Scandia United soccer club competes in Sweden, Denmark
Playing nearly 75 total games in just under a month overseas, the Scandia United soccer club, made up of players from the Western Slope — namely Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Grand Junction, Coal Ridge and Basalt athletes — as well as Portland, Oregon, Kawhi, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Reno, Nevada and Southern California, played in two of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the world, where the club put up a strong showing in those 75 games, going 38-31-6 with 177 goals scored and 139 goals allowed. Glenwood’s boys varsity coaching staff of Wayne Smith and Russ Brown served as coaches for Scandia United on the trip.
Scandia United left the United States on July 1 with 52 players before arriving in Frederikshavn, Denmark, for the Cup No. 1, a large tournament for boys and girls soccer, where 176 teams from 20 countries gathered around the global game. Young people from all continents of the world built friendship across national borders, regardless of religion, gender or ethnicity.
Soccer showed once again that, like no other sport, it can gather and unite all in a peaceful atmosphere.
“The soccer is huge, and it’s what we know, so it’s what we use to let these kids travel and experience something like this,” Scandia United director Brad Jordan said. “There’s nothing in America that compares to those soccer tournaments in Europe, so that being said, we always want our kids to learn something new about soccer. Outside of soccer, there’s a lot of life lessons to be learned. There’s sight-seeing to be done, obviously, and there’s cultural lessons to be learned outside of school when mingling with players from other countries. There’s just so many opportunities.”
Arriving in Denmark prior to the start of the Cup No. 1, Scandia United mixed in roughly 30 more players from Denmark into teams throughout the club before undertaking more than 30 hours of training leading up to the start of the tournament, where they would have eight total teams compete.
In Cup No.1, Scandia United saw its eight teams play in competitive games ranging from girls 13-18 to boys 13-18. Scandia’s boys 15 team reached the championship game of its age group, but fell by a score of 3-0 to Subiaco (Australia). Outside of the boys 15 team, Scandia United saw five teams across all age groups finish third.
Following a strong showing at the Cup No.1 tournament, members of Scandia United then traveled to Gottenburg, Sweden, for the start of the Gothia Cup, which is the world’s largest and most international youth football tournament. Each year, around 1,700 teams from 80 nations take part, and they play 4,500 games on 110 fields in the six-day tournament.
At the Gothia Cup, Scandia United sent six teams, where the girls 14 team finished third in the B bracket, losing to the eventual champion Styrn (Norway) in one of the hardest girls brackets at the tournament.
The girls 14 team was in a class of 75 teams, while the girls 15 team was in a bracket with 115 teams. Scandia’s girls 18 competed in a bracket with 49 teams and lost to the runner-up of the tournament, while the boys 14 team competed against 232 teams in their bracket. Scandia’s boys 15 team, which lost in penalty kicks to Indonesia’s LKG-SKF, competed in a bracket with 225 teams, while the boys 18 team, which lost in penalty kicks to Brazil’s Ordin FC 2, competed in a bracket with 98 teams.
Only two U.S. based teams reached an A Final at the Gothia Cup this year, which was very similar to last year’s Gothia Cup, when Scandia United’s girls 16 team reached the final.