U15 record top 8 finish in Korea

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The WPSS U15 group has enjoyed a great tour of South Korea.

Playing in the 14th Gyeongsangbuk - Do Cup the young New Zealanders became the first Australasian side to qualify for the tournaments quarter finals and achieve a top 8 finish.

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The tour began with a thrilling 4 - 3 win friendly win over Gold Coast United before WPSS kicked off the tournament in a very strong Group A.

Amori Yamada of Japan was the first opponent, a side that had just finished second in their school national championship. The WPSS boys came from behind in an impressive second half come back to win the game 2 - 1 and grab 3 points at the first time of asking.

Day 2 of the tournament saw a dominant display from our Bundesliga opposition from Eintracht Frankfurt and a tough 7 - 1 loss brought the players back down to earth with a thud!

What a difference a day can make however. The third day of the tournament proved to be a memorable one for everyone involved. The day started with a comprehensive 6 - 0 win against Korean side Tongjin. Elsewhere in Group A Frankfurt were beaten for the second time in the group losing 4 - 3 to Amori Yamada. This opened the door for our U15’s and a win or draw was enough in the afternoon fixture against the Korean U15 national selection to go through to play in the quarter finals.

The Koreans had blitzed everyone before them to date, 3 from 3 and already qualified. A huge ask for the WPSS boys given the quality of the opposition. Our boys were brilliant! Every bit a match for our illustrious opponent, Oli Fay scored an injury time equaliser to draw the game 1 all and send WPSS through at the expense of the Germans from Frankfurt.

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The quarter finals threw up a dream draw against Portuguese giants of Sporting Lisbon. The club that has a history of producing fine talent with the likes of Figo, Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo all starting out there.

The players were not able to reproduce the heroics of the day before and were well beaten 5 nil by a very slick and professional Sporting side.

The final was in fact played between Sporting and the Korean U15 national selection, our boys were lucky to have been able to play against both of them in the tournament.

The Koreans proved physically too strong in what was a tough schedule played in testing conditions and ran out winners over the Portuguese in the final.

A great experience for the WPSS players once again and the chance to test themselves at the very highest level.

Great learnings both on and off the pitch and memories that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Congratulations to everyone and a big thanks to our sponsors, Manuka Doctor NZ and Higgins.

Leigh Kenyon