Korea - 2019 Gyeongsangbuk-Do Cup
Our 2019 metro league champion U15 group departs Thursday for Korea and the Gyeongsangbuk - do Cup.
WPSS is part of a very strong field which includes Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Real Sociedad (Spain), Gamba Osaka (Japan), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Cruzeiro (Brazil) as well as South Korean U15 and U14 national team selections.
The young New Zealanders will contest Group A at the tournament on a tour that also sees a friendly fixture against Gold Coast United of Australia.
As always you can follow the tour with regular updates right here through the WPSS newsletter as well as on our website and by following our Instagram and Facebook pages.
We are thrilled to be able to give the U15 group this experience and test at a very high level and thank our major sponsor Manuka Doctor as well as Higgins for helping make the tour possible.
The WPSS U15 group have enjoyed a thrilling come from behind victory against Gold Coast United ahead of the Gyeongsangbuk - do Cup in Korea.
The squad arrived at the tournament base late on Thursday night and have spent the last 2 days training and settling into some very warm and humid conditions.
Todays practice match against a spirited Gold Coast United was played over 3 x 25 minute periods.
The first 25 minute period was a very even affair. Hard fought with both sides taking a while to settle in testing conditions. There was plenty of endeavour from both sides but nothing really to show from either side as far as clear cut chances were concerned.
All that changed in the 20th minute when WPSS won a corner, whipped in by Shore Harada and finished at the far post by an unmarked Lewis Cartwright to send the New Zealanders in at the break a goal to the good.
The Gold Coast side came roaring back in the second period as the game began to open up.
Both teams were starting to create chances with Shore Harada leading the charge for WPSS down the left hand side. Harada causing chaos at times for the Australians defence but the telling ball or finish eluded the kiwis.
Gold Coast gave as good as they got and deserved to draw level with an effort from the edge of the box in the 40th minute of the match. A counter attack right at the end of the period presented United a chance to take the lead and they made no mistake with the last kick of the period.
A goal down and all to do for the WPSS boys.
A huge effort in the final period saw the WPSS side take over the game and pile on the pressure looking for the equaliser. The Gold Coast goal led a charmed life at times and it felt like just a matter of time before the scores would be level.
The goal arrived courtesy of a penalty in the 58th minute slammed home by Wilson Souphanthavong and the game was now there for the taking.
To their credit Gold Coast hung in the game and Nathan Garrow was called into action to make some important saves at 2 all and keep the game alive.
With only 4 minutes to play Moh Reynolds, who had been dangerous all period got behind his centre back opponent and finished well into the far corner of the net. A great comeback but the drama was far from over.
With only 2 minutes to play Gold Coast picked themselves up off the canvas and scored a long range effort to level the scores up once again. An incredible end to a great contest that still had one more twist to come.
With time almost up Oli Fay produced a piece of magic down the left wing, dribbling past several challenges before squaring the ball to Wilson Souphanthavong to calmly place the ball into the net and win the game with the very last kick of this tour opener.
A great test for the players who now have 1 more day to prepare and get ready for the tournament kick off on Monday.
The WPSS U15 group have begun the Gyeongsangbuk - Do Cup in style today beating Amori Yamada High School of Japan 2 - 1.
An impressive result for the boys given that Amori finished second in the national school championship of Japan last week, a competition that boasts 8000 teams.
There was a full round of matches on day 1, with the games played over 2 x 30 minute halves.
WPSS came out of the blocks and enjoyed a great start in very hot and humid conditions. Applying early pressure the boys created 2 chances in the first 4 minutes. The first for Will Gregory from a corner and the second for Moh Reynolds which put the opponents on notice.
The game was going according to plan for the first 10 minutes and the players looked comfortable. As is so often the case at this level however that can all change in a moment and WPSS went a goal down on the 10 minute mark. An Amori attacker weaved his way around several challenges and placed a shot inside the post from the edge of the penalty area. 1 nil and the game was about to turn.
It took a while for the boys to regroup from the sucker punch of the goal. The heat started taking its toll and Amori got a hold of the game. It was a gutsy effort to get to the break only 1 goal down with still all to play for.
After a much needed break and a refresh the young Kiwi boys came roaring back in the second half.
It was now the New Zealanders that were controlling the game and with it the belief that an equaliser wasn't far away. Semi Nabenu came close from a corner in the 38th minute before a slick attacking move saw Kristoff Muller crash an effort towards goal in the 43rd minute.
The pressure was beginning to tell and the goal duly arrived on 48 minutes. Josiah Tekeste slammed the ball home from outside the box into the bottom corner of the net to level the scores off another dangerous corner. Game on!
It was end to end action now and WPSS keeper Sam Mclaggan made a brilliant save in the 51st minute to keep the scores level, a save which was about to prove very important.
A superb move down the right hand side of the pitch in the 53rd minute would prove to be the difference in the game.
Tekeste sent Mom Reynolds on his way down the touchline before his cut back fell to the feet of Wilson Souphanthavong. With defenders around him the midfielder skilfully played an audacious reverse pass perfectly into the path of the on rushing Oil Fay. With only the keeper to beat he calmly slotted the ball into the far corner of the net to spark a wild celebration.
The remainder of the game was expertly managed without a scare.
A third WPSS goal nearly arrived after Reynolds and Fay combined well to set up Souphanthvong who flashed the ball just past the top corner of the goal.
It wasn't needed in the end and the full time whistle blew to confirm a great come from behind victory and 3 points to open the Cup campaign.
Tomorrow morning WPSS squares off against Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt in what promises to be another huge test.
The WPSS U15's have been beaten 7 - 1 today by Eintracht Frankfurt at the Gyeongsangbuk - Do Cup in Korea.
The German Bundesliga academy side proving just too good on a day that provided many positive learning experiences for the WPSS boys playing against high level opposition.
The game began well and the WPSS side made a very good start. With only 5 minutes on the clock Kristoff Mueller let fly from distance only to be denied by a good diving save by the German goal keeper.
Similar to the game against the Japanese yesterday the good early work was undone in the 10th minute when Frankfurt scored from close range, arguably against the run of play.
The Germans were a tough proposition with their tails up and confidence sky high. Adding another 2 goals in the next 5 minutes to push the scoreline out to 3 nil in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
WPSS came close in the 21st minute with good interchange play between Oli Fay and Wilson Souphanthavong with Wilsons shot tipped onto the cross bar.
That seemed to wake the Frankfurt side up a bit and only 1 minute later a 4th goal was added and that would be the last scoring action of the first half.
After a rethink and a reshuffle the WPSS boys did not stop and made a huge effort in the second half.
Oli Fay's 34th minute shot was deflected out for a corner and it was that resulting set piece that saw Oscar Obel - Hall score at the far post, game on again?
A real gutsy effort to keep pushing and searching for more goals saw the game go end to end with WPSS giving just as good as they got.
Frankfurt managed to end the game stronger and scored 3 more times in the 46th, 53rd and 57th minutes to blow the scoreline out, which was a shame given the very spirited and at times dangerous second half showing.
A fantastic experience and once again one that the players cannot have in New Zealand. No one likes losing but the lessons learnt in this match from our clinical and ruthless opponent will prove to be so very valuable in the development of these players.
Tomorrow WPSS face Korean opposition twice with Tongjin MS FC in the morning followed by the Korean U15 national team!
The WPSS U15's have have produced a huge day at the Gyeongsangbuk - Do Cup to win and draw their matches and sensationally qualify for the for tournaments quarter final.
The day began with Tongjin MS FC in the morning kick off, a team full of physically strong individuals.
As has been the theme the boys started well again and took control of the game from the start. Old Fay had an early chance before Will Mendoza forced a great save and a corner in the 13th minute. From the resulting kick Rhys Davies arrived unmarked at the back post to head home for 1 nil.
Wilson Souphanthavong fired a warning shot in the 17th minute before collecting a pass from Shore Harada in the 22nd minute and scoring to put the WPSS boys 2 - 0 up at half time.
The players did not let up in the second half and chased more goals. No one hungrier than captain Moh Reynolds who scored a quick fire 11 minute hat trick, his third goal coming from an outrageous Fergus Gillion pass, to push the score out to 5.
Not satisfied there was time for 1 more and in the 52nd minute Reynolds turned provider when he broke clear and squared the ball for Benji McCarthy to tuck home a 6th and round off a great mornings work.
Japanese side Amor Yamada had beaten Eintracht Frankfurt in the morning round. This result meant that WPSS needed to draw or win the last game against the Korean U15 selection team to knock the Germans out in the group stage and progress to the quarter finals.
What a game it turned out to be!
The game was tense and a very tight evenly contested affair. The Korean side had a perfect record and had swept all before them securing top spot in the group.
The kiwi boys were up for it and took the game to their more fancied opponents. There were few chances in the first half with Moh Reynolds and Old Fay having the best sight of the goal in a performance that was ruffling a few Korean feathers and controlling the game well.
In a cruel blow that was totally undeserved WPSS found themselves behind with virtually the last kick of the half. A flawless first half was undone when a long range shot took a massive deflection, totally wrong footing goal keeper Sam Mclaggan leaving him helpless to prevent it crossing the line.
Maybe it just wasn't meant to be?
The players did not believe that and produced another stunning display in the second half. The game continued to follow the same pattern. Very tight and very few chances or moments created at either end. WPSS kept believing and as the game went on the boys continued to grow in confidence. On 48 minutes the players thought that Moh Reynolds had won a penalty but the referee had other ideas.
Despite throwing everything at the well drilled Koreans time began to run out and the match entered 3 minutes of injury time.
On 62 minutes Shore Harada pushed the ball past his full back and sprinted off down the touch line. As he neared the bye line he cut the ball back and swung a cross in towards the far post. Time seemed to stand still as the ball kept bending towards Old Fay who was charging in at the far post. The ball fell perfectly to Fay who showed great composure to steer a first time finish into the far corner of the net and spark wild celebrations as WPSS marched into the quarter finals.
A top effort against a really top team and a date with Sporting Lisbon of Portugal tomorrow. You might have heard of them - they are the club that Cristiano Ronaldo came from ....
The WPSS U15's campaign at the Gyeongsangbuk - Do Cup has come to an end in the tournaments quarter final.
Portugese giants Sporting were too good this morning and deservedly took their spot in the competitions semi finals.
Todays quarter final proved to be just one step too far for the WPSS U15 coming up against the might of Sporting Lisbon.
Sporting had recorded 4 wins from 4 in the group stage and were in no mood to lose their unbeaten record in this knock out fixture.
An early 7th minute goal to the Portuguese put the WPSS boys on the back foot from the start. To their credit they came roaring back 3 minutes later when a good break saw Will Mendoza slip Oli Fay in on goal. Fay kept his cool to finish only to be denied by the linesmans offside flag. Lets just say that VAR may have just had other ideas on it!
The New Zealanders gave their all but 2 further goals in the 15th and 27th minutes of the half put the game out of reach at half time.
More of the same followed in the second half with WPSS giving absolutely everything they had in the tank.
2 goals were registered by Lisbon pushing the score out to 5 nil come the full time whistle.
Its been a great ride in Korea for the U15 group and they are the first Australasian team to ever make the quarter finals of this event.
Every single player has worked tirelessly for coach Cvetan Ivanov and the team will leave the tournament with very fond memories of their stay in Yeongdeok.
This afternoon has seen Sporting Lisbon beat Cruzeiro of Brazil 2 nil in the semi finals with the Korean U15 selection team joining them in the final after a 4 - 2 win over Real Sociedad.
Awesome for the players to say that they played games against both the tournament finalists and managed to get a result out of 1 of them.