Gold Fields Girls State U14 coach Faye Chambers has described the team’s trip to play in the Jinshan International Youth Football Championship as “brilliant”.
This was the first time the Football West girls had been invited to participate in the tournament in Shanghai, China.
“It was a full experience on and off the pitch and the girls adapted really well,” said Faye, who returned to WA on Wednesday.
“They played against international teams and that was a good challenge. It was straight into 90% humidity from the cold and wet of Perth and they were playing 80 minutes instead of the usual 60. But they just adapted so well.
“We played Hong Kong and held our own. We only lost to two 30 yarders. Jinshan were superb. They were the best team there and deservedly won the tournament.
“We were 4-0 down at half-time and I said at half-time, just go out and win the second half which they did. It finished 4-1 and the organisers were full of praise for the girls’ resilience. That was also the case when we faced Japanese team Shonan Bellmare. We drew 1-1 and scored with about four minutes left … in those conditions, that was great to see them going to the end.
“The girls loved it. It was such a great experience. Even down to things like hearing a different langauge being spoken on the pitch, this would be the first time for them.
“But they took it all in their stride and were such a cohesive unit. Same with off the pitch, the food, anything … they were fantastic.”
The Gold Fields Boys State U15s also took part in the tournament. Despite heavy losses to Belgian side Standard Liege and the China U15 national team, the WA side regrouped to finish with a fine 5-3 victory over SH Shenzin.
The WA boys trailed 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining before clicking into gear, Nathan Bryde collecting the match ball after scoring four goals.
WA coach Garry Church said: “It was a good way to sign off and overall I think we found our spot. There were good points but often we lacked consistency.
“The teams we played were very well organised and presented us with different problems. I think as coaches and as a team we will take plenty from it but know there are areas to work on.
“It is a tremendous torunament and so very well organised. I’d also like to thank the contribution of Gold Fields, who sponsor all of our State teams.”