Gothia Youth World Cup

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Having been selected for the Prep School Lions’ side (an independent schools representative football team), we got the opportunity to head to Gothenburg to compete at the Gothia World Youth Cup at the start of the summer holidays.

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 players who had been selected last season. 

Players from over 100 schools had attended the trials so selection in itself was a huge achievement. We attended 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 was 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. It was massive! One of our favourite moments was when everyone around us cheered as England were announced and came out to do a lap of the stadium. 

There were 59 nations there and 1603 teams. 4131 matches were played throughout the whole tournament! The football itself was fast and furious against teams which in many cases are professional academies and feeders for some of Europe’s top senior sides. 

Each team had many strengths, but every game we stayed strong. The standard was very high, but despite having a rough start and losing our first game we won our other group matches and progressed to the main Cup knockout competition. We unfortunately got knocked out of the cup by a very good Icelandic team but it was all an amazing experience – the atmosphere, the football and the chance to meet new people from different countries. The atmosphere was incredible! 

Each morning in the beginning we took the tram to multiple pitches either to play a match or to train. We stayed in a local school in Gothenburg, where my team were sleeping on blow-up mattresses in a gym hall! 

We would either go out to the local pizzeria or walk to the local shop to buy dinner. What an amazing year to play, in light of the women’s England team winning the 2022 Euros! Hopefully other students will get the opportunity to attend the trials and a chance of selection for this incredible experience. 

Gothenburg is such a lovely city and is definitely on our favourite trips list! We enjoyed it so much and are so grateful for all the wonderful memories and friendships.

Jess and Susie, Lower IV

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