Having the opportunity to go to a foreign country and play in an international tournament is an experience that I am very thankful to have been apart of. I would absolutely do it again because the connections you make between your teammates and coaches is something that will last forever. Being chosen to be a student leader for the trip was also a privilege that I tried to live out to the fullest. I 100% enjoyed the trip but it didn’t come without its hardships.
Straight away from our first step out of the airport we felt the humidity and heat of Singapore hit us like a wave. It was certainly something we had to get used too and keeping hydrated was a huge part of the trip, making sure we always had a full water bottle and we were constantly sipping on it. Being so humid, there was also a major storm forecasted for the time in which we were there, so we also experienced rain, thunder, lightning and black clouds fill the sky.
Being the main reason we were there, we had a football training/conditioning session on the first day we were in Singapore to get us used to the climate and stretch our legs. The next day was Monday, we had our first game of the tournament against Indonisia’s football plus (the soon to be champions of the tournament) and unfortunately lost 5-0. The loss was clearly not what we were hoping for but it gave us a good wake up call and insight of what to expect from other teams. Our second game of the day was against fellow Australian team, Mindil Aces Football Club from Darwin, we won that game 2-0 and I was lucky enough to have been given the first goal. We ended the day with some shopping and went out for dinner at Wing Zone and had burgers.
On Tuesday we had our third game which was against Philippines, Great Oak Manor. We had a foam rolling session before having our warm up and getting into the game. We started slow but had majority of the possession and had some good early plays, but due to the speed of the Filipinos, they scored two goals past us in the first half that we shouldn’t have let through. At half time, Coach James Harmer gave us a very inspirational talk, he told us about Manchester United and all the times that they came back from behind to win the game. Our boys went into the second half with heads high and a knowledge of what had to be done to win the game. Just as the first half we had most of the possession, me playing as a central striker had a chance to score a goal off a great ball into the middle from my right winger, Liam Henderer, but it was unfortunately called offside. I was upset but I think it helped drive the team to do even better, Brandon Cummins was on a run and cut in having a shot from beyond the 18 yard box and it curling top right for our first goal. In a last effort attempt with less than 10minutes left of the half, we changed the formation and had two strikers. This moved proved vital as our previous fullback went on to score 2 goals and winning us the game, the feeling of coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 was unbelievable. It came down to not giving up and everyone giving 110%.
The Wednesday was another big day for the team as winning that first game would out us into the quarter finals. On the bus to the football pitches, we had time to visualise how we were to play during the game. Arriving at our ground that we were to play on, we warmed ourselves up and got ready to verse Singapore’s, Junior Dream Team. South Coast came out on top 1-0 but it took us the whole game to score, having at least 6 shots on goal throughout. But the win put us through to the quarter finals against, Sekolah Sepak Bola Tumpass (Indonesia). Scoring an early goal we had the upper hand and kept the lead for the first half and were confident going into the second half. The Indonesian team scored two goals from set pieces and knocked us out of the competition. The unfortunate loss brought majority of the team to tears and it took a some time for us to get back on out feet and enjoy the rest of the trip. After the games, we wen to the Singapore zoo, one of the greatest in the world, and had KFC for the first time as a treat for our hard work. The fun we had at the zoo helped us put the loss behind us and relax a little.
Having no games on the Thursday gave us a day off and we went to Sentosa Island to visit the water park, Adventure Cove. We spent majority of the day there and had fun in the artificial waves and going on the water slides, a giant fish tank with all sorts of aquatic life was on show and gave people the opportunity to go snorkelling without leaving the city. Later on, the park was closed and people were rushed out due to a severe weather warning, so our coaches took us to the Vivo shopping center where a Filipino family wanted pictured with us like we were celebrities. Most of the boys went to the Nike shop and bought new shoes, we had maccas for dinner and went back to our hotel, Hotel Royal at Queens.
Our final day in Singapore was spent at Universal Studios, which was the highlight of lots of the players. It was a great time to get to know each other and spend time on the huge roller coasters and making memories with our brothers. One of my fondest memories was waiting at the top of our favourite roller coaster and a storm was forecasted so we sat at the top with coach James and a few of the other guys waiting for 30 minutes just talking and sharing life stories with each other. After most of the day had past we headed back to the hotel and had dinner. We packed most of our bags and got ready to leave the next morning.
By Conan John