|Loch Lomond Festival opens in style|
Author: Greig Robertson
Click here for photo gallery from Day 1.
Click here for tournament results from Day 1.
The Loch Lomond Tournament is without a doubt one of the most attractive youth tournaments in the Scotland, bringing in over a hundred different teams from ten countries across the world, including the USA, Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago.
Since its birth twelve years ago, the tournament has gotten bigger, more competitive and more glamorous in terms of the facilities on offer to these young teams.
Balloch, Loch Lomond, originally hosted the tournament for a number of years, before being moved to Stirling University due to heavy interest from foreign teams.
Past tournaments really have served up some thrilling games and some worthy winners, so it will be no surprise that 2012 will be no different.
Friday saw the 11-a-side age groups kick off for both boys and girls, with the Under 12's and below set to start their campaign on Saturday.
Before the games began, I managed to catch up with a few of the coaches who were getting their teams prepped for battle.
One coach was so impressed by the facilities at the University last year; he brought his team back for a second bite of the cherry. He was also looking forward to “meeting other teams and testing the boys against teams from other leagues."
I then caught up with the coach of a Shetland team, asked what was so interesting about the tournament, he said “It’s a great opportunity to play against teams from Scotland and International teams because we don’t often get the chance to do that, and also it’s a fantastic setting and fantastic facilities and Shetland has been coming here for a number of years now, it just gets better and better."
Next up I was then able to get a word with the coach of a team with a combination of American and Scottish players, who have already played two friendlies this week in preparation for the tournament. He said: “It’s never easy when you get players who have never played together before, but I find that the Americans can play football on the deck which helps.”
Asked about what level of opposition they wish to face, he went onto explain that playing the Brazilians first would benefit his players “We play the Brazilians first, which is always challenging."
He also went onto explain how the Scottish and American players are bonding together, and was very comical in saying that there were no fights as such. He was also looking forward to learning a few things from their Brazilian opposition “How to play football the right way, some skills as well and how to hack properly."
He also felt that this experience would be a learning one. All in all, it seems that every coach I have spoken to is keen to get their players ready for the new season, and they also feel that they will learn a lot from their opponents in this event.
Having watched a few matches, it has become very clear to me that every team here has an ambition to learn more about the game, and to improve as well. It also great to see the teams from countries such as the USA play a high standard of football, it goes to show that mostly every person around the world has an undying passion for football, and it’s awesome to see them display that passion at this tournament.
In my opinion, that is why this tournament is so popular, because it is a learning experience, plus, young players get the opportunity to play against quality teams from across the world.