Our Summer tour 2017 started off with excitement in all four corners of the globe. From Vietnam to Korea, Brazil, UK and the USA, students eagerly awaited their departure with dreams of fifteen days of uninterrupted football from morning until night and they were not to be disappointed.
Preparation in London
Players and coaches arrived on July 21st at London Heathrow and were quickly whisked away to Edgeborough School in Farnham, our home for the next seven days. The school facilities were fantastic, the food was tasty and the staff were very welcoming. We had the use of three grass fields, a swimming pool, sports facilities and stunning grounds surrounded by British woodland and historical buildings. We couldn't have asked for a better setting.
Spirits were high all week as we enjoyed numerous training sessions from myself, Matthew O’Brien and Andrew Cronin, our highly qualified and experienced coaching team. Outside of training we also enjoyed a trip to the home of football; Wembley Stadium. The redeveloped Wembley stadium is quite a sight to behold and our guides made sure we had the VIP treatment. There were also numerous on-site activities, such as decision making and hydration lectures, an ill fated laundry outing and the odd shopping trip to the local sports mega stores.
Mixed into all the adventures were a number of games for U12, U14, U16 and U18 age groups. The games gave the players the opportunity to test themselves against international opposition in an 11 aside format. Many of our players have previously been unable to access this opportunity due to the limited availability of 11 aside football in Asia, something that Rising Star Football Academy with our in-school programme will address in the academic year 2017/18.
The games were not always easy, but we learnt valuable lessons from each outing. As the week progressed we were able to find our feet and started to string together performances and results across the board. We played against strong opposition to help prepare us for what was to come at the Norway Cup in Oslo the following week. U12, U14, U16 and U18 all enjoyed positive results during the week culminating in a U16/18 victory against UK Category 1 academy side Aldershot Town FC.
In this game BIS HCMC students, Nick Gilmore, Ryan Kim, Sid Prithviraj, Jacob Gleave, Floris Swinckles, Tony Nguyen and Max Jencks all played important roles in guiding us to victory. The boys rose to the occasion and played with passion and intelligence against a strong U18 team. It was a great experience for the whole group, we as coaches could see them grow and they all walked off the field with immense pride.
Norway Cup 2017
Our first week which was so full of football soon came to an end and we were off to our next destination: Oslo and the Norway Cup 2017 which is the largest youth football tournament in the world. It is hard to describe the epic scale of the tournament with thousands of players, teams and spectators converging on fields across Oslo to enjoy a festival of football and friendship.
Under 12’s - Our Under 12 team which was made up predominantly of players from our Korean Academy, as well as some former players who have joined us year on year played exceptionally well winning the majority of their games; winning 7, drawing 3 and losing 2 games across the week was an impressive return for a team which excited the crowds with their individual skill and teamwork.
- Most Valuable Player - Euntaek Oh (NCLS Jeju)
- Coach’s Player - Johnny (NCLS Jeju)
Under 14’s - Our Under 14 team had an equally impressive tournament, storming their group with 3 wins from 3 games; 7-1, 3-2 and 7-2. With starring performances from BIS HCMC students Sam Jencks and Ben Gilmore the team finished top of their group and were awarded a trophy for their efforts. The team went into the knockout stages with high hopes but unfortunately lost out in the round of 8 to a team from Jerusalem. The scores right up until the final suggested that on a different day the Under 14’s could have gone all the way. Sadly, it wasn’t to be this year but next time they hope to turn this around.
- Most Valuable Player - Josh High (Wrekin College, Wales)
- Coach’s Player - Sam Jencks (BIS HCMC Vietnam)
Under 16's - Our Under 16 team were an improving team throughout the group stages with 1 loss, 1 draw and 1 win. Arguably from watching the games all 3 could have been wins if it were not for some unfortunate moments of luck along the way. The team adapting to playing together in the 11 aside format learnt quickly what was required to succeed and ended the group stages with a win and successful progression to the A Playoffs. Unfortunately in their first game on an early Thursday morning they were unable to progress, losing to a team that we could have beaten if our boys had been at their best. The U16 team learnt an incredible amount from their experience and will be better prepared and ready to challenge for honours in 2018.
- Most Valuable Player - Ryan Kim (BIS HCMC, Vietnam)
- Coach’s Player - Floris Swinckels (BIS HCMC, Vietnam)
Under 18's - Our Under 18 team was filled with talent and personality but also injuries. Our boys had to step up to play Under 19 football in this tournament, but did so with tenacity and pride. Our group games ended with 2 losses and 1 win, however similar to the U16’s this could easily have been 3 wins given different circumstances. In our playoff game we lost 5-3 in an end to end encounter which was full of drama and excitement. The team we lost to went on to win the B Playoff. Our boys learnt a lot about the competitive edge needed in such tournaments and each player is better for the experience. Impressively Max Jencks stepped up to the U18 team from U16 and was singled out by opposition coaches and players for his ability and strength.
- Most Valuable Player - Dominic Bendall-Court (Coaching Connexions, UK)
- Coach’s Player - Luke Scott (Coaching Connexions, UK)
Our trip ended with an early morning flight from Oslo back to London Heathrow where all the players and coaches said their goodbyes. There were some tears for players heading away from their friends after such an epic experience, but mostly there were smiles and an aura of joy at what had been achieved. The trip helped all participants make memories that will last a lifetime and helped prepare us all for our future endeavours, both sporting and academic. To see a compilation video of the key highlights during the tour, please click here.
“Throughout the two weeks of the summer tour, I was thrilled by how advanced the level of football was and how professional our environment was.” Ryan Kim
“The tournament was an experience i'll never forget, both the competitive atmosphere and the social encounters allowed me to not only develop as a player but as a person.” Floris Swinckles
“England was a well organised and a great way to bond with the team. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Norway, it was a surreal experience that I won't forget any time soon.” Max Jencks
“The whole tour was an amazing experience that exceeded my expectations. The level of football was outstanding and the opportunities to grow as a footballer and person were even better.” Felipe Diaz-Vargas
We hope all those who joined us last year can join us again in 2018 and remember anyone who is part of our Rising Star Performance Programme at BIS HCMC in 2017/18 will be guaranteed a place on the Summer Tour 2018.
About Rising Star Performance Programme
Hosted here at BIS HCMC, the Rising Star Performance Programme is for boys and girls aged 11-19 with a passion to develop their football ability. With a student focus and holistic approach to player development which also harnesses the power of technology such as GPS tracking, resistance technology and welfare monitoring, we aim to make the exceptional achievable. For those players wishing to pursue college scholarships beyond their time at BIS HCMC, or perhaps professional pathways, RSFA can help facilitate this. The programme can guarantee the development of every young footballer in a fun, friendly and convenient location.
To sign up for the RSFA Performance Programme, please visit the school’s CHQ platform.
James McAloon, Technical Director of Rising Star Football Academy