“A DREAM come true” is how their manager describes the upcoming international adventure for the under-15 boys’ team from the Woden Valley Soccer Club.
The team is going on tour to Serbia and Sweden – an experience that’s been in the pipeline for almost four years, according to coaches Steve Milutinovic and Allan Foster.
“Getting this organised has been a long road,” says Steve. “The team has been fundraising for two years and has covered the majority of costs for the tour, through things like sausage sizzles, raffles and soccer tournaments.”
The boys will leave Canberra on July 6, says manager Anna Slavich, and travel to Zlatibor in Serbia for a seven-day, high-altitude training camp with other European teams, organised through the Partizan Football Club.
“It’s an honour to train with the Partizan Club, because it’s by invitation only,” she says.
Most of the boys on the team have played together for five years and are currently playing in the local Under 16 Division 1 competition, says Anna.
“The boys are all really excited; not many 15-year-olds get to do something like this. It’s a dream come true for them,” she says.
The team will travel on to Gothenburg in Sweden to compete in the Gothia Cup – the world’s largest youth soccer tournament.
“This year, there will be 1568 teams from all over the world, and the level of competition will be very high,” Anna says. “It goes for six days and they’ll play at least four games – hopefully more!”
Fourteen-year-old striker Owen Steer says he was keen to go on the tour as soon as he head about the trip years ago.
“It will be great for us to experience another style of play, the different way the game is played in different countries,” he says.
“I’m looking forward to the intensity of playing with a professional soccer club, and hoping to improve my skills.
“And the discos in Sweden are meant to be good!”