Academy of Football host U14 Easter tournament
Young sides from across the globe visited West Ham United’s Academy of Football over the Easter weekend to take part in the U14 Football Cup at Little Heath.
The Hammers’ young outfit took on the likes of Norwegian side Sandefjord, Canadians Vancouver Whitecaps, an Irish FA squad and eventual winners and Japanese team Kawisha Reysol in the group stages over the two-day tournament in east London.
They also faced Danish club HB Køge in a play-off for seventh spot, having finished fourth in their five-team group, but were beaten 3-2 in an entertaining tie.
Fellow English side Tottenham Hotspur – who beat Leicester City, Dutch outfit Willem II, New York from the USA and HB Køge to top their group – took Kawisha Reysol all the way in the high-quality final clash, drawing 3-3 in normal time before eventually being beaten on penalties.
Academy Director Terry Westley was delighted with the success of the tournament and expressed his pride at being able to host clubs from all corners of the world.
He said: “I think what we have to come to terms with is that when you watch Premier League games, all the players start at some level. When you’re looking at the Premier League, it’s a multi-national competition, and this is what we’ve seen this weekend at U14 level.
“Teams from all over the world have taken part in this Easter tournament, resulting in the team from Japan winning the tournament on penalties against Tottenham Hotspur in the final.
“We’ve seen an excellent display of football, resulting in a good quality final and you walk away as a developer, seeing how good the players are and thinking about the journeys of the young players involved.
“I think everyone leaves here today rightly proud of how good the tournament was.
“The level of play and the standard we witnessed throughout the two days really pleases me and I go home knowing we are in a good position in terms of developing players in this country.”