| Written By Lloyd Webb Features

Gothia Cup Diary: Day Four

Those lucky enough to have been in attendance at Apelsinplan 1, a 10-minute walk from the headquarters based in Heden, could be forgiven for thinking PLAYR Academy had been playing together for years. Although the fluidity of passing on the pitch may hint at the idea, it’s off the pitch where you truly get a feeling this is no longer a selection of talented players we put together six weeks ago, but a genuine team.

Yet to taste defeat, a post-match ritual has quickly been established. Huddling together in the centre circle, starters and substitutes alike shout ‘PLAYR’ repeatedly while bouncing around. It’s almost become a war cry for the squad, and judging by the two additional victories recorded today, we might be hearing this a few more times in Gothenburg.

Now in the knockout stages of the Gothia Cup, the PLAYR Academy have reached the business end of the competition. Their first game of the day, against Swedish side Staffanstrop United, ended in a 4-1 victory after Frankie Church had given us an early lead after 10 minutes. Eric Stolt equalised before things went from bad to worse as a second yellow card meant the boys would be a man down for the remaining 40 minutes. Josh Setchell soon restored our advantage, and remaining in the ascendancy after the break despite our numerical disadvantage, Luke Plange put the game beyond doubt with a powerful finish while Arkell Jude-Boyd added a fourth.

“We went 1-0 up and then they got an equaliser, before about half-an-hour into the game we got a man sent off and we were down to 10 men,” said captain Jake Brown. “We came back to win 4-1 which is brilliant. We now need to recover and will be looking at the SmartCoach app to see how it can help.”

With games coming thick and fast as we near the end of the tournament, celebrations were put on hold as our round of 16 fixture against undefeated Norwegian side Florø SK kicked off in four hours. It’s here our technology truly came into it’s element, advising the team on how to efficiently refuel, recover and then prepare for another gruelling 60 minutes.

The opening exchanges were played at a high tempo, and despite several chances for both sides, it took until the 18th minute for Brown to break the deadlock. Joy was short-lived however, as Brage Naustdal pulled the opposition level with a curling effort just before the break. Four minutes after the restart and Jude-Boyd restores the PLAYR Academy’s lead, and with just moments remaining in a tightly-contested fixture, Plange struck to book our place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Elsewhere, our PLAYR booth in Heden was busy as teams looked to get any possible advantage over the opposition in the knockout stages of the competition. With additional time slots for the remaining games now available, there’s no time like the present to get your hands on the technology used by the professionals.

Take a look at what else we’ve been up to in Sweden: