Hatters finish 18th out of 150 teams in youth tournamentJust one week after Luton Town’s Under 11s had sold Charlie Patino to Arsenal, the squad travelled to Dusseldorf, Germany to compete in the LED Lenser Pfingstcup. Alex Matos (now of Norwich City) and Charlie Patino were scheduled to be a part of the squad, so Luton arrived with a small squad of 9 players to participate in the 7v7 tournament.
150 teams entered the tournament with some of the world’s biggest clubs being involved: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sao Paulo, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus were just some of the names included in the tournament schedule. Luton Town were drawn in a group with Austria Wien, TSV Kottern, FC Brünninghausen and Fortuna Düsseldorf. Luton started strongly with slick passing and quick counter attacking football leading to a 1-0 win in their first game against TSV Kottern. The Hatters then dismantled Austria Wien, only to concede a late goal and draw the game 1-1. Luton went on to beat both Düsseldorf and Brünninghausen 2-1 to top the group with ten points, and set up fixtures with Swedish and Italian giants Brommapojkana and Juventus!
The next round did not start as planned, with the Town losing 1-0 to an impressive Brommapojkana side in their first game, albeit to a controversial penalty decision. This loss meant that Luton would have to beat Juventus to qualify for the next round…
The game against Juventus started at a furious pace, with both sides displaying an array of attacking flair; this was definitely a game for the neutral! Though the Italian side boasted some very impressive individual players, they were to find Luton Full Back Freddie Newton and Goalkeeper Gabriel Ryan in superb form. Ryan’s excellent ability to distribute set up both Harvey Williams and Ed McJannet for goals during the game, but each time the young men in orange were pegged back by excellent goals from Juve. Seconds after Juventus had equalised to pull the Hatters back to 2-2, Harvey Williams got through on goal again after some great passing combinations involving several of Luton’s players. He kept his cool to finish the chance off to re-establish Luton’s lead 3-2 and send the crowd into a frenzy – This was to be, one of the biggest giant killings of the tournament!
Excellent individual and team defending meant that Luton held the lead for the remaining minutes and went through to play Borussia Dortmund in the next round.
The Juventus game had taken its toll on Luton’s boys with many of the boys struggling to draw anything more from the tank in the next game. The 9 man squad had each played a lot of football in the first day and looked tired during the Dortmund game. The Town went on to finish 18th in the 150 team tournament, ahead of some of the biggest club’s in the world and finished the tournament with an excellent display beating Brommapojkana 3-1. Eddie Corbit was instrumental demonstrating a passing master class during this game, and Luton’s U11s were applauded for their over achievement during this tournament.
Foundation Phase Lead Coach Ross O’Kane said “The boys have done fantastically well. They have competed in hot temperatures, with a small squad and seen off some fantastic opposition. The future looks bright for us (Luton Town) and these tournaments are massively important to the boy’s development. They have handled every aspect from the physical to the mental, to the technical and tactical really well, and I am very proud of the way they have portrayed Luton in Europe this weekend.”
Luton Town’s Under 9s and 10s will travel to Verl, Germany this Wednesday for their own tournaments and we look forward to further success.
Come on you Hatters!