The second week of the summer holidays saw pupils Rohan B and Noah D from Claremont Fan Court School, head to Gothenburg to compete at the Gothia World Youth Cup. They were travelling to the tournament having been selected for the Prep Schools’ Lions, the Independent Schools regional representative football team.

The tournament had been postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 so the trip comprised of a mixture of players selected from competitive trials held last autumn and also some players who had been selected last season but unable to attend.

Players from over 100 schools had attended the trials so selection in itself was an achievement. The squads attending a Training Camp in the Easter holidays and headed to Gothenburg full of excitement.

The Gothia World Youth Cup is the world’s biggest youth event and is larger than the Commonwealth Games staged in Birmingham this summer.

58,000 people, including many parents, family and supporters of the players, were in the famous Ullevi Stadium for the Opening Ceremony.

Rohan and Noah represented the Under 14 Lions Team with a huge amount of enthusiasm and pride with Rohan playing left back and Noah marshalling the midfield position. Both boys demonstrated their strength, skill and ability to adapt to their new positions and contributed positively at the outset. Their opening game was played in the fantastic Prioritet Serneke Indoor Arena which was duly won and after a defeat and a closely drawn final group game, their team entered the Plate Competition. Injury unfortunately succumbed to Noah after the third game as the games were coming thick and fast and as early as 8 am in some instances. Rohan featured in the majority of the next three games against a combination of Swedish and South Korean opposition, the latter dispatched 7-1 with aplomb followed by a quarter final tussle with Lerums IS from Sweden. With the match all square at full time, the Lions were cruelly knocked out on penalties but emerged with pride and reflection on what might have been. A fantastic opportunity for Rohan and Noah to be involved with, particularly playing with and against talented players from all corners of the globe with respect and sportsmanship. They both returned to England better for the experience.

For the parents who went it was equally exciting.  Quality football played in the right spirit and a thoroughly enjoyable week.

Hopefully other pupils will get the opportunity to attend the trials and a chance of selection for this incredible experience.