At the end of the summer term the Barry Comprehensive School U13 football team travelled to Gothenburg, Sweden to compete in the Youth World Cup. The tournament, which attracted teams from over 80 countries, is considered the premier youth tournament in the world and provided a superb week for our football mad team as they looked to challenge the world’s best players.
A fifteen strong squad arrived on Saturday prior the start of the tournament and played a friendly match against a local team before witnessing an unbelievable opening ceremony attended by 40,000 people.
The group stage of the tournament saw three games against Swedish opposition and a gritty encounter with Georgian opponents. Games were of a high quality and parents were even able to watch the games through live streaming over the internet.
It was a steep learning curve for the boys, but they adapted quickly to achieve a respectable 3rd place finish in the group and advanced into to the round of 128 in the knock out stage. The boys then went on a superb run beating two more Swedish teams before bowing out in the round of 16 against representatives from the host nation.
It was a herculean effort by the boys to advance so far into the competition, sometimes playing two games a day and coping admirably with frequently travelling to and from games. In the end the team simply had no more to give and the competition physios had their hands full patching the boys up!
Throughout the week the boys had opportunities to visit the Heden centre which played host to the elite competition and even got to have photographs with Newcastle United players and coaching staff.
The boys returned home after eight days away to a hero’s welcome from their families safe in the knowledge that this would be an experience they will never forget.