by Sid Lloyd

Footy Japan’s second Kids World Cup proved to be another monumental success, with hoards of enthusiastic youngsters from every corner of the globe converging on the hallowed turf at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club (YC&AC) on June 5.

Just days before the official FIFA World Cup was due to kick off, 30 teams from international schools and local Japanese teams vied to win their very own World Cup trophy in three different age categories, as more than 700 onlookers cheered every pass, tackle, shot, save and goal banged in by Japan’s young Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Samuel Eto’o and Keisuke Honda wannabes. A total of 75 matches were played and a whopping 167 goals were scored, with tension at the tournament reaching a fever pitch as two of the final games culminated in nail-biting penalty shootouts after goal-less score lines.

In the Under 14’s competition, the British School Tokyo suffered the same fate as England usually does in these situations, missing the final kick and allowing St. Mary’s to claim the trophy. It is indeed a funny old game.

Cienciano FC, for their part, had no problem with their spot kicks in the Under 10’s however, seeing off the French Under 10’s team in the final shoot-out. In fact, only the Under 12’s trophy was claimed with no penalty kicks needed, with Lycee Franco beating a strong Japanese squad from Aseno FC 1-0 in a final that had the entire crowd on their feet—no doubt mirroring the tension and decibels during decisive games in South Africa.

The lucky winners, on top of getting a glorious trophy, also received much-coveted, limited edition Footy Japan medals and official FIFA
World Cup video games, courtesy of games giant EA Sports. Coca Cola kindly ensured that everyone’s thirst was quenched, and, as if that wasn’t enough, local J.League team Yokohama FC dished out free tickets to the kids to watch upcoming matches. Christmas seemingly came early for some lucky players.

The aforementioned sponsors, combined with Santa Fe Relocation Service, made this wonderful event possible. The Kids World Cup allowed children to engage in their favorite sport and make new friends from around the world, and reinforced Footy Japan’s founding principle of football being a universal language, with the power to unite and break down all kinds of barriers.

Next on Footy Japan’s calendar for young footballers is the British Football Academy’s famed Summer Soccer Camp, to be held at YC&AC from August 16 to 18. All kids aged three to fifteen, regardless of nationality, gender or ability, are welcome to attend, and are absolutely guaranteed three days of pure, unadulterated football fun in the sun!

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