A team of sport students from North Shropshire College (NSC) embarked on their third football tour to Barcelona, entering the prestigious international tournament Copa Cataluna U19’s. Last year the team secured the trophy with a 1-0 victory over Italian team Giovanile Rimini with a goal from sport student, Tom Ash, and went into this competition as defending champions.
Due to the success the College’s team achieved last year, the demand to attend this year’s competition meant that the College entered two teams and took 29 students. A steady but unspectacular performance throughout the group stage saw the College’s first team secure three straight victories against Spanish and Italian opposition, securing a place in the final. The first team then played poorly in the final group game against Spanish side Cosecha Mundial, losing 1-0 which meant that the team gave up their 100% record and in turn gave the Spanish team the other place in the final.
In the final, NSC were undeterred by their poor performance against Cosecha Mundial and turned the tables on them by winning 2-0 with a performance full of energy, purpose and quality. Tom Ash scored the winning goals in the early part of the second half to bring the trophy home for a second consecutive year. Ash scored all three goals that the team acquired in both successful finals.
The second team performed admirably during the competition but were unable to win a game despite some promising individual performances. The rest of the tour saw the squad take in the Lloret de Mar water park, Sagrada Familia, Port Olimpio, shopping in the centre of Barcelona, the cable car to Mont Juic and finally the Nou Camp experience.
Dan Stevens, Head of Sport at NSC and Manager of the team commented ‘The lads showed tremendous character in the final after a disappointing performance the previous night. I had watched back the video of the defeat in the early hours of the morning and decided to change a few things tactically for the final and the lads were brilliant at executing what was asked of them. The atmosphere in the final was superb and the players relished it and to win this competition again is a very special moment for all concerned. The tour, as a whole, was brilliant and each member of the tour party had a thoroughly enjoyable time and we are already making preparations to return to defend our title again next summer.’