July 14th 2019, marked the start of our journey to Gothenburg, Sweden to participate in the annual Gothia Cup. Along this incredible path, the boys achieved a tremendous amount of personal development on and off the pitch, strengthening the bonds between themselves and gaining the experience of playing against the toughest opponents they have faced to date whilst participating in the U15’s category, with our team having the average age of just 12 1⁄2! That alone being an incredible achievement, the boys did not stop impressing there, whether it was with a ball at their feet or a badge on their chest, they achieved all of it whilst staying true to the identity of Alliance Football Club.
As you can imagine, the physical difference between ages played a vital role in performance. However, the boys proved that the mental difference plays an even bigger part in the bigger picture. Strong, brave and loyal to one another, the young lads showed true grit and determination to compete against professional academies in what was a series of physically demanding games that not only taught us how football at the highest level is played, but also reminding the team of what it means to dig in and work for your result together as one. Leaders emerged from the dressing room and stood up to the occasion, players exceeded their expectations by showing incredible bravery in all their games and the strong chemistry in the team was evident on the pitch, emphasising the genuine sense of family that runs through the veins of Alliance FC. A lionhearted defence, elegant midfield and bold attack came together to produce one of the best performances by the boys we have ever seen. Resulting in a hard-fought 1- victory over (team name), a respectable team in their own right.
Nevertheless, the personal development was not limited to what happens on the pitch; Respect, discipline, organisation and punctuality were all on show from start to finish from the players. Remaining true to the values of the club every morning with Alliance Reads, which consisted of 30 minutes of reading after breakfast. Incredibly, this exceptional behaviour was the result of the extended freedom they were given on the trip. Players were granted the luxury of exploring the city, eating at restaurants of their choosing, socialising with the other teams from around the world and be free to act on their schedule. With this strong sense of responsibility at the palms of their hands, boys with the average age of 12 demonstrated the maturity of professional footballers to be on time to every game, every meeting and every Alliance Reads session, doing so in an exceptional attitude that we cannot fault and can only applaud. Of course, it is this level of maturity amongst this group of boys that made the trip to Liseberg theme park all the more exciting.
The trust we were able to put in the boys allowed for a relaxed nature to the trip that makes for an incredible day out for the whole team that was filled with laughter and memories to bring home for a lifetime.
Overall the boys took home an experience that will craft them into stronger and wiser footballers for the future to come and that alone is more valuable than any piece of silverware they could have picked up on the trip and with the work ethic we saw from everyone involved, it is no doubt in my mind that the Gothia Cup has not seen the last of these boys just yet.
As for every breakfast, lunch and dinner we shared together, every walk we took together and every match we played together as a team, the relationships and sense of family grew along with it and that is something we pride ourselves on at Alliance FC and It was an honour to attend the Gothia Cup and an even bigger honour for all of us to represent club. Here’s to next year, Gothenburg!