Westdyke Thistle 2006 are looking forward to getting their first taste of tournament football when they travel to the Holland Easter Open next April.
That’s according to coach Stephen Pirie, who told us the trip is a great chance for the players to develop both on and off the pitch:
“The boys have been talking about the proposed trip for a few months now and are all very keen to get going,” he said. “Playing against European teams with potentially differing skill levels and playing styles will challenge them, but we’re sure that they will do themselves justice and step up to the levels required.
“As well as playing tournament football, the boys are also excited to be going on a longer trip and spending time together off the field. They’re a great group of boys that always get along great, despite not all knowing each other that well away from football.”
Thistle will be in their second season at 11-a-side when they head for Holland next Easter, where they’ll join over 500 teams from 25 countries for a true festival of football.
And the hope is that the enticement of the tournament will help motivate the players and give them something to focus their efforts on in the early part of the season.
Pirie said: “The coaches have seen the team grow and develop over the past twelve months, stepping up to full size pitches and an 11-a-side format and performing well.
“The hope is that it continues in the forthcoming season, and with the trip booked up it gives the boys a focus to look forward to and motivation to continue developing as players throughout the first half of the season.”
Westdyke enjoyed a trip to Manchester last year, during which they saw Manchester City get presented with the Premier League trophy at the Etihad, and they’re looking forward to creating more memories when they visit the home of total football next year:
“We really want the trip to be an experience that gives the boys a memory that will stay with them for life,” said Pirie. “We have the whole squad committed to attending, as well as an additional 18 parents and coaches to support the boys, so it will be a large travelling group.
“Everyone is really looking forward to it. There’s a lot of fundraising to be done between now and March, and we expect the excitement of the boys to grow as the trip gets closer.
“We’ve included the tour of Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena in the trip itinerary and will be looking into the possibility of taking in a game whilst we’re there. We’re sure that there will be plenty of laughs and fun to be had away from the tournament football – and the ‘Dads’ are sure to beat the ‘Lads’ in a friendly game one evening.”
At the Easter Open earlier this year, Aberdeen’s East End Lewis United 2006 were crowned Champions, so can Westdyke follow in the footsteps of their fellow Granite City side?As it turns out, returning with silverware isn’t a priority.
Pirie said: “We expect the standard of football to be high at the tournament and the boys will quickly have to get used to playing in the heat and against different styles of play that the European teams will bring.
“Every team entering the tournament will believe that they can come home with the trophy, but we’re putting no pressure on the boys. The main aim of the trip is for them to enjoy themselves, give their all in every game and put in the best performances that they can, both individually and collectively. If that’s enough for them to win the tournament then that’s an added bonus.”
If your team fancies joining Westdyke in Holland next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/holland for more information and details on how to get involved.