minutes and finally managed to convince the boys we need to leave.
The afternoon some of the boys visisted the Heden Centre where we watched a team from South Africa train, you have to love their ryhthmic warm-ups, and on the other side was a boys U13 team from Estonia. The field behind where we were had 2 Spanish Teams working on set plays.
We went to the intersport tent after to checkout what they had on offer, and followed that up with a quick game of Soccer Congo Style, which the boys effectively beat a few swedish boys who they were playing against.
Food was good for dinner, and we don’t have to go too far away to eat which is great about 100m. Given the choice the boys wanted to go back to Heden to hang out. We spent about an hour there, chatting with anyone we could find, and taking a few group pictures. After we got back they had an hour to themselves which they spent outside playing around with the soccer ball.
We are up now, its about 830am Monday morning……
Kick off in 4 hours and 30 mins!!!
Wish us luck!
DAY 2 IN SWEDEN – TOURNAMENT STARTS TOMORROW:
Today was quite the day, we have been on the go since 8am this morning, and the boys have just turned in at 1115pm.
We are now in our school for the week.
We have the…..
Cruz Azul U16 boys across the hall from us.
German U18 FC Rehanian Boys team,
Brazilian Club Golden Boys U18, 16, 12
Dynamo Kiev U14 Boys
Anorga K.E from Spain B14, B16, G17
We are the only team here tonight, so its quite peaceful here, and the computer is free so I figured its the best time to blog.
We woke up early and got the room cleaned up and ready to move out. We then headed to our new digs for the week, and forgetting the more laid back nature of people here, we were at the school at 905am and waited for a few until the doors were opened up. We are pleased with the room and school we have, it is literally in the centre of the city. Pretty unbelieveable, all the sights and attractions are no more than 5 to 10 minute walk from us.
From there we went for breakfast up to the parents at the Hostel and then down to the school to setup our matresses and get everything organized. That went a lot quicker than expected with the boys motivated about getting out and finally training. We went to one of the main hubs of the Gothia Cup, the Heden Centre. It was quite spectacular to be the only team out there training in the morning. There are a number of fields both full and mini (about 6-8) and all turf! With the rain from the morning, the fields played very very fast, and it took some time to shake off the rust but once they got going it was a great deal of fun.
From there we went to lunch at the Hostel and decided somewhat last minute to go watch the IFK Goteborg vs. BK Halmstad at Gama Ullevi. We rushed to the stadium and somehow managed to get a group discount at 60SEK about 8USD per ticket for 21 of us who attended. What a game! We got in about 15mins into the start and were immediately blown away by the atmosphere. For a number of the boys that is the first real high level professional game they have ever watched live, and what a great game with IFK running out 3-0 winners, after a very very entertaining game. Every boy was just soaking in the atmosphere and after game celebrations. From there we went back to the school, changed and trained outside for another 30 mins to work on a few things we did not have a chance to earlier.
Dinner was the meal of the day for sure! Today we designated as our evening out meal so all the families went out a small greek restaurant about 100m from the Hostel that we have walked by 1000 times now. What a great meal, the food and portions were amazing!
That rounded out an amazing day…
800am Wake Up
815am Walking to Hostel for Bkfast
930 – 1030 Finding our way to the Inlag Fields in Kungsbacka which is where we are playing all our games in the tournament and approx. 30 mins south of the city
12-1 Tram back to the Hostel
2-4 Chilling at the Heden Centre – Get our Gothia Cup Swag, Watch other teams train, overall just relax for a bit.
5-6 Snack Shopping with Parents for the Week
6-7 Teambuiding Game
8-10 Movie Night in Gothenburg (also known as our Room at the School)
10-11 Prep for Sleeping
11 Lights out
On a personal note….(thoughts and observations)
I thought the training was very good today, the boys were really excited to be out training. The level of play really picked up as the session went on. It was nice to have some pedestrians stop by and watch the boys for a few minutes.
Intersport is the big sporting chain here, and we ended up picking up a few balls for the boys use during the tournament, reasonably priced. The store is definitely expensive.
Everything here in general is quite expensive, but nothing drastic.
Messages from Super Eagles or their Parents…
From Barry Heff – Grant … help me!!
From the Boys – Woodsy goodluck tonight in your game
To all our readers….our Host here at the school Neidy says hi.
Take care to all….off to try and sleep
DAY 1 IN SWEDEN – 2 DAYS TILL THE TOURNAMENT STARTS:
The Super Eagles are officially in Sweden. I am writing this post from the Leaders Room at our accomodation for the night. And I say that because 9am tomorrow morning we will be moving literally 20 meters away from the Burgardens Annex into the school we will be staying at for the rest of the Tournament.
It was definitely good to see many familiar faces in a different country. I know the boys were excited to see each other and quickly struck up a game of pickup in the courtyard at the SGS Veckobostader (where the parents are staying). The boys ate a good pasta dinner there and then we all made our way to the Burgardens Annex, which is about 1.3kms from the SGS. The weather is fantastic here, its just past midnight at its still shorts and tshirt weather outside. We settled down quickly and got working on our air mattresses which with a hand pump took an extremely long time to get all 13 up and ready to sleep on.
With all the boys turned in for the night, I wanted to update the blog and let everyone know we are all safe and sound.
On a personal note…
It was great to hear all the different stories from the families of their travels to Gothenburg. I have been up since 4am this morning, and have been on the go non stop travelling to heathrow then shuttle to stanstead airport, ryanair flight to Oslo Rygge, then train from Rygge to Halden, and then Bus from Halden to Goteborg. We all had some interesting stories to share from our experiences.
There are a number of teams staying here for the night before we all disperse to our locations for the rest of the tournament. A number of teams who are here right now have been here previously and have been surprisingly kind and helpful when we have asked questions. The U16 boys team from Portugal set off some fireworks in the courtyard around 11 … fyi the sun did not set till after 11pm today!! pretty crazy
I will be uploading some pictures the first chance I have. We await the arrival of the Dunbars tomorrow and the team will be complete.
Sched for Tomorrow:
8am Wake Up and clean up room ready to move
9am Move to new school location, player check-in
11 to 1 Training at the Heden Center
230-630 Team Activity (Sightseeing Downtown Goteborg)
10pm Lights Out
Thats all for now…..
LESS THAN 4 DAYS TO GO:
As I write this new post in the Super Eagles blog we are officially under the 4 day mark until the start of the Gothia Cup…
We had our last training camp prep session yesterday morning and all the coaches who were there agree it was a good session. The boys worked hard, moved the ball well and enjoyed themselves.
Everything is coming together really quickly for this trip. With one family already in Europe, three more players and the Coach will be arriving in Europe tomorrow with everyone meeting up Friday night in Gothenburg.
Thanks to all the well wishers. Speaking on behalf of the team we appreciate everyones support tremendously!!
QUICK UPDATE – 5 DAYS TO GO:
Most of the boys will be leaving tomorrow.
So the tournament is nearly here!
23 DAYS TILL IT STARTS:
We are 23 days away from the opening ceremonies in Sweden.
The schedule for our matches in Sweden have come out. I think everyone has been extremely/shocked by the number.
In our age group alone there are 35 pools/groups of 4-5 teams totalling 142 teams in our Age Group….pretty amazing!
UNDER ONE MONTH TO GO:
So we are officially 26 days away from the opening ceremonies….. pretty awesome if you ask me.
The boys hardwork over the past 3 weeks paid off on our visit to Windsor, Ontario this past weekend, where they had a brilliant first half and moving the ball very well. After no games for 3 weeks, some rust was inevitable but the boys persevered and came back from 2-1 down off another spectacular free kick.
We have 3 more league games before we leave for Sweden + our Team Training Camp.
so long for now….