More Academy success on the continentOn the day that we celebrated the life of our Academy Manager Eamonn Dolan, our Under-14 Academy squad were making more waves on the continent by reaching the final of the IberCup in Esbjerg, Denmark.
The competition is one of the most important World Youth Football Tournaments – more than 800 of the world’s best teams from 60 countries competed in the IberCup series of tournaments this year, which have taken place in Spain, Portugal, Denmark and USA. Our young players have once again represented us proudly by reaching the final last Saturday.
In the group stage, our U14s faced counterparts from Danish trio of clubs Vejle Boldklub, Silkeborg and Århus, as well as Norwegian outfit Snarøya, and finished comfortably on top of the table by beating them all without conceding a goal.
That meant a place in the quarter-final on Friday morning against FC Midtjylland, whose senior squad are regular competitors in European competition… and our boys came out on top in a penalty shoot-out after playing out a 2-2 draw.
The semi-final was settled in normal time later that evening – Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon were vanquished by our boys, who showed grit and quality to earn a 1-0 win and a place in their final against FC Tokyo the following day!
Our boys could hold their heads up high when they returned to Berkshire with the silver medals – undefeated in normal time in all of their games, they held the Japanese side to a 2-2 draw in the final, and only the lottery of penalties prevented them from taking home the top prize.
And our Under-12s, who were also in Scandinavia to compete in their age-group, also had a very impressive tournament – they were eventually knocked out in the semi-final by eventual winners Anderlecht.
That follows the success of our Under-11s in the Estoril leg of the IberCup last month; our boys were winners of their age group when they travelled to Portugal, beating Japanese club Yokohama Marinos in the final.
Our congratulations goes to all of our youngsters for their achievements in the IberCup, and we are delighted and proud that they have once again represented our club and Academy so well during their time in Denmark.