Brommapojkarna: "Nothing beats the Gothia Cup"
Swedish club Brommapojkarna are competing in Gothia Cup for the 40th time. And it is not the last time.
Brommapojkarna is the most succesful team in the history of the Gothia Cup. Now they celebrate their 40th anniversary in the tournament.
– It's the most exciting tournament in the world, says Tommy Söderström, general manager for the club's youth section.
Teams from Brommapojkarna has won the Gothia Cup 31 times. To put that in perspective, the second most successful team (AIK) has won 13 times.
– Now add all those times that we've played in the final and didn't win, says Tommy Söderström.
We meet up at a hotel on the main street of Gothenburg, Avenyn.
Söderström recollects the first few times when he attended.
– There were parades right here. I remember the team Voluntas were here and all the teams paraded up the street to Götaplatsen carrying flags.
Both Gothenburg and Gothia Cup have changed since his first visit. That was in 1986 and he has marked the calendar ever since.
– The only thing that's the same since then is (general manager for the Brommapojkarna men's team) Peter Kisfaludy's hair color. But really, Heden was the most amazing thing. On my way out to Kviberg I noticed a three-story building and thought, we won a game in that spot with our team born in 1989 once. Then I saw another building and remembered when our team born in 1995 won there. So much about the structure of the tournament has changed – but the feeling remains the same. Gothia Cup just keeps growing and growing, Tommy Söderström says.
He has been fundamental in building Brommapojkarnas youth section into the huge club it is today. They have around 25 teams in every class for teams who play seven-a-side and ten to twelve teams in the classes that play on nine- or eleven-sized fields. Brommapojkarna completely dominates youth football in the western Stockholm area.
– If you only want to practise once a week, you can do that. If you want to practise at the highest level, that works too. I think that is our competitive advantage. We have this huge base and also our academy which is what defines us. It is the tradition of the club and has been for a long time, he says.
Brommapojkarna are today a well-known brand in international circles, mainly because of its famous academy. They regularly receive invitations to participate in youth tournaments around Europe – along with the biggest clubs from the biggest national leagues. Yet they always go to Gothia Cup every year as well.
– There was this one class where there were 54 teams or so. That's incredible! 90 percent of our teams are teams where everyone can join and the parents treat every match as a party. But once you get to the quarter and semi finals, then it becomes serious.
The club generally plays to win but with Gothia Cup there is so much more that is involved. Going to the largest youth tournament in the world is not something their players are used to.
– It's a great experience to walk into Gamla Ullevi or SKF Arena to play a final. The national anthem is played and the crowd follow and cheer for our players on the pitch. They feel like professional football players then. I was at SKF Arena and watched one of our teams play a team from Chile in front of a full house. That is a fantastic experience for our players. Nothing beats playing in the Gothia Cup. Nothing. It's such a massive experience. Everyone want to see when stars are being born.