LNSC European Tour Summer 2017
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7/19 - Day 1:
A long day of travel started mid afternoon as we left a 90o+ Charlotte at 4:50 pm. The group flew to Minneapolis/St. Paul, spent a few hours in the airport, and boarded a midnight flight to Iceland. Happy to say the day was uneventful.
|Charlotte Douglas International Airport ready to go!!!|
7/20 – Day 2:
After grabbing lunch, we headed to our hotel in downtown Reykjavik. Reykjavik is Iceland’s largest (really only) city and was originally settled in the 9th century by Viking explorers.
The kids were sleepy, but we pushed on to our first European matches – friendlies with the largest and most successful club in Iceland – Breidablik FC.
The boys played against a very (VERY) large mixed aged (older) squad and had a bit of a rough go – welcome to European soccer! At any rate they stuck with it, battling their own fatigue and a giant Icelandic team whose “runt” was a good 6ft tall. Coach Tipper was able to see what did and did not work and the boys were able to get their toes wet in international competition.
The girls played Breidablik’s U15 (02) squad and after a slow start and a few self-inflicted wounds (down 2-3 at half) came to life and found the back of the net 6 more times to finish with a 8-3 win. It was a great effort that included 3 goals off corners.
|From the plane to the Blue Lagoon (supporters and players)|
|Girls squad at Blue Lagoon|
|Boys squad at Blue Lagoon|
|Boys and Girls squad at Breidablik FC|
|Girls squad walkout at Breidablik FC friendly|
|Traditional post match meal with LNSC squads and Breidablik FC|
|Girls at post match meal Breidablik FC|
7/21 Day 3:
Up for a typical European breakfast at 7:30 am. Eggs and sausage, cheese and lunch meat (it’s a Scandinavian thing), cereals, fresh breads, potatoes, tomatoes, croissants, fruit, coffee, tea and juice were featured – way better than the continental “breakfast” at the Holiday Inn Express. We were on the bus by 9:00 and headed to the docks to go whale watching. Everyone kitted up in bright orange coveralls (think Deadliest Catch survival suits) and we headed out into the bay to look for wild life. Porpoise, white beaked dolphins and minke whales (which our guide was very excited about seeing every time) were common as were gulls, terns and puffins, which apparently are cute but stupid little birds.
Back in the harbor by 1:30, we stopped at the local grocery store, grabbed some supplies, had a quick lunch at the hotel and headed back out for friendly #2.
The boys played a club known as Liseborg. It was again a tough one for the boys battling a much larger squad. The boys worked to establish a collective approach to the game and prepare for their upcoming tournament. Despite the result, the boys learned a lot from the experience.
At half time, the girls departed the game and headed to the club FH Hafnarf Jördur, which is the club that LNSC WPSL alum Vicky Bruce is playing professionally at. Unfortunately she was not there as the senior women’s team is in Italy playing right now. Another slow start plagued the girls as they went down early and into half time with a 1-2 deficit. Some adjustments allowed the team to rally to make the game 2-2 and after 30 minutes of non-stop threatening, an untimely penalty allowed in the 78th minute cost the team the game.
Players and families headed down to the marina district of Reykjavik for dinner.
7/22 Day 4:
The busses picked everyone up at 9:00am for the famous Golden Circle Tour. The 6-hour tour included some amazing scenery and stops at the Thingvellir national park to see the mid-Atlantic Ridge rift valley, Gulfoss waterfall, and Geyser (the original one). Along the way, we also saw glaciers and volcanoes, a plethora of Icelandic ponies and sheep and caught up on our Icelandic folk songs. It was a great day to gain an appreciation of the unique landscape of Iceland.
No soccer today.
|Catching some rest on bus ride|
7/23 Day 5:
It was an early 5 am start, but not to worry since the sun had been up for 2 hours already. Our bus picked us up at our hotel and we headed to Keflavik airport for a flight to Billunds, Denmark.
Upon arriving we gathered our things and headed an hour north to the club of Viborg where the boys and girls played concurrent friendlies.
The boys lined up against a mixed age group (many Danish players are on their summer holiday right now) with many 02 and 01 players. Now getting used to competing against the bigger players, along with some formation tweaks, the boys were able to compete much better than in Iceland. Despite a massive size difference, the boys battled well for the ball, showed great composure at times and walked away with their heads held high. The squad is showing great signs of improvement in the much rougher environment of European football and looking forward to playing against true U14 players in the Dana Cup in to days time.
The girls also played club Viborg and this time were off to a hot start. 15 minutes in saw the team go up 3-0 on some very good goals. At the half, the girls momentarily took their eyes off the ball and allowed a goal counter to the flow, but recovered and finished the game with s 7-1 victory.
After grabbing a few quick pieces of pizza, players and families boarded the bus for another hour of northerly travel. We arrived in the evening in the town of Aalborg which will be our home base for the next 5 days. Everyone checked in and the players were treated to a hearty dinner of spaghetti, Lasagna, pizza, and salad.
Today was largely a sightseeing day. The group explored Aalborg with a walking tour, then headed to the Danish west coast for a customary swim in the North Sea.
We then at lunch in the beach town of Lokken and headed up the coast to Hirtshals where the boys had a short training session and the girls and parents explored the lighthouse and World War II bunkers.
Finally, the team headed into Hjorring for the opening ceremonies and parade through town.
|Team breakfast at the hotel|
|Exploring WWII bunkers|
|The North Sea Plunge is becoming a LNSC tradition!|
|N Sea Plunge!|
Both teams kicked off group play today.
The boys lost a hard fought match 0-1 with a beautiful header goal disallowed for offside and several other narrowly missed chances. Still they fought well playing their best soccer of the trip so far and look to build on this momentum.
The girls won their first match 4-0 in a game that really should have seen more scoring. They started strong and stayed on the attack almost throughout the match, but simply did not finish enough chances to reflect their dominance in play.
Both teams look to build on today with a pair double headers tomorrow.
Everyone headed to Hjorring for shopping and dinner in the evening.
Day 8: Many of the parents enjoyed a delicious steak dinner at the Hereford House restaurant.