From the 3rd to the 6th of November this year the IICS Middle School Boys’ Football team traveled to Warsaw to compete in the annual CEESA tournament. The boys had already enjoyed a successful season with two victories in friendly matches and then 1st and 3rd place trophies. The CEESA tournament was a chance for us to compete with bigger schools and to test our ability and character.
On the first day, the boys played 3 group games. After a 2-1 loss to Kiev, a battling performance gave us a 0-0 draw with eventual champions, Prague. The day finished with another close 2-1 loss to Budapest and this left us in last place in our group. This means that the following day we would play the top team from the other pool, Warsaw, in the quarter finals.
Warsaw clearly expected to destroy our boys having won their three group games by scoring over 20 goals. What happened on Saturday morning, however, defied all expectations. All 16 boys played their hearts out and despite going a goal down, an equaliser from Max in the second half sent the game to penalties. Warsaw, however, kept their cool and took really good penalty kicks to win the shoot-out 5-3. The boys left the field devastated but proud of their performance.
In our final two games, the boys struggled against a rejuvenated Moscow team and lost 3-0, but then comfortably beat Warsaw’s B-team 5-0 in the final game. Ultimately, we had the skill, motivation and organisation to win the tournament; we just didn’t have the size or the pace to compete with bigger boys in bigger schools.
Coach Atilla and I loved every minute of the experience and we brought back so many wonderful memories. We are already looking forward to the tournament next year.