U8’s academy battled some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and come home triumphant.
Luton Town Academy are immensely proud of the achievements of our youngest touring group. On their first tour in Europe the U8’s academy battled some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and came home triumphant.
Over two days, 58 teams from 14 different countries they fought in the Weyer Pfingstcup.
Throughout the tournament our U8’s showed determination and above all demonstrated what it really means to be a Luton player, hard graft and desire to succeed.
With these attributes shining bright, the U8’s were victorious, finishing top in two separate tournaments! A feat made particularly sweet as the majority are Luton born lads and have been with our Academy since the age of 5. This is the first year we have taken the boys abroad, usually sticking within the UK, playing in the North West tour against Liverpool and Manchester United. Undaunted by this new challenge, the boys left Ely way at 3.00am and headed to Dusseldorf, Germany. Our fearless warriors unpacked and got use to their surroundings.
Day 1 - Weyer Pfingstcup
The U8’s were drawn in group B, with a few local teams and French giants Olympique Marseille! Both players and staff were thrilled, as we had travelled to face the best in Europe and Olympique Marseille were able going to offer us some real competition. The boys started slowly in the first game conceding in the last minute to draw 1-1 but followed it up with an impressive 9-0 with seven different goal scorers.
Then we came up against Marseille who had won both their games so far...
Keen to rise to the challenge, the U8’s were excellent, not only retaining possession with a purpose, but a desire to win the ball back in their half. Success!!! A very impressive 3-0 win to the Town.
A highlight of the day was when Kieran Hayton picked up the ball in midfield, as three players pressed him, he scooped the ball over their heads and into the path of Benedict Benagr who finished on the half volley across the goalkeeper into the far corner.
Getting a taste for victory, the boys hunger never wavered. Winning the next game 6—0. This was followed by an impressive display against Hertha Berlin, beating them 2-0. Straight to top of the group, qualifying for the Champions Cup.
The first group game for the Champions cup was played on Day one, in their stride, there was no stopping the U8’s. Providing the cherry on the cake that was the first day, they proudly topped the new group, winning 4-0.
25 goals scored, 1 goal conceded and 5 clean sheets.
With smiles on their faces and the trophy within their grasp, the boys continued to show their commitment to the cause that evening. When discussing preparation for the challenges ahead, they eagerly listened and contributed great ideas.
Finally surprising staff with the way they managed themselves and decided on healthy dinner selection and lots of fruit!!!
Day 1 Results – Group B
1-1 Draw Cronenberger SC > S.Hope
9-0 Win Juchen > C.Chigozie, K.Hayton, B.Benagr, F.McManus, L.Sandford, S.Hope x2, L.Willaims-Barnett x2
3-0 Win Olympique Marseille > S.Hope, B.Benagr, L.Sandford
6-0 Win SpVgg Porv > K.Hayton, F.O’Brien, S.Hope, L.Sandford x3
2-0 Win Hertha Berlin > B.Benagr, K.Hayton
Day 1 Champions Cup
4-0 Win Eisesheim Dortmund > S.Hope, L.Sandford x3
Day 2- Champions Cup
With a winners breakfast and armed the nights preparation, the troops faced two difficult teams, Nurenberg and St Pauli.
Nurenberg were beaten comfortably 2-0, while a 2-2 draw with St Pauli ment the U8’s remained at the top to qualify 1st. Looking forward to the semi-final against Maniz 05, though the stubborn confidence shown in the game’s leading to this point was not as present. A win was visibly the thing the boys had set their sights on.
After a nervy start to the game and lots of transition in possession, the town scored the only goal from a corner, turned in on the volley by Lewis Sandford. Putting us through to the Final against Norwich City. Having already finished above Manchester City, PSV Eindhoven and Marseille, it was time to finish the job against Norwich City!
Once again the boys faced the challenge fearlessly, they had already demonstrated the attributes of champions. The game was two halves of nine minutes, tight throughout with both teams having half chances but neither team being able to really test each other’s keepers. Half time came and the score was 0-0.
Half time and our 8’s needed to be brave. With a boost from the coaches, and parents willing them on, they gathered their strength for the final push.
For the first time in the game Benedict Benagr got free of his marker… turning, he drew two players into him… a perfect weighted pass on the angle… Lewis Sandford far corner!!! Fantastic goal!
Christian Chigozie effected the ball quickly when Norwich made their last effort.
The final whistle blew!!! COYH!!!!
Luton Town were crowned Under 8’s Champions of Europe!
The boys were elated, parents in tears and coaches delirious!
A fantastic season finale for the U8’s. The Academy couldn’t be prouder of their achievement.
Day 2 Champions Cup
2-0 Win Nurenberg > B.Benagr, L.Williams-Barnett
2-2 Draw St Pauli > B.Benagr x2
0-0 Draw Hertha Berlin
1-0 Win Mainz 05 > L.Sandford
1-0 Win Norwich City > L.Sandford
Day 3- U9’s Dusseldorf Cup
Our newly crowned champs were sent straight into an under 9’s tournament which consisted of a league of 6 teams.
After night of silliness and celebration the champs got off to a slow start and lost their first game. But the fighting spirit that driven their success the previous day could not be tamed. They bounced back, winning the next four games and being crowned champions for a second time!
The boys showed quality in and out of possession with Finley McManus being dubbing him the new ‘Paul Scholes’ by rival fans! An exceptional goal from Luca Williams Barnett, as two defenders got drawn to the ball, he showed his creative mind by lifting it over the oncoming players before volleying it bottom hand corner beyond the goalkeeper. Reminding us all of Paul Gascoigne against Scotland in Euro ‘’96. A special mention to Charlie Booth, Captain and Goalkeeper who kept 12 clean sheets whilst on the 3 day tour, he demonstrated great maturity in goal with his ability to play out from the back with his feet and making crucial saves when called into action.
A massive well done to all that have been involved in their development to date and I’m sure we will be having more weekends like this in years to come. Come on you Hatters.
Day 3 Dusseldorf Cup
1-2 Lost Fortuna Dusseldorf > K.Hayton
1-0 Win Tennis Borrussia Berlin > K.Buckthorpe
6-0 Win Lokomotive Plovdiv > K.Hayton, B.Benagr, S.Hope, L.Sandford, L.Williams-Barnett, K.Buckthorpe
3-2 Win Fc Honka > F.McManus, L.Sandford, B.Benagr
1-0 Dynamo Dresden > B.Benagr
Continue to follow the academy through our twitter account on @ltfcacademytour