This year the Rondos Academy took four teams on their annual tour to Holland to compete at the 9th International Tournament of the Arnhem Cup. Players were invited to represent age groups including U9, U10, U11 and U12.
Despite some horrendous bank holiday traffic, the tour party arrived at the hotel slightly later than scheduled but made a quick departure leaving the parents to check in whilst the players and coaches burnt off some much needed energy during an hour long high tempo training session at some local football pitch facilities in stunning woodland surroundings. A quick shower followed by dinner and pre tournament presentation ended the evening with some free time for the parents to socialise in the bar area.
Day 1 of Arnhem Cup resulted with our U9 and U12 teams kicking off at 9am at Arnhem football club. Great facilities and a sunny start made for a positive first impression and despite both teams winning their first games respectively, it was evident that all of our Rondos teams would be challenged during the course of
the tournament by teams from the UK including Portsmouth Academy and German Club FC Koln. The Rondos U9 players demonstrated both individual technical ability and the ability to play attractive passing combinations resulting with an impressive 5 straight wins on Day 1. Our Rondos U12 team (who were often
playing teams consisting of players from U13 and U14 age groups) coped very well with the 11v11 format and had to adapt quickly to the physical and mental challenges that were asked of them during the morning. Having won their first 2 games, their final game was by far their biggest challenge of the weekend
that resulted with a narrow defeat having gone 1-0 up losing 2-1 with a goal conceded in the final minute of play.
The afternoon events would see our Rondos U10 and U11 teams competing on the same pitches as the morning event that was convenient for base camp! Despite the now dull and drizzly weather, both teams were warmed up and ready to play. Due to the age group banding's in Holland, both of these teams were
playing in the U11 age band but within 2 different league groups. Many of the Rondos U11 players were on tour last year within the U10 team so were fully prepared for the challenge ahead. Similarly to the Rondos U9 team earlier that morning, the U11 team looked in a class of their own as they showed outstanding technical ability, speed and possession resulting with a stream of goals and clean sheets finishing unbeaten on day 1 with the whole team and parents absolutely buzzing! The U10 Rondos team demonstrated their ability to compete with the obvious challenges of both strength and speed against well organised teams. Whilst they narrowly lost their first game 1-0, the team reacted incredibly well and continued to match their opponents with their technical ability, confidence was never an issue as our
Rondos U10 players wouldn't hesitate using a 1v1 skill against an opponent almost twice their size. Two games drew and two narrow margin defeats with some amazing goalkeeping by young Ryan Silk ended the football on day 1.
Some much needed outdoor refreshments at our wonderful hotel overlooking the lake as the sun reappeared whilst the players enjoyed using the pool and outdoor facilities rounded off a great day 1.
Meeting new friends from different Rondos academies and the continued banter between certain individuals was a real highlight in the evenings at the hotel.