CQ players head to Germany after impressive Mini World Cup
FOOTBALL: FRESH off the back of what was a whirlwind week, CQ Redbacks coach Mitch Williams was singing the praises of his impressive Germany representative, CQ mash-up side.
Battling teams from all over the country, along with a German boys team involving themselves in the games, the Joey's Mini World Cup in Hervey Bay, highlighted the best of the nation's young soccer talent.
The CQ girls team came runners-up over all, narrowly missing out on the top spot to Toowoomba South West Thunder's Brazil team.
"It just shows that regional areas can provide talent for sure,” Williams said.
"We are able to showcase that in these types of tournaments.”
Along with their impressive placement on the ladder, five of the CQ girls team (Holly Clarke, Mikaela Beckman, Olivia Rayner and Rachael Beckman) had been selected to head to Germany for training sessions with German teams and coaches.
Gladstone girl, Tegan Van Vegchel, was also named Best Player on the Field, and gifted an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany as part of the 15-man strong team.
"I'm just proud of what these girls have achieved,” Williams said.
"They never gave up and always believed they could match with other teams in the carnival.'
South West Thunder were considered ones to watch by the CQ side leading up to the games, and certainly put the girls through their paces.
"We were keeping an eye on them, they were very strong,” Williams said.
"In the morning's last group match we played against them, we suffered a few injuries.
"We were beaten 5-0 which was not a great result and we ended up with Tegan hurt in the game and unable to flay in the final. Our goal keeper was also injured.
"We were down to 11 players at the end of that game.”
After losing captain Kaycee Clarke leading up to the games, her fortunate return came at a time when her team needed her the most.
"She came down early Friday morning and helped out on the last day,” Williams said.
"It helped spirits and gave us another number to make the 11.”
After losing once to the Toowoomba team and drawing with them twice, it all came down to the grand final.
However, after drawing again at 2-2, penalty counts awarded Toowoomba the win.
"In the end, we changed our formation in the way we played to try and limit the space they had in the middle of the park,” Williams said.
"We compacted our defences more and made the play to areas they weren't as strong and we ended up frustrating them to some degree.
"We were able to score two good goals to secure the draw. We were always in the game but held out early to a bit of pressure.
"But once the game settled down, the girls were just lifted because they could see they were matching it with Brazil. They just kept going.”
Williams said despite the opposition leading by 1-0 at one point in the game, the team never stopped believing they would come back.
"We were able to get a goal back from a good goal from Holly Clarke,” Williams said.
"Their goal keeper fumbled and Eilish-Kay Hume got the fumble and put it in the net... It was her just following in and a typical striker's goal with her picking up the crumbs.
"I thought we'd match them but the speed of the game worried me (whether we could handle it) but the girls blew my expectations of what I hoped they'd achieve.
"After the first rounds of group matches, they got in a good position to compete in the final and they didn't disappoint there either... it could've gone either way.”
Williams said the competition itself was a "step up” from what the team is used to playing in local league.
"It's more physical, faster and you don't have the time on the ball as what you do here in Rocky,” he said.
"They had to adapt that for the final after getting beaten 5-0 by Brazil.
"The girls' result shows we've definitely got the ability here in CQ. We just haven't got the pathways provided but I think this competition might change that.
"I've been talking with Gary Skinner from Bluebirds, and we're looking at taking more teams down next year from different age groups, with our girls a definite to do it again.”
The second CQ team, the U15-17s Bluebirds boys, also had two players named as part of the All Star Squad to head to Germany next year; Brock Duffy and Ty Allsop.
"It was really good, both CQ teams watched each other play,” Williams said.
"The boys did well, it was a pretty fierce competition with really good teams.
"They held their own in most games and it again shows the skill of CQ, with two boys picked to travel overseas.”
The All Stars Squad will head to Germany - along with lucky coach Williams - mid next year where they will train twice a day at a German sports school with professional coaches.
"It should be a massive learning experience for them and for me as well,” Williams said.
"The German way of playing is proven, they compete in every world cup and are always one of the strongest teams.
"We'll be learning different tactics, techniques and I'm hoping they touch on player management too.
"It will be an awesome experience.”
Williams thanked all the parents and sponsors who made the cup experience possible.