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Redgate Rovers Under 12 Holland Easter Tournament 2019

This Easter weekend saw Redgate Rovers Junior Football Club under 12’s take their two teams Redgate Yellows and Redgate Greens to Holland for the annual Easter Football


This has been a long standing tradition at the club when the players reach the under 12 season. A year long preparation of fundraising including the end of season awards ceremony which enabled the age group parents to come together and organise BBQ’s, cake sales, raffles, sports massages, sportsman’s dinner evening & comedy bingo to raise the needed funds, it was a hard slog but the Redgate community came together, the flights & accommodation got booked and 22 excited players with 22 very excited dads flew to Amsterdam on Good Friday to take on Europe.

As the boys arrived in Holland in glorious sunshine, all in their matching Redgate tracksuits, both coaches and parents could not help to be filled with a huge sense of pride. First stop for the boys was a pre-arranged trip to the Johan Cruyff Arena the home of Ajax. A fantastic stadium tour and visit to the trophy room only added to the kid’s excitement ahead.

Friday afternoon is a free afternoon for all the boys and dads to prepare for Saturdays games, as previous teams we stayed on a Holiday park called Duinrell in Wassenaar. This could not be more ideal for all, huge water parks on site as well as amusement parks, brilliant fun and for those nervous dads that don’t like scary rides plenty of opportunity was had to laze in the sun over a beer or 2 and talk tactics.

Redgate Greens

We were picked up by coach in the morning and taken to the tournament venue for a 9am start, ideal as the venue was only 15 minutes away.Both teams where kept apart and put into two groups of four teams which consisted of Dutchteams, American and English teams from Peterborough, MK Dons and Liverpool.

On checking the rules we were advised it was 8 a side, 30 minute games and no off sides on what can only be described as huge pitches , the rules were all about to change. Redgate Yellows were first to play against what looked like a very competent AFC Amsterdam side. Then began the confusing part, as the game flowed, the Dutch side were awarded a free kick, the boys retreated, as the Dutch player stepped up to take the free kick he dribbled the ball towards the goal and shot. The Amsterdam boys then proceeded to dribble straight from throw in’s and corners.

We asked for an explanation from the referee but unfortunately did not get one. The game continued with some very one sided refereeing which saw a Redgate player sin binned for 5 minutes for what can only be described as a tackle.

Redgate Yellows

Why we had not been sent the rules or told prior we do not know, so future Redgate teams please take note, but on speaking to the AFC Amsterdam coach we were told dribbling from set plays encourages development. As a coach I am still confused as to how. So if the boys are going to progress in the tournament we were going to have to do it the hard way.

Both teams tried to adapt to the rules as best we could and soon began to settle into our games, both beating all that we played, which enabled both to qualify for the next day’s groups. 12:45pm finish and we were back to the holiday park for more fun in the pools and rides. Sunday 9am the boys were back to it, again two groups of four which consisted of all who qualified, both teams started well, despite the added new rule that when we scored and celebrated the Dutch teams could take the centre kick when all our players were still in their half celebrating a goal. Aiding development again????

Redgate Greens suffered a huge blow when one of their players Charlie Bolger suffered a break and a fracture to his arm following a nasty looking collision by an opposition player. Unfortunately Charlie had to spend the evening in hospital following an operation on his arm. All involved at Redgate send our best wishes to Charlie and wish him a speedy recovery.

The games became tougher and made more difficult in 28 degree heat, but both teams held their own producing battling displays against the home town Dutch club and FC Santos from Liverpool also a tough side from Peterborough, the boys never give up attitude and some heroic displays from both keepers ensured both clubs made the final against each other. Parents and players who were best of mates now at loggerheads for 30 minutes, the heat and sheer fatigue of both teams made for a tense final.

Gary, Ant, Neil, Rob, Tony, Darren (Redgate JFC Coaches)

The yellows started well but some resilient defending and goalkeeping kept them out which in turn enabled the greens to counter and score a couple. The boys had sweated blood, sweat and tears, as the dads sweated Heineken, they had played through pain, even broke bones, had beaten the dubious rules to win the tournament and finish runners up. We came to Holland and got the job done emphatically.

After wins for Everton & Liverpool, the evening progressed into the night as the dad’s battled it out on the dancefloor cutting their best dad dance moves. There was only one winner there though. It was a fantastic weekend one which will live in the memory of all that went, a true testament of a community driven grassroots club whose player development is at the fore front.

A massive thank you to all that has been involved in the fundraising to make the trip possible, Huge thank you to all our Redgate parents and of course all the players who gave it their all.

Long may the journey continue.

Both Teams

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