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Fully Capped Youngsters
Head coach Stephen Millar says he was “sold straight away” on next year’s Barcelona Easter Tournament and the opportunity it presents his AC Oxgangs 09 team.
The Edinburgh side travel to sunny Salou at the start of April, where they’ll be joined by over 300 teams from across Europe to compete for the Easter Tournament crown.
As Millar reveals, anticipation is already building: “Our squad is very excited for the trip, it’s all we hear about at training and in matches,” he said. “There is a real buzz about the players as we all have something extra to look forward to and work hard towards.
“We are currently taking part in a lot of fundraising as well which gives them that added excitement and is bringing them together as a team.”
When they arrive in Spain, Oxgangs will get the chance to test themselves against some of the best and brightest young players from across Europe, and Millar is hopeful they’ll learn lots from the experience.
He said: “I am hoping that our players have the trip of a lifetime and make memories to be remembered for years to come; that they learn from the other teams in the tournament in how they play and set up; and from a team bonding point of view that they learn to work together, trust and help their teammates.
“But most of all I hope this experience boosts their love for the game and they enjoy every minute of the experience.”
Oxgangs are a side with festival experience – earlier this year they travelled down to Skegness for a tournament over a couple of days and, although they didn’t win the competition, they returned to Scotland Fair Play award winners.
Now for the first time ever they’re heading to the continent, and Millar reckons competing in one of the most famous football cities on the planet will inspire his team:
“We will visit the Camp Nou as a team during our stay and some other attractions,” he said. “Spanish football is amongst the best in the world and I am really looking forward to seeing what the youth set up is like and the differences to Scotland.”
When it comes time to take to the pitch, there’s no question the competition will be tough, but do Oxgangs have what it takes to win the tournament? As Millar reveals, the players are quietly confident.
He said: “To give a good account of ourselves at the tournament we will need to get the ball down, pass well and – most importantly – work together as a team.
“I am confident they will do themselves, the club and the country proud. Can we win it? Our boys seem to think so.
“We will work hard, try our best and see where it gets us. The most important thing is that they have fun and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.”
If you fancy joining Oxgangs in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information.
Murieston United 2011s are “buzzing” to compete at the UK International Cup next May says coach Gary Callaghan.
The young West Lothian side are heading down to St George’s Park next year, where they’ll be part of the 100-team international tournament:
“Our boys are buzzing about taking part, but I would say the coaches might even be more excited,” Callaghan revealed. “We can’t wait to play in a state-of-the-art facility and challenge ourselves against a wide range of teams.
“We’ve played in a few festivals in Scotland but this will be a completely different challenge for the boys, and one they’re really looking forward to. Having the chance to play against teams from different countries was a huge incentive for us to sign up.”
The tournament is taking place right at the heart of English football; as the home to all 28 of their national teams, the Murieston players will be following in their idols footsteps when they take to one of the 12 training pitches next year.
And Callaghan believes it was an opportunity too good to pass up. He said: “The boys can’t wait to play at St George’s Park where some of their footballing heroes like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling train with England – it’s a once in a lifetime experience for them.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the excitement on their faces when they finally get the chance to play in an amazing tournament at an incredible venue.”
It’s not just the action on the pitch that they’ve got to look forward to – Callaghan knows that the time spent travelling and bonding as a team is priceless, and that the players will take a lot from the experience:
“Our objective is for the team to enjoy themselves and create childhood memories that they can tell their grandkids about when they are older,” he said. “I want the boys to embrace it all; from the bus journey down to staying in a hotel with their teammates, hopefully we will grow closer as a team and they’ll create happy memories that they will cherish forever.
“We also want the boys to learn as much as possible from the trip as a player and as a person - how to deal with certain things like staying away from home and challenging themselves at the highest level on the football field.”
For Murieston, this is the main objective of the trip – what happens on the pitch come second. However, Callaghan reckons if they work together and play to their ability then results will speak for themselves. He said:
“Our main objective is to enjoy ourselves and grow closer as a team, and if we do well then that’s a bonus.
“To do well, we will need to work hard and play as a team with lots of encouragement and enthusiasm from each player. Hopefully we build a foundation at the tournament that we can take forward moving up the age groups.”
If your side fancies joining Murieston at the UK International Cup next year, visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/uk for more information and details on how to get involved.