By: Erin Lycan The team concluded the 2010 Kuban Tournament on Tuesday, March 16th, by watching the Final match, played between the national teams of China and Russia. Because our team (both coaches and players) got to know the Chinese, we were pulling for them to beat the host team. China did indeed prevail, beating the Russians 2-0.
Following the match, the tournament awards were presented and we were very proud that our very own Jenna Gibney was awarded the tournament’s “Best Midfielder” award. We knew we had a tough group in the tournament and this was confirmed when 3 of the 6 awards were awarded to teams in our group (Best Midfielder: Region 1, Best Defender: Ukraine National Team, Best Goalkeeper: Krasnodar Regional Team).
Following the awards ceremony, all of the teams returned to the hotel where the coaches attended a banquet for the coaches and members of the Russian Football Federation, and the players attended the final night of presentations by the various teams.
During the coaches’ banquet, the coaches were able to interact with the coaching staffs of the other teams and we learned some very interesting things including:
*The Krasnodar Regional Team we had played twice (tied 2-2 and lost 0-3) was actually a professional team and had several players over the age of 24
*In Uzbekistan, they have only 100 registered female soccer players
*In Estonia, they have only 600 registered female soccer players
The following statement was printed in the tournament program and expresses the sentiments from the coaching staff, that are representative of our entire group:
On behalf of Region 1 ODP, US Youth Soccer, and the United States Soccer Federation, we are honored to have earned an invitation to this very special tournament. We would like to thank the Football Union of Russia and all of those who played a part in organizing this important event. The hospitality and accommodations that were provided to us were first-class and this event, both on and off the field, has been a life changing experience for all who are a part of our travel party. We were honored to meet such great people and learn about so many different cultures from around the world. The tournament itself is provided a high standard of play that has helped our players grow and we hope to be considered when planning this event for years to come.
To all of our followers throughout this event, we appreciate all of your help and support – we couldn’t have done it without you!