THE final goal has only just been kicked but already McDonald’s Mini World Cup organisers are planning a bigger and better 2013 tournament with expanded age divisions and more international teams.
This year’s tournament ended in Inverell yesterday with Coffs Harbour United (Italy), Toowoomba Grammar (Spain) and New Zealand (New Zealand) taking home the spoils.
Coffs won the U13 boys division defeating Coffs/Grafton (Ivory Coast) 3-1 on penalties after they’d finished 1-all at the end of regulation time.
Toowoomba Grammar 1 then took out the U16s to go back to back after winning the 15s last year. They beat Muswellbrook (Germany) 3-nil in the final.
In the women’s, the Kiwis, led by New Zealand international Helen Collins, were too good for North Armidale (Germany) in the final, getting up 4-nil.
They were the tournament’s first international team but organisers are expecting more next year – possibly another New Zealand team, and teams from Germany, the USA and Japan.
Next year’s tournament will also see the introduction of an U12s competition, and the extension of the U16s competition to U17s.
That’ll cater for players 15, 16 and 17.
Both changes were the result of input from players and parents and coaches.
“There is nothing for the older kids in this region in regards to tournaments,” organiser Heinrich Haussler said.
As for the lowering of the age, the interest is there with a few 10-year-lds running around in the 13s
One of the unique aspects of the tournament is the opportunity it provides to travel overseas with the player of the tournament in each age group being selected to tour Germany in July next year with the Joeys Football Academy.
This year there was also an award for the international player of the tournament.
That went to New Zealand’s Opal Shaw.
She will also tour with the age group prize winners.
The women’s player of the tournament was Coffs Harbour’s Brianna Martin and in the 16s Uralla’s Jack Campbell was judged best.
He was part of the successful Toowoomba Grammar side.
Coffs’ Michael Kita won the 13s scholarship. “It was a big surprise,” Kita said.
It was his first time playing in the Mini World Cup.
“It’s been great,” he said.
He plays centre midfield/forward and now has a trip to Germany next year to look forward to.
It’s a trip that could open a lot of doors, as it did for last year’s women’s scholarship winner Lauren Rouse-Upjohn.
She was making her Bundesliga debut for SV Bardenbach on the Sunday night of the tournament dinner.