BIC U10 wins the prestigious IBER Cup

Bristol Inner City U10 Football Academy wins the prestigious IBER CUP Scandinavia Youth Football Tournament 

A central Bristol Independent Football Academy “Bristol Inner City” has won the prestigious IBER Cup at the first time of entering.

Patrick Williams, Head of the Academy said “It’s an amazing achievement for our club and the first of many we aim for that our young players will never forget”.

Preparation and planning over a six month period, plus structured pre and post match routine provided the boys going on tour the information and means to cope with playing two games per day. A schedule that left very little time for much else until the last day before we returned to Bristol.

The tournament provided the boys a practical experience of the pre tour briefing covering pre and post match nutrition, games analysis, sleep and rest periods. The boys are learning but more importantly, understanding the importance these play in aiding recovery.

The invitation to enter the IBER Cup was predominately thanks to references from professional football club academies, who recognised our commitment to developing young players that ultimately resulted in allowing us through their doors to play fixtures, also equally supportive of our aim to arrange similar experiences with their European counterparts. This is part of our overall strategy of providing players at Bristol Inner City Academy a broader experience to aid their development.

The tournament took place around the fabulous Blue Water Stadium, home to Danish Premier League side Esbjerg FC. The pitch was, as expected, fantastic and suited our style of play.

We lost our first fixture to the side we would eventually defeat in the final, The Football Academy Poland, who are linked to two of the top sides in Poland! Losing the opening game left the boys knowing they would need to win four of the five remaining games to secure qualification. Our next opponents were a very good Norwegian Football Academy, who the boys were able to watch and study prior to our game in the afternoon.

The information the boys gained and our high tempo game, coupled with our outstanding counter attacking football saw us take a 4-0 lead after 15 minutes, only for the second half to be a more even affair. The game ended with us winning 4-2. Over the next two days the boys drew one and then went on to win the remaining three fixtures. More notably among these fixtures were two victorys over professional club academies from Norway and Denmark to qualify for the quarter finals.

In the quarter final we found ourselves playing the biggest academy in Denmark. In what was a tight affair we eventually overcame our academy opposition 3-1 to progress to the semi-final

The semi final presented us with a different challenge on the pitch and added experience of playing in front of a large and vocal, Portuguese premier league academy side OS Belenenses. It was a classic affair with BIC going 1-0 up, only to find ourselves 2-1 down after two quick fire strikes just before half time. The boys then showed great resilience, determination and character to win the game 3-2.

The Final was well supported by clubs from all over Europe, Liverpool, Benfica, Brighton, Aberdeen, Reading, SK Sturm Graz, Sporting Lisbon to name but a few.

It was a game of two halves and again the boys showed an outstanding attitude and resilience to come from behind to beat our opponents FA Poland who had previously beaten us in our opening fixture.

Poland dominated the first half with good possession and took the lead from a very well work goal. Second half, and a few tactical adjustments plus an inclusive change to our playing personnel saw us dominate, scoring two fantastic goals and sending our British counterparts wild!

Our Under 13’s progressed from a very difficult group of professional club academy sides that challenged the boys to play at the very highest standard only to lose their quarter final to UEFA Champions League qualifier SK Sturm Graz. Learning the lesson; if you give time and space to quality players you pay the price. This was a very welcome learning curve for our players and one that will hold them in good stead in the future.

Following our success we have been invited to take part in a professional club tournament in Copenhagen at the end of September. Professional club teams participating will be from Spain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy. Another fantastic opportunity and experience for our young players.

I am sure the boys will remember this experience for the rest of their lives, achieving the highest level in youth football I have had the pleasure to be involved in and one that was only possible thanks to all the players, sponsors, coaches, volunteers and parents for making this happen. In keeping with our development strategy we will indeed be looking to attend again next season, as well as follow up on invitations from European professional clubs to play challenging fixtures; something that is and remains our ultimate objective.

We have been very kindly invited onto the Geoff Twentyman BBC Radio sport show on Wednesday 7th September 2016 providing a further experience for the boys.

To watch the final 

Players Required – Why not join us?

From the experiences and coaching philosophy at Bristol Inner City Academy it is inevitable players will be invited into professional club academies. The latest being three U16’s who have just recently signed for Newport County. These latest scholars make a total of eight players in the last three years from just this age group alone, who have progressed and signed for professional clubs.  Players of all age groups who are looking for a challenge and desire to develop their game are always welcome to join our South & Central Academy Programme.  Contact details below.

Patrick Williams – Head Of Academy