The world’s largest and most international youth football tournament, the Gothia Cup, kicks off next week and three Edinburgh squads are set to make the trip to Gothenburg, Sweden to compete.
Boroughmuir Thistle, Currie Star and Tynecastle will represent Scotland as one of 80 nations involved in the six-day tournament.
Although Tynie have had ten years of experience at the event, and Currie have previously competed, Thistle are newcomers and have been given the honour of carrying the Scottish flag during the opening ceremony. Dave Upton, coach coordinator at Boroughmuir, says the club are relishing the occasion.
“The girls are buzzing about it. They’ll be walking out in front of 50,000 people in the Ullevi stadium and it’ll be an experience that’ll stay with them for a very long time.
“Kirsty Buist, who’s been at the club for six years, will be the flag-bearer as she’s been at the club the longest of the group we’re taking. Another one of the girls has offered to play the bagpipes and the girls will all have their faces painted with the Saltire. It’ll be a proud occasion for them all,” he said.
The Meggetland side will be taking three under-13s teams and one under-15s team, comprising of 65 players to the tournament whilst their Edinburgh counterparts will be taking party of 150 including players, coaches and parents.
It isn’t the first time 42-year-old Upton has made the trip. Eight years ago, he took a Hutchison Vale side which included Hibs’ Jason Cummings and Hearts’ Sam Nicholson to Sweden. The trip was of huge benefit to the developing youngsters and Upton believes Boroughmuir will reap the same rewards.
“I think the key benefit for the girls will be the bonding experience.
“For a lot of them it’ll be their first time abroad without family so I think that ten days with each other will be really good for them. It’ll be a fantastic experience for them to play in another country and at a higher level.
“Playing against different teams from around the world will give them a good experience of other styles of football.”