SWINDON Town’s girls Centre for Excellence will benefit from their Gothia Cup experience for years to come according team manager Shane Hewlett.
The girls from the under 12s, under 13s and under 15s, represented England and carried their nation’s flag in the tournament’s opening ceremony at Gothenburg’s Ullevi Stadium.
In the under 12 and under 13 tournaments there more than 40 teams in each, with the under 15s featured a mammoth 112 entrants.
Swindon’s under 12 and 13s were both unfortunate to go out in the of their respective tournaments, losing on penalties in the quarter-final and first knockout round respectively.
The under 15s saw their challenge ended by one of the home Swedish sides in the knockouts, again having made it out their group, losing 4-2 in normal time.
Hewlett, alongside Clive Maguire and John Holloway, oversaw Swindon’s teams as they ventured one of the world’s biggest youth football tournaments.
“Their achievement was fantastic, we lost on penalties in games that could have gone either way, these girls are learning so much,” he told the Advertiser.
“The only way we’ll get better as a Centre is if we play against the best girls in the world. The Swedes, Germans and Americans, are the best in the world and we’ve put girls from this county on the map.
“We’re looking forward to the elite programme, the ones who have gone over have really learned a lot and they will become stronger, in the long term it can help with the aim of getting Swindon Town in the Women’s Premier League.
“The Gothia Cup is not just about winning, it’s an experience, it’s a magnitude of colours, culture and education, in 10-15 years those girls will say they wish they could have done it that again. On the way back they were already asking if they could, that shows their character.
“The three teams were able to support each other, they made more noise than some of the home teams, they made friends for life and football education wise there’s no better.
“All the girls had their moments in the tournament, it was a really team effort, when they shone they shone as a collective group. The 43 girls, their attitude, behaviour on and off the field was absolutely amazing, we’re very proud.”