In early April this year, Monifieth Athletic 2004’s travelled to Spain to take part in the Football Cup Barcelona tournament, an internationally recognised tournament for various age groups, with almost 100 teams taking part. The teams come from all over the world including Indonesia and USA as well as Europe.
The games are played over two days and our boys opened their tournament with a closely contested match against the home club, FCB Escola, eventually losing 3-1. A draw with Lurgan Town FC Vapours led the team to a crunch game against Soccer Elite FA from England with Monifieth needing a win to progress to the quarter finals. The determination of the boys came through and they thoroughly deserved their 3-2 victory against a team of players picked from a FA Academy. There are no individuals singled out as this was a great team performance. Every player (and coach ) contributed to the result and were worthy of the applause at the end.
The team returned to the venue on Sunday looking to build on the previous day’s performance with the first match against a team from Japan, Europlus International. The boys and adults were confident despite the Japanese selecting a squad of 10 players from over 500 applicants. MAFC moved into a commanding lead, although Europlus got themselves back into the game to trail by a single goal with a few minutes to go. Our boys held out until the final minute when the opposition equalised (4-4) with what was the last kick of normal time (or Fergie time as the people with more accurate watches than the referee described it ). Gordon Pelling now rallied the boys for penalty kicks and there was no shortage of brave kids prepared to face the pressure of taking a spot kick. Unfortunately the result went to Japan who won 3-2 after a really tense time when the result could have gone either way.
Two more games followed and the whole team had to put their disappointment behind them to take on Finnish opposition in the first match. An interesting warm up routine by the Finns included forward rolls. A defeat in the last game came after the loss to Kapylan Pallo which meant Monifieth finished 8th. This is a great result and every parent who saw their son play was justifiably proud of them.
The players graced the tournament with some excellent football and sporting behaviour and are a credit to their parents, the coaching personnel, the Club and themselves.