In 2015 Barry Comprehensive pupils had the fantastic experience of being part of the Gothia Cup that is held annually in Gothenburg Sweden. It is the biggest Youth football tournament in the world, playing host to hundreds of teams from over 80 countries and the standard of the players is a Premier League scouts dream! In July 2017 we returned and it was bigger and better than ever!
Before the tournament started there was an opening ceremony which is hosted in a 30,000 capacity stadium. Each country has one team representing them, who carry the flag around the stadium and are introduced to the crowd. Barry Comprehensive School had this honour and wore an array of fun hats as we waved to the crowd to let them know the Welsh had arrived!!
Once the opening ceremony was over, the tournament began. The schedule was brutal. There was three league games on each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then every day after there were potentially up to two knock out games all the way to the final. We finished 3rd in our group after defeats to strong English and Spanish sides, whilst somehow contriving to only draw with Swedish opponents who we dominated from start to finish but simply couldn’t score against.
The results meant that our first knockout game was against the International School of Kenya. We played superbly and recorded a 3-nil victory with goals from Jack Cutajar, Ryan O’Donovan and Jack Pascoe and we progressed into the next round against IRFK Olby of Sweden. Although we took an early lead through Jack Pascoe, a dubious offside flag denied us a clear second goal, before the Swedes scored just before the final whistle to take the match to a dreaded penalty shoot out. The lottery didn’t fall in our favour and we exited the competition disappointed with the result, but ultimately proud of our achievements and that we had represented our school, town and country with passion and determination.
The last day saw the Barry Comp tour awards with the ‘players player of the tour’ being awarded to Jack Pascoe and ‘coaches player of the tour’ being awarded to Jaydon Colston. All of the players were exceptional in their approach and played a massive part in making this an experience that none of us will forget.
The team would also like to thank all of the local companies that supported us throughout the trip, but especially Mr Andrew Roberts of ICD Roof Solutions who supplied us with kit including strips and training gear.