November 9, 2017

An Experience of a Lifetime

We were pleased to have supported the Guernsey ‘Star Trophy’ squad earlier this year who travelled to Sweden to participate in the annual Gothia Cup. We were grateful to their coaches who produced this report for us upon their return.

‘The Guernsey ‘Star Trophy’ squad left for Sweden at the start of the summer, full of excitement, responsibility, pride and a few nerves in anticipation of representing their island on a world stage. All the schools on the Island had representation within the squad, including the first player from Le Murier High School, Steffan Timms. Another well documented first was Maya Le Tissier who is the first girl to represent the ‘Star Trophy’ since it began in 1921!

The tournament’s opening ceremony was something every previous player has spoken about at length. Excitement levels were high – for the players, knowing they would be walking around the stadium, was thrilling. We entered the stadium, Maya flying the flag high, phones out recording the experience. The staff might well have been more excited than the players. As if the experience could have got any better, our very own Seb Sheppard was selected to open the ceremony by reading out the Gothia Oath in English and officially declare the tournament open.

Guernsey Schools was the only club from Guernsey that had teams playing during Gothia Cup 2017. They participated with one team in Boys 16.

In addition to Guernsey Schools, 179 other teams from 33 different countries played in Boys 16. They were divided into 44 different groups – Guernsey Schools could be found in Group 5 together with SA United SC, Örgryte IS and Kvarnby IK.

After qualifying for the A plate with a last minute winner scored by Lucas Ozanne, the squad were excited by the prospect of who they could be playing against next, and where in the world the team might come from.

We played the American team CCL Soccer Club – a team which was selected from 40 schools from within an area of America. It is always a gentle reminder of how small an island we live on, but how lucky we are to have all of the great opportunities that are available thanks to the support given by so many.

Guernsey Schools continued to Play off A after finishing 2nd place in Group 5. In the playoff we made it to 1/64 Final, but lost it against CCL Soccer Club with 0-10. In the Final, Cap Jeune 31 won over V. Frölunda IF and became the winner of Play off A in Boys 16.

Gothia Cup leaves a lasting impression on everyone involved; the sense of community, of everyone’s love of the beautiful game, the friendships made, and experiences of winning and losing. When there were no more official matches to be played, talk quickly turned to who can be played in a friendly. We found a few teams that we could play and we found more and more teams playing football on the available pitches as fewer and fewer teams were left in the competition.

In conclusion, the Gothia Cup was an amazing experience for everyone involved and to have one of our own players open the tournament was the icing on the cake. The players returned to the island with stories, pride, and an experience of a lifetime in the knowledge of having been challenged by some of the best in the world. Already in the early stages of this new season we have several players making their under 18 debut which leaves us as staff enjoying watching their progress continue.

As a squad we would like to thank Ray Lowe’s Sporting Foundation and others for their support without which this experience could never have happened.’

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