The Mission Rebels U12 girls soccer team is back in town after a European summer vacation.
The Rebels travelled to Sweden to compete in the Gothia Cup Tournament, which is known in many places as the youth world cup.
The Mission team fundraised for months to make their dreams come true to compete at the massive event, which featured 1,686 youth teams from 75 nations.
The Rebels were one of just five teams from Canada to make the trip.
The 11 players on the Rebels were made up of girls aged 10 to 12 from three different Mission-based teams and led by head coach Jim Cook and assistant John Beckman. This trip marked the third time that Cook had taken a club to the event, and the girls also did some sightseeing in London prior to arriving in Sweden.
The Rebels competed in group five of the Girls 12 division, and opened on July 15 with an 8-1 loss to Sweden’s Hovas-Billdal. Mission returned to the pitch with two games on July 16, falling 4-1 to Sweden’s Molndal Fotboll and then 14-0 to Sweden’s Nacka FC.
Mission ended the round robin with a 6-2 loss to Germany’s KFV Segeberg on July 17.
The 0-4 record in round-robin play put the Rebels in fifth place, and the club advanced to the playoff round but lost 5-2 to Sweden’s Kalvesta IoF.
Cook said despite facing off against tough opposition, the team had a great time and he was proud of how they competed.
“This was not an all-star team that trained for two years in advance,” he said.
“This was a group of young people who made the commitment to go to a tournament, worked hard for two years to raise the money and then trained hard for four months to get ready to play.
“They were in most of the games and had a legitimate opportunity to win at least three of the games. They competed hard and won the respect of their opponents.
“But, more important, they got to see new cultures, found out they have a lot in common with young girls from all over the world and, most important, they grew as individuals because of the effort they put forth.”
Cook also said he wants to thank the people and businesses of Mission for helping make this dream a reality for the girls.
“Aside from growing out of their first team jerseys, these young citizens have grown in sportsmanship, independence, self-confidence, knowledge of the world outside their own town, appreciation of what they have, pride in a job well done, and the certainty that they can work towards a goal,” he said.
For complete results from the event, visit gothiacup.se.