The Academy improved its standing and credentials further still last month in a high-profile European tournament where our 2000 age band U13/U14s were crowned champions, beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the Final.
The game format was 11-v-11 and was hosted by Bundesliga outfit Nuremburg Football Club, a team previously managed by Felix Magath, at their prestigious training facility in Germany. The prize awaiting the winners was the Jeno Konrad U14 Trophy. Our youngsters overcame a tough group and qualified top, winning every game and also beating Bayern Munich 3-2.
The Quarter-Finals showed the level of opposition as we were drawn to face Borussia Dortmund, but we won 3-1 to advance to the Semi-Final in a rematch of our earlier group game with Bayern Munich. It was a match full of quality from both teams but we advanced by beating the pride of Bavaria 3-2 to reach the Final.
The Final was a game of high standard of youth football, as attractive and attacking football was displayed by both Academy sides, with Fulham coming out on top with a goal of real quality from Matt O'Riley.
Overall the tournament was a fantastic experience for both players and staff. Further still our young player, Cameron Thompson, was the top goalscorer at the tournament.
Head Academy Coach U12-U14, and former Whites player, Kevin Betsy, who took charge of the team along with his assistant Peter Booth, said: “These experiences are fundamental to our player development programme. The value of travelling abroad playing varied opposition types, playing strategies, oppositions that are able to keep the ball for long periods, and tournament scenarios, are all challenges to which we want to expose our young players to deal with to improve them long-term.
“The technical and tactical aspects of a tournament such as this level have vast benefits, not to mention the social and character building of our boys, showing high standards off the field and representing the Club in a positive manner.
“We can really see where the boys are at present compared to players at clubs regarded as some of the best developers in Europe. On this showing the individuals and group have shown an excellent level and we are optimistic about their development with us.”
Fulham made many friends on the European stage during this tournament and gained appreciation for the Academy’s playing style, individual quality, and also the manner in which our players conduct themselves on and off the field.
Photos courtesy of fupa.net.