Inverness United are looking forward to finishing their primary school-aged football with a bang when they head to the Barcelona Easter Tournament next April.
The 2008 born squad - who are not affiliated with a particular school or club - are united in their shared love of football and came together when they learned of the opportunity to showcase their skills on an international stage.
Coach Duncan Jones told YFS: “We heard about the competition through Facebook and wanted to sign up in order to test ourselves against teams from other countries and cultures, and to finish off our primary aged school football in style.”
United will be joining over 300 teams from around the world when they head to Salou and, although there’s months until kick-off, excitement levels are already reaching fever pitch amongst the boys:
“The squad are unbelievably excited to go,” said Jones. “They’ve watched videos of 2019’s tournament and are actively engaged in training specifically for this tournament.
“We cannot wait to see how teams from across Europe set up. I’m sure it will provide valuable learning for both players and coaches.”
With that in mind, Jones admits the focus isn’t on bringing back a trophy, but the tournament is a chance for his players to show what a side from the North of Scotland can do. He said:
“We’re just looking forward to the opportunity to play at such a great event against teams from all over Europe with our best mates.
“We’re not ‘in it to win it’ so to speak; we are there to give a good account of ourselves and show what a group of boys from the Highlands can do. Anything on top of that is a bonus, but I know if we apply ourselves, we will be no pushover.
“We will need to work as a team and carry no passengers. We’ll need to be fit, sharp and - most importantly – have self-belief to get anything from our games.”
As someone with first-hand experience of playing abroad when he was a similar age to his squad, Jones knows just how lucky the players are to have this chance, and he hopes they’ll cherish it for the rest of their lives.
He said: “I played in various foreign tournaments in my younger days and loved every second of them.
“I hope the boys will learn to appreciate different styles and – more importantly – the different cultures of others, which is a very important life skill out with football.
“I hope the boys will learn the benefit of teamwork and learn from the inevitable highs and lows that they’ll experience when at the tournament.
“I want them to look back in 20 years and appreciate the experience their coaches and parents have provided them with and pass this experience on to their own children.”
If your team fancies joining Inverness United in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information and details on how to get involved.