The newly formed China Floorball Federation had it’s first Shanghai youth tournament on November 20. There were 31 teams and 451 players across five age groups participating. FCP had a team in four age groups, and our teams had a good tournament, coming home with one victory (U12), two 2nd places (U8 and U14), and one 3rd place (U10).
Our U14 team took part in a first youth tournament with real goalkeepers and did not lose any games, but placed second due to having a 1 goal worse goal difference.
The U14 tournament was played at a very high level. The four teams participating have all practiced at least 2 years and it showed in the quality of play. Ball was moving quickly and goals had to be earned. Our team was on average younger than the others, featuring four U12 players, and four U13 players, but we have some very skilled boys and girls, and were hoping to win the tournament. The other teams had the same idea and our first match against LZD was indeed very tight, with both teams having chances and goalies playing well. The result was a 3-3 draw.
Third match against SES team was again very difficult. SES team, that has won most of this age group competitions so far, started really well and took a 2-0 and 4-1 leads. But they were playing their starting five without no rest and that started to catch up to them. Our team dominated the last 5 minutes of the first half and reduced the margin to 4-2. In the second half FCP U14 kept on fighting and despite missing several chances finally carved out a 7-6 victory.
Unfortunately for us, LZD managed to do just a bit better (winning 5:4 against SES and 10:2 against SFLS), having a goal difference of +9, compared to +8 by FCP, and thus won the tournament.
U13 tournament did not have a FCP team participating, though i have coached players from 3 of the participating 4 teams. The U13 tournament was won by the SFLS team, whose enthusiastic players i have coached at their school.
The U12 tournament featured 8 teams divided into two 4 team groups. FCP U12 team had won the previous U12 tournament, but was missing several players from that lineup. Four of our best U12 players were playing in the U14 team, and another was not able to join this tournament. On the other hand U12 team had five newcommers playing in their first tournament. This, and the fact that the lineup featured four U10 players and only two U12 players, along with six U11 players, made me have little expectations for this age group.
The first game FCP U12 played started off well, but along the way the team got sloppy and allowed several easy and lucky goals by the opponent. The match ended with a 6-7 loss for FCP U12. I want to thank Hannu (Matias’s and Mikael’s dad) and the U12 players for making the right conclusions and turning the tournament around. The FCP U12 team was able to score nice victories against the next two opponents, 8:5 against the strong CaHe team, and 6:3 against the SES team, and made it’s way to the semi-finals. The semi-final against another SES team was very one-sided with FCP cruising to a big win. Nico caught fire and scored 5 goals in that match, but everyone played great. The final was against the Songjiang team that had just beaten CaHe in the other semi-final in a thriller decided by one goal. FCP U12 again started off great and was in control of the match until about 2 minutes from the end. FCP U12 had a comfortable 6-3 lead and chances to increase it, but then the players started to get a bit nervous waiting for the final whistle and let the opponents score two goals back. But in the end FCP U12 held on and achieved a deserved 6-5 victory. Nico was named the Best Player, but everyone on the team deserves a lot of praise. I would like to give special thanks to Anton for being an all-star goalie and controlling games from the back, thus allowing our team to blossom.
The U10 tournament again featured 8 teams in two groups. FCP U10 team was our biggest in terms of numbers, but even so our team was again missing some star players, sent to play for the (victorious) U12 team. U10 team was especially missing the scoring and play-making abilities of Chris and Alex.
FCP U10 was coached by coach Kaisa this tournament and here is her recollection:
U10 had a long and hard tournament. The first match was against the strongest team in our group (CaHe) and showed our weak points (match ended in a narrow 7:9 defeat). After loosing first match kids were really motivated to play the next games. We needed to win the other two group games to get to the semi-finals. The next two games went smoothly. Kids were really enthusiastic and enjoyed the game. Goals came easier than in the first game and the game plan worked. You could see that everybody was enjoying the game. The results were 11:2 and 17:1 victories. U10 team had 2 wins and 1 loss and with that guaranteed a place in semi-finals. Unfortunately, kids had just had two games in a row and could then only rest for 15 min before semi-finals.
We saw a result of that in the game, because our team was not ready for opponents aggressive game. With tired feet our players did not run for long balls anymore and were late in defense. Opponents weren’t very strong and definitely not better than us, but this time we had to admit that they were more ready than we were. Still, U10 really enjoyed the 3rd place game and won that one very easily, so U10 team ended the tournament with 3rd place. In the end the team showed very good game skills all day long. For me the U10 kids are winners, because to be able to play four games in a row and still show good game is a really big thing. No other age group had such a long and hard day like U10.
U8 tournament had 7 teams participating and again divided into two age groups. FCP U8 was missing a few players as well, and is in serious need of more girls. We were in a group of 3 and thus only had 2 group matches. One of them was against the team we beat on penalties in the last tournament (SES A team). This time the opponents played better than us and got a 8:5 victory. Our other match was against a new team and our FCP U8 was more skilled, getting a 5:4 win in a match that FCP was dominating, but let opponents close in the end.
In the semi-finals we met the winner of the other group (where each team had won and lost at least one game). In our best match yet, the FCP U8 played really well, sparked by two nice goals by Oskar, and got a win a a tight and competitive game. In the finals we met the SES A team again. FCP was resolved to put up a fight and everybody tried hard, but unfortunately it was not our day, as the other team got a few lucky goals and was later able to add to it’s lead as our team was focused on attacking. Thus FCP U8 finished with a second place.
Overall, all FCP teams played well and made me proud. I have gotten compliments from other coaches and parents about how well our kids play and i think FCP kids deserve all those nice things said about them.
Now lets keep this up and get better for the next tournaments. See you in practice!
/ Coach Sander and Kaisa