Pompey in the Community’s U19 Development Squad returned home from Memphis, Tennessee last week as the 2017 John Tally Tournament Champions.
The squad flew out from Heathrow on Monday 20th March and received a warm welcome by all of their “host families” that evening. During the week, the team had a couple of training sessions as well as two pre-tournament games. They were narrowly beaten 4-3 by Memphis City and drew with Christian Brothers University, 3-3. As well as playing football, the team were taken on a tour of the campus at the University of Memphis which gave them an opportunity to experience what life would be like at an American University, both from an academic and football point of view. It was a fantastic opportunity for those players who want to go on to a scholarship in America, to have a first-hand experience of what it takes to gain one and what it would be like if you secured one.
Once the tournament started, the team had adapted to the heat and were playing with a lot of confidence. With two wins from two in the group stages, 4-0 and 2-0, they qualified for the semi-finals. After finding themselves 4-0 up in the first 20 minutes, there was only going to be one winner. The final score was 6-0 and the team representing Portsmouth FC and Pompey in the Community were through to the final.
In the final game, after trailing 1-0 at half time, the boys had to dig deep, especially as it was their sixth full game in 5 days. After 4 unanswered second half goals, the Pompey team were crowned champions! After each game they played, the players were receiving more and more interest from the college coaches who attended, who were looking to recruit players for their college scholarships out in America.
After a grueling playing schedule, the squad enjoyed a few days off to rest and explore Memphis with their wonderful host families, before flying home.
PitC’s Development Team Head Coach, Mark Corbett said, ‘The trip couldn’t have gone any better. The players were fantastic, not just on the pitch to win the tournament but they also conducted themselves very well with their host families and really embraced the culture in Memphis. They did Portsmouth Football Club and Pompey in the Community proud.’
Pompey have already confirmed they will be back in Memphis to defend their crown in 2018.
The Pompey in the Community Development Squad are currently recruiting players for September’s squad. This is open to all players, aged 16 and 17 years old, subject to trial. The programme consists of full time football training and games alongside studying for a BTEC in Sport via an interactive learning platform. The next two trial dates are Tuesday 11th April and Tuesday 30th May, both at the University of Portsmouth’s Furze Lane 3G pitches. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: wearescl.com/Portsmouth.