‘Exceptional’ Camden Elite come out on top against Premier League clubs’ youngsters
Under-13s beat teams from professional clubs including Liverpool in cup competition at Market Road
28 April, 2017 — By Steve Barnett
The Camden Elite squad celebrate their cup triumph
THERE was grand glory for the grassroots game on Saturday when Camden Elite conquered a host of professional football clubs to retain the Pro Touch Soccer Academy International Invitational Cup at Market Road in Islington.
The triumphant Under-13s side showed experience beyond their years as they beat academy teams from Liverpool, Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest to leave their manager, Sebastian Eurico, purring with pride.
“I’m so delighted and so, so proud of the boys,” beamed Sebastian. “I’ve got a great team, an exceptional team.
Oscar Daniel scores against Liverpool in the semi-final
“They train really hard and are a dedicated bunch, which shows when they take to the pitch.
“We can only train for about three hours a week. Some of the teams we faced train twice as long, but you wouldn’t have known that watching us play.”
Elite got the ball rolling with a 3-0 win over Liverpool in their first group game thanks to a deadly double from striker Andrew Gibbs and a strike from Luc Achermann-Stanfield.
They then lost 2-1 to Norwich despite creating a host of good chances. The disappointment seemed to spur them on as they went on to top their group after netting a 4-0 win over Croatian side Bubamara Zagreb and a 5-0 victory against Reading.
Goals from star midfielder Achermann-Stanfield, Niino Malaki and Oscar Daniel saw Elite beat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 in the quarter-final, before a rematch against Liverpool in the semi-final ended 2-0 to Elite, with Achermann-Stanfield and Daniel finding the back of the net once more.
Pro Touch Soccer Academy, who were knocked out by Norwich on penalties
In the final came the goal of the day when, out of nowhere, Olivier Webster unleashed a fierce shot from the half-way line to earn Elite a 1-0 win over Forest, the team that manager Sebastian played for as a teenager.
“Before the final I told Ollie to go and make me and his dad proud by scoring the winner,” said Sebastian. “He actually went and did it. I just can’t believe it. What a goal!,”
“Luc was outstanding, the best player at the tournament by far,” Sebastian added.
“He’s so mature on the ball, and is always talking to his team-mates, getting them organised. He also scored some key goals, including a screamer in the semi-final against Liverpool.”
If the Elite players needed inspiration in their quest to carve out a career within the pro ranks, then all they had to do was look at who was standing pitchside.
Former Elite player Caleb Mensah and former Kentish Town Football Academy goalie Arlo Doherty, who are now both under long-term contracts with Norwich, turned up to cheer the Championship side on, while in goal for Queens Park Rangers was Rufus Kempton, who lives in Holloway, and used to play for tournament hosts, Pro Touch.