July 23rd, 2018, Waltham, MA: Mid-July saw three GPS teams pack up and travel to the north of Europe to participate in arguably the largest Youth Tournament in the world, the Gothia Cup.
The Gothia Cup has been held annually in Gothenburg, Sweden since 1975 and features some of the top youth clubs from across the club. In total over 1700 teams representing some 80-odd countries descend upon the city, creating one of the most unique tournament atmospheres around.
From the Opening Ceremony held in the Ullevi Stadium, site of the 1992 UEFA Euros and 2004 UEFA Cup finals, witnessed by more than 50,000 in attendance to the Heden Festival site complete with its Coca Cola Skills Games, official Gothia Cup store and most importantly a bevy of soccer fields it was something else to experience.
Global Premier Soccer were represented by two national teams, the 2005 Girls and 2004 Boys. The two national teams were joined by a regional team from GPS MA, the GPS MA Central Elite Red 2003 Boys.
All 3 teams would represent the club well in both the group and knockout stages of the tournament.
The 2005 Girls National Team experienced a slow start to their campaign, losing the opening game 2-1 to local Swedish team Jiltex Moldnal and drawing the second match 1-1 against a tough and physical KSV Segerberg side who managed to steal away a point following some great saves by their GK.
That would be the last time the team conceded while in Sweden however, starting that impressive defending record with a 3-0 win to cap off the group stage following it up with another 3-0 win in the opening knockout round.
The sheer size of the tournament and teams involved meant that a win in the quarterfinals would set them up to play a match less than 6 hours later in order to advance to the final.
The quarterfinal game saw GPS take on JSSL Singapore. The girls would go on to dominate the game from the off asserting their dominance via long spells of possession in the offensive third. This pressure would pay off to the tune of 3 goals, all scored by forward Kate Loncar adding to here 2 goals from the group stage.
Loncar showed no signs of slowing down either, using the JSSL Singapore game as a warm up. Later that same day, GPS took on Norwegian side Stryn LIF. The Norwegian side proved to follow the trend of physically strong European sides but following goals from Shea Daigler, Sydney Allen, Courtney Ponzo and another from Kate Loncar saw GPS run out 4-0 winners.
The final of the U13 group was an All-American affair with GPS taking on the Del Mar Sharks, a club based in San Diego, CA. Opening nerves seemed to affect the girls as they got off to a slow start forcing the ball at times.
They would settle quickly and effectively into the game though and found a breakthrough in the 1st half through Kate Loncar following a superb run of play. Loncar would find herself on the scoresheet again in the second half when she added the 3rd and final GPS goal of the game with forward Kasandra Vigil adding the 2nd goal earlier in that half.
The 2004 Boys GPS National Team dominated the group stage, winning 3 of the 4 matches, drawing the final groups stage game 0-0. They started off group play with an impressive 8-0 win before following it up with 2-1 and 1-0 wins respectively.
The opening game of the knockout round would see the boys advance with a 3-0 win but their meeting with Lizzy Football Club in the next round would spell the end of their run to the title where they lost 6-1.
They should not be ashamed of their loss to the Ghanaian team as the club went on to win the title for this age group with an impressive 8 games where they scored 4 or more goals.
The 03 Boys put on a fantastic display over their week in Sweden compiling 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, with that loss coming in the 2nd round of knockout play.
The Gothia Cup represents just a small piece of the success that has been experienced by the various GPS National Teams travelling the world this summer. The 2005 Girls Gothia Cup Trophy is added to the two Surf Cup Titles captured by the 2002 and 2004 Boys National Teams respectively, as well as a Runner-Up Finish by the 2005 Boys National Team at the O’Neil’s Foyle Cup in Northern Ireland.
To keep up to date with the GPS teams this weekend, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
For more information the GPS Premier program, please contact Matt Hardiman at firstname.lastname@example.org