Gearing up for the 2017 Youth World Cup in Denmark, Lonestar players trained for a couple of sessions before leaving Austin for this summer's Gothia Cup. Both sessions held lots of smiles, anxiousness and a competitive attitude. Players from the ‘04 and ‘03 age groups met familiar faces and new ones, whom they soon would call friends. The boys and girls took off from Houston International Airport July 12th and landed in Copenhagen, Denmark July 13th.
They were transported through the bustling city of Copenhagen to the quiet, rural area of Farum, Denmark where they stayed at FC Nordesjaelland (FCN). Players enjoyed training sessions held inside the club’s game-day stadium with two FCN Academy Coaches.
Outside of the lines, players were able to experience the rich history of Copenhagen by visiting Amalienborg, Queen’s Castle, and watching the changing of the guard. The cool weather allowed for a scenic canal tour around the city’s harbor hearing about the architecture of the city and the famous 1836 story from Hans Christian Anderson’s known as, the Little Mermaid. In the evening, a scrimmage against the local club, Ølstykke IF, was arranged for the boys and girls to get adjusted to the international style of play.
Players and parents were also given a tour of of Fredisckborg Castle in Hillerød. Here, they learned facts about why the stairs rotated in a specific direction, the reasons behind historical paintings and the meaning behind its cherished architecture and grounds. Everyone was treated to a Danish Superliga match at National Stadium between FC København and AaB Aalborg before heading to the Tivoli Gardens in the heart of Copenhagen. The park opened in 1843 and holds the title for the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world.
Finally, players and parents took part in the Gothia Cup Opening Ceremony. Packed into Ullevi stadium with over 50,000 people, players met other athletes from different countries and experienced an opening ceremony like no other. The boys played at well manicured complexes throughout the tournament, such as Kviberg, Lemmingvallen, and Gamlestadsvallen. The girls headed more south of the Gothenburg to Göna Vallen, Mossens IP, and Öisgaården. Each complex and field enriched in culture and history dating back to the 1800s.
Our Lonestar U14G team experienced success by winning the Gothia Cup Play-Off B, while the boys fought their way into the playoff rounds only to be eliminated by a strong Brazilian opponent.
If you ask the players what their highlights of the trip were, they will tell you that it was a trip of a lifetime to play abroad, the chance to meet new people, getting to see the rich history Denmark and Sweden have to offer, and creating new bonds within our club. Lonestar’s mission is to be the best soccer club in the Nation while developing good people. Our players embodied every ounce of our club’s mission by kicking down obstacles on the field and respecting and embracing the cultures as a family off the field. This trip builds upon our club’s mission and core values through our players as representatives of the club, state, and nation. This trip is an experience of a lifetime.