Berkeley's Friendship Cup
Berkeley’s 2nd Annual Friendship Cup
On November 29th Berkeley hosted its second annual Friendship Cup soccer tournament. This year 5 schools participated and the event is going from strength to strength. The schools that featured on the day were Berkeley, New Sathorn, Bromsgrove, Garden and the Swiss school. The event was for all U15’s and teams fielded 7 players per match with unlimited substitutions.
The Berkeley soccer field looked immaculate as the teams arrived early in the morning; the grass was beautifully mowed, the PA was ready and the BBQ was being put together by the Berkeley student council. Each team had its own tent and water stations set up. The tournament was scheduled to run from 8 am till 1 pm. All teams were scheduled to play against each other with the best two on the day in the preliminary matches going into the final. Who would be taking home the cup this year? Current holders New Sathorn arrived with the cup in hand and had it proudly placed on the table behind the team to let everyone know that they were the team to beat on the day.
Kick off went ahead as planned and official FIFA referees had been hired to make sure fair play and calls were consistent with the level of play on the field.
Berkeley v Garden kicked the day off 0-0
Both teams started off the day slowly. The weather was still cool and the grass had a smattering of fine dew on it making the play a bit slippery. Berkeley went close early on with a series of shots but was unable to convert. Berkeley striker Babe was dangerous up front with some good support play from Gabrielle in the midfield, but they couldn’t get the ball in the net. Garden looked ominous on the break and ace Berkeley defender Siam kept them at bay with some great spoiler defense. Siam also went close twice with some screaming shots just over the bar. At the end it was too little too late from both teams and the match finished in a first game, early morning 0-0 draw.
NSIS v Bromsgrove: 0-4
New Sathorn the reigning champs had come to do one thing, and one thing only, retain their cup! Bromsgrove on the other hand have much experience in larger scale leagues and events and also had their own tactics to follow. New Sathorn begun brightly but were quickly overwhelmed and shut down by a quick passing, seriously smooth flowing Bromsgrove team. The game finished a one sided 4-0 and the reigning champs were staggered. Bromsgrove coach was quoted after the match as saying, ‘our boys kept it tight and quick in front of goal, this type of footie suits us perfectly.
Berkeley v Swiss: 1-0
By now with the sun slightly warmer in the sky and with a game under their belt the Berkeley team had some fresh wind in their sails. The Swiss were coming into their first match of the day and had a very noticeable squad of large healthy looking players. One of the crowd asked if any of the players were part of the German team that beat Brazil 7-1 in the last World Cup. Berkeley was never to be denied and after early pressure from Kong and Babe, Berkeley steamed into high gear. Joey looked good on the wing, Tycoon battled in midfield, and Spencer looked solid at the back along with Tata. It was once again the crafty play combinations of Gabrielle and Babe that broke the deadlock early in the second half with a classic up and under flick that Babe drilled into the net with his head. 1-0 to Berkeley and that’s how the match finished.
Garden v NSIS: 0-2
After securing a point against the hosts, Garden had a new sense of urgency in their play. New Sathorn were still reeling from their opening game defeat and they came out with boots blazing. Garden tried to keep up with the play attacking on the break, but with the lack of any clear midfield maestros NSIS hammered in two quick goals to snub out any Garden ambitions of a win. The reigning champs had their day back on course. The NSIS coach was quoted as saying, ‘we know we had it in us to come here and win. That early loss was a mere anomaly and I think the best from our boys is yet to come.’
Bromsgrove v Swiss: 1-1
The Swiss needed a win, and Bromgrove were hoping to capitalize on their early successes. The game finished a fair 1-1 draw with some strong play in the midfield. The first yellow card of the day was issued and tempers flared slightly as the game continued with a series of elbows and heavy tackles. Berkeley coach Mike Strunk was seen talking with both team coaches to try and reel in this display of over zealousness.
Berkeley v NSIS: 2-0
A repeat of last year’s final took place and Berkeley’s speed in attack and agility in defense saw them inch by the reigning champs with some ace goals from Babe and Noah. Berkeley’s second goal was a real opportunist effort with Noah spinning on the spot rounding two defenders and hammering the ball home. Berkeley finished the game with a 2-0 cruising win, and thought for the moment that this would be enough to set themselves up for a place in the final.
Garden v Bromsgrove: 1-3
Bromsgrove came out with plenty of run and skillful play and won the game an easy 3-1. Garden who were looking slightly woeful in all areas had one glimpse of brilliance over the 20 minutes to score their first goal of the tournament. Cheers went up all round as the ball went in, but it was Bromsgrove who had the last laugh and this was going to set them up against Berkeley in the last match for a place in the final.
NSIS v Swiss: 1-5
After losing against their old rival Berkeley, NSIS had a drop of the chin and were no match for the rampant Swiss. The big heavy Swiss midfielders and forwards rocked the house with every attack and knocked in 5 goals during the match to knock NSIS out of the tournament and keep their own hopes alive.
Berkeley v Bromsgrove: 0-2
This match held great significance and it was a game both teams wanted to win. Berkeley had already beaten Bromsgrove earlier in the year and they were confident with this behind them and the home field advantage another win was on the cards. The team that won this game was assured a place in the final. The losing side would have to wait and see the result of the last remaining game between the Swiss and Garden as to who would have the final spot in the championship game. The game was evenly matched early on and Berkeley keeper Andy made some good saves in goal to keep Bromsgrove at bay. Bromsgrove started to get the feel of the Berkeley team who were becoming far too slow in passing, having every single attack move shut down in seconds. Bromsgove’s talented midfield strike pair soon caught on to the failures in the Berkeley team to cover the goal and get back in defense. Goals in both halves sunk the waning Berkeley team 2-0. A place in the final now rested on the final match between the Swiss vs Garden. Berkeley coach Strunky was dismayed with his team’s performance and had a few choice words to say after the game. ‘We had the game won early on, but somehow we dropped back and let their midfield develop. Bromsgrove were great on the break and our defense had no answer. Credit has to be given to their strikers for the two great goals they scored.’
Garden v Swiss: 1-2
This was the last game of the scheduled matches on the day. A win for Garden would put some pride back in their efforts and make the day a little bit finer. A win for the Swiss would see them in the final slightly ahead of Berkeley on goal difference. Garden was not to be intimidated and came out firing from the outset. Shortly before half time Garden took a well deserved 1-0 lead with a nice solo effort from the center forward. The Swiss were rocked but after some careful substitutions they came back strong and equalized with minutes to go. Garden failed to keep hold of the initiative and let a final goal in seconds before the final whistle giving the Swiss the points they needed to take them into the final. An agonizing blow for the Berkeley team who were hoping to have at least a chance of winning their cup back, but found themselves eliminated on goal difference.
Friendship Cup Final:
Bromsgrove v Swiss: 2-1
After the earlier game that finished in a draw both teams were contemplating the tactics they were going to adopt to win the final. The game started fluid enough with some quick, easy set passes, with neither team wanting to open up play. Bromsgrove were looking the better team in the midfield but the Swiss had some great attacks that started from the back line. Finally the Swiss broke the deadlock with a strong solo effort right from their own goal line. Game on! The earlier game was brought back into play and there was a spate of heated fouls and slide tackles that had both coaches on their feet. The Swiss scored a second shortly after half time and thought they had the game won. Bromsgrove showed a never say die spirit and pulled back a goal shortly before the end. It wasn’t enough to get them back in it and the Swiss were final winners on the day.
There was a trophy presentation and a big handshake with all the teams, players and coaches. Berkeley coach Michael Strunk said after the game, ‘thanks to all the teams for coming, we’d like to congratulate you all on the top class, high level, soccer played. Of course, we at Berkeley were slightly disappointed at not making it into the final but we’ll be back again next year and we hope to welcome all the same schools back again. We’ll be organizing some more games throughout the next 4 months and we hope to see you all again for another round of great games, thanks’
Berkeley’s excellent student council BBQ was a complete sell out except for a couple of drinks, and we’d like to thank all students, parents and teachers that helped out on the day.
Keep in touch with Berkeley’s sporting dept to make sure you don’t miss out on our next major event.