The tournament provided our boys with the chance to compete against some of the best young talent across the country and compare themselves to the highest level of youth football in New Zealand.
Results were not as important as performance and development - two things which were observed in abundance. Whilst the boys didn’t win every game, many spectators and coaches commented on the positive way the team tried to play, with a clear game plan and focus on retaining possession. We were very pleased with this feedback.
The group stage saw Christchurch United narrowly lose its first three matches to high-level North Island teams Eastern Suburbs (1-0), Auckland United (2-0), and Bay Olympic (1-0). Our boys then turned in a fantastic all around performance and result to beat Hibiscus Coast 3-0, before losing by the same score to Tauranga City.
Our Under 17s then progressed through to the plate knockout rounds, beating Waitakere City in a stellar 2-1 win, before drawing 0-0 with Western Springs White in the semi and winning 4-2 on penalties.
The plate final saw Christchurch United face Northland FC, who proved just slightly too strong for our boys in blue on the day, taking the plate home with a 2-0 win.
Coach Michiel Buursma said the tournament was a great experience.
“From the start we had a clear idea what we wanted to achieve and the boys didn’t disappoint.
“Overall we had the advantage of playing many different good teams during the tournament group stage like Tauranga, Auckland United, Hibiscus Coast, Olympic Bay. Most games went well and got deserved winners.
“I reckon we deserved one more win which would have brought us in the middle part of the tournament. Eventually we showed some good position play during the games and we got a good insight in what we need to improve in the future. The boys worked hard and we had a good run.”
As mentioned, this tournament provided our young players with a significant opportunity to test themselves against some of the best teams in their age group. We are thrilled with the way the boys carried themselves both on and off the pitch, as they continue to work hard and focus on maintaining a high level of professionalism.
Thanks so much to the coaches, supporters, parents and Western Springs AFC for hosting yet another fantastic tournament, and we look forward to seeing how this helps our players in the future.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all - we look forward to seeing you again in 2021. Go Blue!