By Kyle Bernard
On Sunday the 16th of July, our under 15 squad set off in pursuit of the Gothia Cup with Kinetic coaches Kyle Bernard and Bradley Wilson.
Taking a squad of mainly U14s to play in the B15 division, we would have one of the youngest squads of the 203 teams in our age group.
Monday begins the tour with us having a late afternoon kick off; with a good breakfast and lunch, team meeting and match prep sorted, we set out to face Pitea IF from Sweden. We couldn’t have asked for a better start, winning 4-1 and dominating the game comfortably.
The following day saw us travel to face the US team Roanoke Star. The game was at a stalemate for its entirety. In the last minute we won a free kick in the opposing half. Looking for the win, we pushed forward to steal a late winner, however from a brisk counter attack we conceded and lost the game 1-0.
This set us up for the final game of the group against Kallhalls FC, an early 8:00 KO. A win sees us through to the A plate, anything else puts us onto the B plate. In the opening 5 minutes we went 1-0 up with a brilliant turn and finish from Malik Kubeyinje! It was a brilliant start. Dominating the game through Cameron Gbadebo and Ryan O’Donoghue, it looked like we would see the game out… Until the last 5 minutes where Kallhalls burst down our right hand side and after a goal line clearance, Kallhalls equalised. The game ends 1-1 and the boys are devastated.
We had to pick ourselves up very quickly as this result meant we had another game in 5 hours in the round of 64 of the B plate. In this game we cruised to a 3-0 win against another Swedish side, Balinge FC which featured an outstanding Goal From Kamarl Grant.
The next day came, and it was the round of 32 that awaited. A comfortable 4-0 saw us through to the round of 16 which was played the same day at 7:10pm which meant another quick turnaround, meal and mental preparation for the boys.
Solleftea GIF FF, possibly the best side we had yet to face, stood between us and the quarter final, so we knew we would have to be at our best. After conceding early in the match, we managed to turn the game on its head leading 3-1 with 8 minutes to go. With emotions high and the game moving at 100mph, disaster struck. The opposition receive 2 penalties and capitalise on both. The game ends 3-3 and it’s straight to penalties to decide which team progresses. With some world class penalties being scored, we unfortunately failed to convert on our 5th strike resulting in heartbreak for the Kinetic Group as the tour comes to an end at the round of 16.
The last few days were seen out with team bonding occasions, visits to watch the finals and reviewing the tour. Memories were made, and so many moments will stick with this young group of players. A big well done to the players, staff and support of parents. Until next year!!