Last week, 11 of Exeter City FC Academy’s U11s and 4 members of staff (Head of Coaching, Cell Lead Coach, Physio and Safeguarding Lead) all set off to Copenhagen to participate in the 36 team U11 Fleggaard Cup hosted at the historic Boldklubben af 1893.
The tournament was an extremely exciting opportunity for the boys, not only because this was the first international tournament for a Foundation Phase group post Covid-19 but owing to the exciting names participating at the tournament including SL Benfica, Braga, FC Kobenhavn, Brondby IF, FC Nordsjælland and many more top Scandinavian academies.
With Exeter City being the only English club at the tournament, the opportunity to play against unfamiliar opposition and ways of play which offered a fantastic experience and challenge for the boys to be exposed to. This challenge ws one which the players certainly rose too, showing some excellent football throughout the tournament and problem solving to adapt to the difference in opposition.
The boys played 11 games of 30 minutes, being extremely competitive throughout all the games and scoring 30 goals.
Off the pitch, the boys had the opportunity to explore a bit of Copenhagen as a city and travelled to all the games via the Metro system. This provided an additional experience for the players giving exposure to the different cultures adopted in Denmark and be able to see more of Copenhagen.
However, arguably the most important opportunity this tour supported was off the pitch for the U11 boys including three players from the U10s. This unique nature of international tours provides the players a opportunity for boys from all over Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset to come together and strengthen social connections and friendships. The combination of the football, experience of different cultures and social benefits prove to create lifelong memories for the boys with us here at Exeter City.
This tour has offered a fantastic challenge to our young people at Exeter City, offering support of our commitment to encourage our players to be well-rounded young men. The players throughout this tour represented Exeter City in a fantastic way on the pitch, being brave and competitive. In addition to showing brilliant character throughout off the pitch, showing good standards of Exeter City's expected behaviours and values, whilst being kind, caring and respectful to all of those they interacted with.
The group finished a fantastic third place in the UEFA Europa League, winning their play-off final 4-0. Throughout the 4 days they rose to all the challenges which they were presented themselves, whilst playing the Exeter City way. All the players personified the values of Exeter City and have represented the club, academy, their families and themselves excellently and we are extremely proud of them all.
We would like to place a massive thanks to Exeter City Supporters' Trust for their support in making this trip a possibility. These experiences for these young players are pivotal in their footballing and personal development and are extremely fortunate to have continued support from the Trust to continue to provide the best opportunities for our young players.