Remsle turned the negative news into something positive
The cancellation of this year’s Gothia Cup meant disappointment for many young footballers looking forward to the summer. For the 15-year old girls in Remsle UIF, the negative news quickly turned into something positive. “Most of us were going to play until Gothia Cup and then quit but now we get one more year together which is really great”, says Elvira Heneryd.
Remsle UIF from Sollefteå, a small town in northern Sweden, offers football for girls from the age of 10 up to their senior squad, currently in the Swedish fifth tier Division 3. During many years, it has been a goal for teams in the club to participate in Gothia Cup, which means they stick together both on the field and in the struggle to raise the money necessary to go.
“Some of the girls have been ‘sticking with it’ and continued playing to be able to participate in the Gothia Cup adventure. After that it’s common for the teams to split up – some might be moved up to the senior team, some choose to focus on other sports and there are rarely any preferable football options for the rest of them”, says Nils-Olov Nilsson.
He’s team leader for the club’s 15-year olds, who were supposed to participate in this year’s Gothia Cup. They now see a positive effect from the cancelled tournament. The team had been preparing all year and took every job they could find – inventory assignments, cleaning, forestry and co-hosting a biathlon competition – all to raise money for the trip. Preparations which made the team unwilling to drop the dream of going to Gothia Cup.
“We decided early last fall that we would attend and made our registration. It was supposed to be the big thing for the team: to take a train down south as a group, spending an entire week together, a big happening both on and off the pitch… To experience everything we’ve only seen in movies. And to be able to do it in the last year with the team. The players made it very clear that they wanted to go next year instead. In the end, we in the coaching staff almost saw it as a win – now we get another full year together”, says Nils-Olov Nilsson.
One of the players who had planned on stop playing football after this year’s Gothia Cup, but has since reconsidered, is Elvira Heneryd.
“I was going to play until Gothia Cup and after this summer just continue to play handball. But now I’m going to continue with football as well for one more year. This is something we’ve all been looking forward to. I think everyone who plays football at our age wants to go to Gothia Cup. It’s the big goal, the dream”, she says.
Elvira Heneryd and her teammates equally look forward to play against teams from other countries, as well as to the experience off the pitch during the week in Gothenburg.
“Everything is so grand and it will be an exciting experience, staying at a hotel with the team and all the other activities.”
The solidarity between players and the togetherness is a big part of the reason why she loves football, which she means fills an important role in these different times where the corona pandemic has changed our habits and behaviours.
“Football is a team sport, and not just on the pitch. It’s also a place where you meet your friends, which means a lot in these times. During the corona pandemic you distance yourself socially from most things and I think you need something in contrast of that to not get stuck in that state of mind as a child. A small break from reality where you can just focus on playing football and have some fun”, says Elvira Heneryd.
Her coach, Nils-Olov Nilsson, is glad the team thrives so well as a group and is grateful for another year together.
“This summer will be a waste which means that we all need to set new targets for ourselves. Now the girls have a common goal to work for and look forward to for another year. Hopefully that’s the goal all youth coaches have – that as many as possible can continue playing their sports for as long as possible. If the kids are at a football practice, they are in a good place”, Nils-Olov Nilsson finishes.