The Gothia Cup youth football tournament is the largest football tournament in the world. It has been held in Gothenberg Sweden, every year since 1975. In 2011 it was held from 18th to the 23rd July. This year 1567 teams from 11 to 19 years old took part. There were around 35,200 players from 72 nations such as the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Syria, Jordan, India, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the USA; about 40% were girls’ teams.
On Monday 18/7 evening we went to the opening ceremony at the Ullevi stadium. 52,000 people attended with one chosen team elected to represent their country and walk out on the stadium floor. Unfortunately we were not picked but we watched a fantastic show which included a song from the Swedish Eurovision contestant, the whole crowd playing Guitar Hero, the Swedish women’s World Cup third placed team and fireworks.
In our age group there were around 150 teams; we played a total of 7 matches including 3 in one day! We made the last 16 of the “A” Competition and were the highest placed English team. In fact on goal difference we apparently finished 9th!
It was a memorable experience that I will remember for years and which I would like to repeat. It was challenging competing against sides from different countries around the world and interesting to see their different styles of play. I feel that the tournament has helped me develop as a player and as a person. It was a fantastic opportunity to go to Sweden however because of the football commitments it was difficult to see as much of the country as I would have liked to. As a team and as individuals we learnt a lot from this year’s experience and hopefully, next year
I would like to return to the Gothia Cup to represent my country, school and team.