Can the boys from Guernsey go all the way?
Guernsey is a small island in the English Channel. With around 60 000 inhabitants. Each year five schools on the island assemble their biggest talents. Who then goes on tour in the UK, plays their neighbouring island Jersey who’s their biggest rival, and finally goes here. To Gothia Cup.
The boys from the team Guernsey Schools have played together for approximately nine months before they arrive here in Gothenburg. They all came through trials to make the team, and are now testing themselves against international opposition. The team has been a consistent participant for a few years, and last year they got knocked out in the 1/8 final. Now they’re back at the same stage.
“Hopefully we can get further than last year’s team. But it’s a great achievement coming this far, being from such a small island”, says Finley, one of the players in Guernsey Schools.
It’s definitely an achievement. Especially since Finley also explains that the boys this year are playing in an age-group above their actual age. They are playing in the Boys 16 category, but all the boys in the team are 15, except for one of their goalkeepers who are 14.
Guernsey is not officially part of the United Kingdom. Although the UK are in charge of most of the international relations and defence concerning the island. When asked what nationality the boys consider themselves as, they say English, and today they were taking on English opposition Russell Martin Academy.
“We get the chance to play a few English teams during the year, and being from Guernsey it’s a bit of a rivalry there. But it’s a friendly rivalry, we want the English teams to do well in this tournament and I’m sure they wish us the same”, says Finley.
The boys from Guernsey Schools succeeded in beating their bigger neighbours in the north on penalties, and another victory on penalties later during the day against Swedish side Kinna IF (the team that knocked them out last year) secured their place in the last 16. They certainly seems to have got the right ticket in the lottery that is the penalty shoot-outs, and maybe this year they can not only beat last years’ result but go all the way?