Aspire U-15 win Tri-series tourney
Doha: The under-15 team of Aspire Academy beat Chelsea 4-0 last Wednesday and won the 2000 age group during a Tri-Series Tournament here last week.
Aspire’s under-13 and under-14 boys also notched up victories against “the Blues” but Tokyo Verdy finished on top of both groups.
“I think we did quite well in this tournament, the victories against Tokyo Verdy and Chelsea are a reinforcement of the daily work we are doing at the Academy. It’s quite important to play teams from different countries in order to see how the boys respond to different styles,” said Arno Buitenweg, the U-15 coach at Aspire Academy.
“The game against Aspire Academy was a real physical test for us and we struggled, but hopefully the players will learn from it”, said Chelsea youth coach John Harley, who stressed the importance of participating in competitions like this Tri-Series. “This tournament was well designed for us because it gives our teams the chance to play totally different set-ups, which is good because most of the teams in England play the same style.”
The news about the recent success of Qatar’s U-19 national team has also made its way to England. “It’s quite impressive what they achieved at the Asian Championship and that is a generation of Qatari footballers you have to watch out for,” said former Norwegian international and Chelsea youth coach Tore Andre Flo, who stressed that the next step for these players would be to break into the first team of a professional club. “You have to be ready for it and therefore you need to be mentally strong.”
Fellow Chelsea-coach John Harley, who went through the youth system of Chelsea himself, agreed: “It’s a big step and for many young players, it’s the first time they have to deal with setbacks. It’s important that they show patience, keep their motivation high and work hard. I remember Frank Lampard when he was young. He always stayed longer after training and worked very hard to get where he is now. Technical ability is helpful, but it’s determination that makes the real difference.”