Round up of annual pre-season tournament in Sweden.As the start of the season nears, the U18's can look back at their pre-season tour to Sweden at the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg as another huge success.
The Youth Team – including two Club Doncaster Foundation students – finished in 10th position after losing 1-0 in the play-offs.
Rovers were in group five alongside Swedish sides Hammarby IF and BK Hacken as well as Latvian club Skonto JFC.
Rovers could not have asked for a better start as they recorded a solid 4-0 win over Hacken with goals from Michael Carberry, Joe Pugh, Conner Williamson and an own goal ensuring the all important three points.
The second game against Skonto ended 0-0 after a very tough game meaning that a win in the final game against Hammarby was required to progress in to the top four play off but were denied in another goalless stalemate.
Academy manager Paul Wilson said: “The lads could not have done any more but score, we were very unlucky not to have gained the win that the performance deserved, after the draw 0-0.”
They progressed into the 9-12 play-off bracket where they were drawn against another Swedish side Helsinborgs IF; this will be the game that Wilson and Youth Team Head Coach Paul Stancliffe will look back on with fondness.
Rovers were a goal down with 10 minutes remaining when Joe Pugh brought the side back level in the last 5 minutes of the game to send the tie straight to penalties.
“We were extremely pleased again with the performance and the experience that this competition gives to our players is vital, to be involved in a penalty shoot-out is experience that we cannot buy,” added Wilson.
“The lads went on to win 6-5 with goalkeeper Louis Jones pulling off a stunning penalty save.”
Decisive spot kicks from Matthew Parkin, Jordan Linley, Michael Carberry, Conner Williamson, Declan Howe and the winning penalty from Kevin M’Buti took Rovers to the play-off final against Swedish side Djurgardens IF.
Their good fortune came to an end in the final, with Djurgardens running out 1-0 winners in normal time.
Wilson continued: “This is the seventh season that we have attended the Gothia Cup and I have to say that it is a fantastic occasion for everyone involved. Thousands of players from all ages and from countries all over the world getting together and having fun playing football.
“The elite games programme that we are entered into is for professional academies from all over the world which gives our players great learning experiences that is vital to their development, to learn to play against different football philosophy’s, cultures and styles of play.
“The Gothia Cup is a great tournament that is very professionally run by friendly staff in good stadiums.
“I would like to thanks Jim Hackett at World Youth Tournaments for all his efforts in setting up this tour again and all the staff at the Gothia Cup for another amazing experience for all the staff and all the players.”
The Youth Team will be looking to carry this impressive form into their league season, starting off with Notts County at home on August 8th. A full fixture list can be found HERE.