We knew we were going to be up against tough competition, but that first match in Holland let us know the phrase "tough competition" wasn't just a figure of speech. The players at VV Brederodes (right outside of Amsterdam) were nearly twice our size, and not afraid of throwing a few elbows. (A few of them were also a bit older than our boys). Green White's first taste of international soccer was a loss, but it was also a great learning experience.
A few days later, after training with the great coaches at Ajax Amsterdam, our boys had a much better showing against FC Abcoude. This is one of the biggest clubs in the area, sporting as many as eight teams at every age level. Their number 2 U15 team (with a few #1 team helpers) beat us, but showed the boys the value of playing a possession game. We were still a step behind, but we were slowly but surely turning into a cohesive unit.
That paid off in our third match--and our first game in Germany. On a grueling hot eveinng playing on a turf field, the boys came into their own and played a magnificent game against TuRa Niederhoechstadt. The goalies Ethan Mundt and Chris Welk kept a clean sheet, while four different players scored (Seb Howarth, Gabe Walker, Gavin Kafkakis, and JC Thomas). Green White's 4-0 win was celebrated with the players and parents of the other team. They graciously opened their clubhouse to us and fed us. The boys became quick friends and played another few hours of pick up soccer with their new buddies.
Our final match was against an all-star team of kids from Sportfreunde Seligenstadt and their neighbor Germania. This was a grudge match because the opposing coach was the same man who organizes our German camp with us every year, Matthias Eiles. The Germans started strong and lead 3-1 at halftime, but Green White stormed back in the second half, scoring a second goal, and nearly finishing several other quality chances. The final score was 4-2, but it was a good match. It was coach Adam's final game with Green White, so the players pummelled him with water balloons moments after the final whistle.
Our final record was 1-3, but Green White played very well, and showed the Europeans that the Americans can play a little football too.