Beijing Dongcheng U15 girls' team spent a week in Lisbon for the football tour of their lives! Not only did they get the chance to play a handful of football matches against numerous international opponents, enhancing their skills and experience, but they also got to appreciate our fair capital, Lisbon.
They say sports, and football in particular, is somewhat a form of universal language, uniting people from different countries, languages and cultures. That's what we at Move Sports felt at the end of a week-long football tour that we had the pleasure of organising for 23 girls and staff from the Beijing Dongcheng U15 girls’team, who travelled all the way from mainland China to Lisbon, Portugal, on October 24.
At the Lisbon International Airport, the girls were met by a translator, who would be their companion for the remainder of their trip to Portugal. All team players and staff stayed at a nice, comfy hotel near the city centre. It was time to have a rest from the long flight and prepare for the first match on Portuguese soil, the next day.
Soo much football
On October 25, the girls had their first test: a friendly match against the Irish girls from St. Raphael college – who were on a football tour of their own, also catered for by Move Sports. Spirits were high and confidence grew as the Chinese girls won this match. They were all too anxious for the main course of their tour: participating in the 3rd edition of the Lisbon Football Youth Cup.
LFYC is a youth football tournament like few others: this year's edition presented 70 matches in five different age groups (boys U13, U15 and U17; girls U15 and U17) over three pitches at the Lisbon University Stadium complex. Overall, 600 young footballers representing 26 international teams competed in the tournament.
Over the weekend, the Beijing Dongcheng girls’ skills were tested to the max in 5 matches against Portuguese (Sporting CP and SL Benfica) and Swedish (Hammerby IF) adversaries. Although the girls didn't manage to win a single match, they learned fast and their performance improved noticeably as the tournament went on. As the girls' coach put it, "the event is professional and well-prepared. The games were fantastic and high level, which made our team gain a lot of experience. We are looking forward to attending the tournament next year!"
There's much to see and do in Lisbon
A trip to Lisbon is more than only about football. Portugal's capital is one of the oldest in Europe, and therefore has a rich historical and cultural heritage for any tourist to enjoy.
So did the Beijing Dongcheng girls, having spent their last two days on a sightseeing extravaganza. First, they visited Belém and tried the famous cream custard pies. Then they moved on to the very city centre, having visited the gorgeous XII century Lisbon Cathedral and Saint George's Castle, at the top of one of the city'sseven hills. The following day was spent at the Vasco da Gama Aquarium (named after the famous Portuguese XVI century voyager and seaman), host to an enormous variety of sea life. Before they were to fly home, the girls also did a tour of Sporting CP - one of the most popular clubs in the city - stadium and museum.
Back home, the girls sent us a heartfelt message: "Thank you for hosting us in Lisbon. Lisbon is a beautiful and historic city, we really enjoyed our time here."
We sure enjoyed having you. We're already preparing LFYC 2020 and we would be thrilled to have you in Lisbon once again next year!