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Beijing Dongcheng girls' football tour was a great learning experience

Beijing Dongcheng girls' football tour was a great learning experience

Beijing Dongcheng U15 girls' team spent a week in Lisbon for the football tour of their lives! Not only did they get the chance to play a handful of football matches against numerous international opponents, enhancing their skills and experience, but they also got to appreciate our fair capital, Lisbon.

 

They say sports, and football in particular, is somewhat a form of universal language, uniting people from different countries, languages and cultures. That's what we at Move Sports felt at the end of a week-long football tour that we had the pleasure of organising for 23 girls and staff from the Beijing Dongcheng U15 girls’team, who travelled all the way from mainland China to Lisbon, Portugal, on October 24. 

At the Lisbon International Airport, the girls were met by a translator, who would be their companion for the remainder of their trip to Portugal. All team players and staff stayed at a nice, comfy hotel near the city centre. It was time to have a rest from the long flight and prepare for the first match on Portuguese soil, the next day.

Soo much football

On October 25, the girls had their first test: a friendly match against the Irish girls from St. Raphael college – who were on a football tour of their own, also catered for by Move Sports. Spirits were high and confidence grew as the Chinese girls won this match. They were all too anxious for the main course of their tour: participating in the 3rd edition of the Lisbon Football Youth Cup.

LFYC is a youth football tournament like few others: this year's edition presented 70 matches in five different age groups (boys U13, U15 and U17; girls U15 and U17) over three pitches at the Lisbon University Stadium complex. Overall, 600 young footballers representing 26 international teams competed in the tournament.

Over the weekend, the Beijing Dongcheng girls’ skills were tested to the max in 5 matches against Portuguese (Sporting CP and SL Benfica) and Swedish (Hammerby IF) adversaries. Although the girls didn't manage to win a single match, they learned fast and their performance improved noticeably as the tournament went on. As the girls' coach put it, "the event is professional and well-prepared. The games were fantastic and high level, which made our team gain a lot of experience. We are looking forward to attending the tournament next year!"  

 

There's much to see and do in Lisbon

A trip to Lisbon is more than only about football. Portugal's capital is one of the oldest in Europe, and therefore has a rich historical and cultural heritage for any tourist to enjoy.

So did the Beijing Dongcheng girls, having spent their last two days on a sightseeing extravaganza. First, they visited Belém and tried the famous cream custard pies. Then they moved on to the very city centre, having visited the gorgeous XII century Lisbon Cathedral and Saint George's Castle, at the top of one of the city'sseven hills. The following day was spent at the Vasco da Gama Aquarium (named after the famous Portuguese XVI century voyager and seaman), host to an enormous variety of sea life. Before they were to fly home, the girls also did a tour of Sporting CP - one of the most popular clubs in the city - stadium and museum.

Back home, the girls sent us a heartfelt message: "Thank you for hosting us in Lisbon. Lisbon is a beautiful and historic city, we really enjoyed our time here."

We sure enjoyed having you. We're already preparing LFYC 2020 and we would be thrilled to have you in Lisbon once again next year! 

Atherton Town FC's football tour in Lisbon was a blast

Atherton Town FC's football tour in Lisbon was a blast

Move Sports organised a great football tour for the U16 boys' team from Atherton Town FC, a club that is home to three senior and 20 junior teams near Manchester, UK. For five days, the lads played three friendly matches against local teams, watched a live Portuguese championship match at one of the Euro 2004 stadiums and still had the time to try out the beach. What a blast!

In the end, all the hard work paid off: for months, the boys from the U16 team at Atherton Town FC worked their way through friends and family, sponsors and local businesses to secure the needed funding for a five-day football tour to Lisbon, Portugal. At last, the long-awaited day came: 32 people, the boys and the team's technical staff, flew to Lisbon on October 23. At the Lisbon International airport, Manuel, Move Sports liaison officer, was waiting to take them to their hotel of choice in Caparica, a small town on the outskirts of Lisbon known for the warm weather and clean, golden sandy beaches.

 

3 days, 3 football matches

The boy's first full day in Lisbon was filled with sports and emotion. In the morning, after a much-appreciated breakfast buffet, they took a surfing lesson near the hotel. Afterwards, would they have the strength to take on the team from 1º de Dezembro, their first local opponent? Indeed they did: in a match played with great fair-play and even greater fun, the Atherton Town's boys won 1-4. 

This splendid performance was to be repeated the next day, this time against the historical Lisbon club Os Belenenses. Final score: 0-3. 

Could there ever be a team that defeated the English boys? The responsibility to defend the Portuguese clubs' honour fell upon Club Dramático de Cascais, in a match scheduled for October 26. Maybe the boys were tired from the previous matches, or maybe Cascais' players were particularly inspired that day: this time the Portuguese team took the better of it, having won 3-0.

In the end, the boys had the time of their life! As the team manager, Paul Grainey, put it, "we've all had a brilliant time. Thank so much for everything that you've done for us".

 

More than football

October 27: on their final day in Lisbon, the boys had the chance to visit some of Lisbon's touristic highlights. The city is well known worldwide as one of the fairest capitals in Europe, with its subtle mix of the old and the new, from the historical buildings to the avant-garde, modern cafés and shops, all bathed in the warm southern sunlight that is subject matter to poets and novelists. 

Anyway, once a footballer, always a footballer! The boys wouldn't return home without experiencing the emotions of a live Portuguese championship match at Alvalade XXI, one of the stadiums built for the Euro 2004 and home of the 100+ years old Sporting CP. 

All that is good must come to an end: the next day, the boys would return to their hometown of Atherton. As they boarded the plane, there was still time for the last text message, this time directed at the faithful liaison officer who took upon him the noble task of delivering the perfect sports tour: "Manuel has been fantastic for us. He's the man!"

See you soon boys. Take care!

 

LFYC 2019: Lisbon was made the capital of youth football by 600 players

LFYC 2019: Lisbon was made the capital of youth football by 600 players

A sunny and warm Lisbon welcomed about 600 athletes from 26 teams coming from five countries across two continents to compete in one of the best youth football tournaments in Europe: the third edition of the Lisbon Football Youth Cup took Portugal's capital by storm this past October 26 and 27.

The Lisbon Football Youth Cup is a combination of Lisbon's warm Autumn weather, passion for football, competitiveness and desire to win! It is also a poster child for the ability of sports in general and football in particular to promote understanding and friendship amongst people of very different backgrounds and culture. For two full days, the sports complex of the Lisbon University Stadium witnessed extremely competitive football matches played with great fair play, and even as each and every team had the same goal - to win the cup - the defeated teams ended their matches in a good mood and happy to have participated. 

It took about 70 matches over a weekend full of football to find our Lisbon Football Youth Cup 2019 champions in five different age groups: boys U13, U15 and U17; girls U15 and U17. Overall, 600 young footballers representing 26 teams coming from 5 countries competed in what is, indisputably, a great youth football tournament.

 

Test ground for local teams 

It should come as no surprise, given that LFYC calls Lisbon its home, that local teams made up about half the participating teams. Portuguese clubs, academies and schools come to the Lisbon Football Youth Cup to test their team's quality against international opponents that pose different challenges, given the different styles of play.

But old rivalries aren't easy to forget. That's why one of the most anticipated matches in the tournament was the classic and passionate Lisbon derby between the two biggest city clubs: SL Benfica and Sporting CP. Their U15 girls' teams were to battle each other on Saturday afternoon at the end of the group stage. The game would determine which team would come out of this stage in the first place, further upping the stakes. At the of a very balanced game, which drew the attention of many football fans, Benfica got the better of it. Final score: 2-1 for the red team.

Fate plays tricks on the heart of footballers and fans alike: on Sunday, these teams were to meet again, this time in the grand final that took place at the Honour Stadium inside the Lisbon University Stadium complex. Once again, balance was the dominant note of the match, but this time the Sporting girls earned the ultimate prize: at the end of a very tactical but nevertheless exciting clash they won 1-0 and took the trophy to Alvalade, their home turf.

 

North, south... and the far east

The Lisbon Football Youth Cup has always been an international competition, ever since its first edition back in 2017. Like their Portuguese counterparts, numerous international teams participate in LFYC as a way to test their gameplay in the context of a demanding trophy, where each team must compete in about 5 matches over a busy weekend of football.

You could almost say that this year's LFYC was a battle between the south, with its "Latin" style of play, and the north, with its traditionally more "vertical" gameplay, as Lisbon was the host of a significant contingent of teams coming from Sweden (Åsa IF, Ursviks IK, Lidingö, Hammarby IF and Kallfors) and Finland (HJK 02, HJK 06, HP-4 and PuiU/MPS). Additionally, from Ireland came the intrepid girls from Galway WFC. Nevertheless, boldly going where no other Chinese team had gone before, we had the pleasure of welcoming Beijing Dongcheng's U17 girls' team, rendering the 2019 edition of LFYC a truly worldwide tournament.  

The boys' U17 competition was a perfect illustration of this clash between southern and northern styles of play. In one of the semi-finals, two Portuguese teams battled: CF Os Belenenses and Colégio São Tomás. The match ended with a 2-2 draw; in the penalty kicks, Colégio São Tomás' boys were more efficient and won 4-3. In the other semi-final, Ursviks IF (from Sweden) and HJK 02 (from Finland) also came to a draw: 1-1 was the final score. The penalty kicks (4-3) dictated that Ursivks IF would fight for the cup in the final match of the day. This time, the north won: Colégio São Tomás didn't find an antidote to the visiting team's more physical and direct gameplay and conceded the win 4-2.  

 

The rise of female football is real and it shows at LFYC

Female football is becoming ever more popular worldwide, thanks in part to global stars such as Marta, from Brazil, Mia Hamm, from the USA, or Caroline Seger, from Sweden. Increasingly more girls take up the "beautiful game" as their sport of choice, and it shows at LFYC as well: we had 11 teams from five countries competing for the cup in the U15 and U17 categories. 

Female footballers don't lag behind their masculine counterparts in no accountable way, which is a testament of the great work being developed all over by schools, academies and clubs. The girls playing at LFYC displayed a very evolved tactical and technical gameplay, and every match was a delight to watch. Very balanced competitiveness was, once again, the dominant note: even the underdogs from Beijing Dongcheng proved a very worthy adversary. They learned fast and their performance improved noticeably as the tournament went on.

More than any other, one team deserves the headlines: the girls' U17 team from Ireland, Galway WFC. In their homeland, during the last sporting season, they won both the championship and the cup. At LFYC, they remained undefeated all the way until the final, where they encountered the experienced SL Benfica team. After a 1-1 draw at the end of the regular time, the Irish girls kept their cool and ended up with the trophy in their hands, having won the penalty kicks 6-5.

 

A football party on and off-field

What makes this tournament so special isn't only the dozens of matches played by a myriad of international teams over a full weekend of competition. It is also the spirit of intercultural friendship, like when the Chinese girls gifted their opponents with tokens of appreciation from their culture. Such spirit permeates the food court and fun zone, where the players with their multi-coloured jerseys and the fans of multiple nationalities congregate: you wouldn't believe the racket a group of Swedish supporters can summon! It is also the opportunity to visit Lisbon and nearby Sintra or Cascais, which many foreign teams happily take.  

Minna, the team manager for the Finnish team HJK 02, said it best: "We really enjoyed it. The weather was good, the location of our hotel was perfect and the tournament was well organised. Please include age group U20 so we can come back!" 

All of us at Move Sports, the tournament organiser, couldn't be more proud of our work and of all the teams that participated! All year round we organise training camps, sports tours and corporate events around many different sports, but both the Lisbon Football Youth Cup and Portugal Rugby Youth Festival are what makes our hearts beat faster and stronger! We already miss the whistle sound that signals one more match beginning. That's why we are already preparing the 2020 edition of the Lisbon Football Youth Cup!

The Shortcut #14

The Shortcut #14

A weekly digest of sports state of the art knowledge, researched by Move Sports insiders for a passionate global community.

The Shortcut #13

The Shortcut #13

A weekly digest of sports state of the art knowledge, researched by Move Sports insiders for a passionate global community.

Move Sports: September on edge

Move Sports: September on edge

If the increase in national GDP depended only on the activity of Move Sports, we would have excellent news for our country. Indeed, when it comes to corporate sports events and sports tourism, the fundamental areas of our work, the month of September brought us remarkable moments.

Are you ready to Move?

Book your sports tour or training camp with us.

Are you ready to Move?

Book your sports tour or training camp with us.

Move Sports organizes training camps, sports tours and corporate events in Portugal and Spain around sports such as football, rugby, field hockey, swimming, basketball, athletics and lacrosse, amongst others. Move Sports offers a comprehensive service to schools, clubs and companies from all over the world, ranging from sports organization to travel and transfers, accommodation and ancillary entertainment and leisure programs.

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