Minnesota Thunder Academy win all-American clash in G17 Gothia Puma Trophy
NorCal Premier PDP - Minnesota Thunder Academy 1–5 (0–2)
It was an all-American clash in the G17 Gothia Puma Trophy between two sides who know how to win. These clubs last played each other in the Gothia Cup final in 2019, when Minnesota won 4–0. It was NorCal’s fifth straight final in the tournament.
– This is a feeling that doesn’t match any other, says Minnesota captain and goalscorer Isabela Engle.
NorCal came out firing on all cylinders and they initially dictated the pace, but Minnesota quickly turned the game around and started to attack. Minnesota’s first goal came through Grace Estby who ran on a long pass and managed to poke the ball around the goalkeeper, past the defender who had tracked back to cover, and into the goal. They were then quick to get a second through captain Isabela Engle.
The result would stand until half-time. In the second half, Minnesota was quick to get on the front foot once again and Estby set the bar high by grabbing another two goals in quick succession. NorCal was not having it, and they got one back through Lauren Hunter, who made it 1–4 with a great strike. Estby was on the lookout for that second-half hat-trick however and she got it, as she bagged her fourth goal of the game.
Team captain Engle comments on the feat they just pulled off.
– We are just so excited, it was really fun playing against another American team and to be able to come up on top, especially the way we did, winning 5–1, was just a feeling that doesn’t match any other. Coming all the way from the US to Sweden is unbelievable, we’re really excited right now, says Engle.
Although Estby was the recurring name on the scoresheet, Engle stresses that their teamwork is the key to their success.
– We’ve played with each other all year and we use that teamwork and the team chemistry that we have to win like we did today, she says.
The team has been really effective in front of the goal and as far as preparations go, the answer is quite straightforward.
– Honestly, we had croissants and coffee for breakfast, she says with a laugh.