Blantyre, the birthplace of legendary Scottish explorer David Livingstone, the first European to venture into the heart of Africa, is known for its adventurers.
And now, thanks to YFS, Blantyre Soccer Academy are preparing for an amazing, Scandinavian journey of their own, with the South Lanarkshire club on its way to the 2016 Norway Cup, one of the world’s largest, most diverse and most prestigious youth football tournaments.
Both of the club’s teams are registered with YFS and, after receiving our promotional email, pounced on the opportunity to register for the trip of a lifetime.
YFS is helping selected teams from Scotland make the trip to Norway, now including Blantyre SA. The focus for YFS’ selection process is not based on ability, but rather it focuses instead on identifying teams with players and coaches who would be excellent positive ambassadors for Scotland on the international stage.
Blantyre SA’s Stevie Owens told YFS: ‘When we got the email we saw it as a fantastic opportunity for the kids. To be honest, we never expected to be asked as there were so many applicants.’
At last year’s Norway Cup, over 1,600 teams participated from 52 nations across the globe, making it a truly international experience for all the players lucky enough to be involved. Gowens says that the players are looking forward to competing against all kinds of different styles of playing the beautiful game.
He said: ‘We are excited that we will be meeting and playing against nationalities and cultures we have never come across before.
‘The players are nervous and excited! There's a few with visions of a wonder goal on TV.’
Blantyre will be the latest in a growing number of Scottish clubs to make the journey to Oslo, the tournament’s host city and Norway’s beautiful capital, after almost unanimously positive feedback.
Gowens admits that the club were completely unaware of the tournament until it came to their attention via YFS. But, having seen the exceptional facilities, high-quality pitches and unique experiences which await his young charges next summer, he is delighted that that has all changed.
‘To be honest, we had never heard of this until YFS displayed it on their website. Now that we have been chosen and seen the facilities and the set-up for the seven days that we will be there, the kids and their families are delighted.
‘This is something these kids will never forget no matter what path their future takes. Parents and families being able to share this with them just makes for an all-round tremendous experience.’
He added: ‘All at BSA are very grateful for this opportunity.’
Scottish teams who register to attend the Norway Cup will receive expert, bespoke support and advice from YFS. We will keep you fully informed of all tournament information, handle media related activities including local and national press, assist in fundraising support with the YFS fundraising guide and handbook and provide a special YFS football kit personalised with your club crest and any of your trip sponsors.
Throughout the process of registration, preparation and fundraising, a dedicated YFS team member will be on hand answer any queries and solve any problems by phone or email.
Click here to find out more about the Norway Cup