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Newington Rangers Football Club U14s, winners of the Keele International Players Cup.
The Keele International Cup offers football teams from across the world the opportunity to play competitive football. The cup attracts 250 teams and this year included 86 national teams outside of England from 19 different countries. Wales has the largest number - 18, Scotland (16) Norway and Kenya (both 9) Ireland (8) USA (7) Nigeria (4) Egypt (2) United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Columbia, Northern Ireland, Albania, Romania and Palestine.
The Youth Tournament (which Newington Rangers played in) included many Academy teams including Swedish champions AIK, Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, Watford and Port Vale.
Here's a diary of our five-days in Keele:
Everyone arrived at Sobell Leisure Centre at 7.30 for departure to Keele University, where the residential was taking place. Everyone was very excited. At 4.30pm everyone went to Manchester City Academy for a tour of Manchester City Football Club and a training session with elite coaches. First night - everyone went to bed early ready for the first match.
First match kick off was at 10.30am, result Newington Rangers 7 v Crewe Alexander FC 1. The second match kicked off, result was Newington Rangers 1 v Airbus Academy Football Club 1. After the second match everyone was slightly down because of the draw, but were pleased that they drew with a football from a football academy background. During the evening the coaches worked with the players to provide coaching points and mentally prepare the players for the next day.
In the first match Newington Rangers lost to Avon Athletics 2- 3. All the team was disappointed with result. For the second match the team that was meant to play pulled out at last minute. Although this meant Newington Rangers automatically won, the other results meant that Newington Rangers were out of the Winner Cup, but were now in the Players Cup.
Players Cup Semi-final day. The match kicked off at 4.15pm, the result was Newington Rangers 1 v West End FC 0. This meant Newington Rangers went through to the final.
Day Five, the last day... and the final
On the final day the team woke up and had breakfast early to prepare for the final match ahead. The match was held at Keele University Campus against Branksome Football Club.
At half time the score was 1 – 1, Newington Rangers spent the second half pulling together as a team. The final score was Newington Rangers FC 5 v Branksome FC 1. Newington Rangers had won the Players Club. After the match everyone received individual medals, and the team trophy.