Soccer Academy Alliance Canada News
Great Showing for RVDL Teams at the Keele Cup
RVDL Soccer Academy U13 Team shocks all by winning Pro Division Keele Cup in the UK.
The Keele International Cup (formerly The Umbro Cup), is Britain’s largest soccer tournament with more than 300 teams from 22 nations attending this year’s event from July 24 to the 28. The tournament is comprised of a Youth Club division ages 10 to 19 and a Pro Academy division, represented by Professional Football Club Academy teams from ages 11 to 18.
“We registered our very strong U13 team in the Pro Academy division to challenge our players and give them the opportunity to measure themselves against some of the best pro academies in the UK and Europe” says Robin van der Laan, Head Coach and co-founder of RVDL Soccer Academy based in Oakville. The team plays up at the U14 age group in Ontario’s SAAC League (Soccer Academy Alliance Canada) comprised of over 19 Professional Academies.
The RVDL U13 Lions surprised everyone by taking first place at the group stage with 1 draw and 3 wins, which included defeating local favourite Crewe Alexandra FC (1-0), one of UK’s top academy teams.
After overpowering Welsh team The New Saints in the semi-finals, RVDL met Crewe once again in the final. An extraordinary effort by all the players and goals by Nick Blaskovic and Michael Thornton, ensured the Oakville based team would take home the Keele Cup in the Professional Division with a final result of 2-1.
Crewe achieved official status as an FA Youth Academy in the late 1990s and their youth academy teams play in UK’s Premier Academy League (FAPAL) against teams such as Liverpool and Manchester United. “What you did to Crewe was a shock”, said Walter Fenton, Manchester City FC scout who watched the games in amazement. “The RVDL U13s are a quality team with quality players”, he added. Other scouts and coaches from various Pro teams also commented on the outstanding performance recognizing the high quality training and development being received in Canada.
In addition to the U13s, RVDL’s two U12’s and the U15 team also performed well in their Youth Club divisions, The U12 Orange team also went on to win the tournament with an impressive 7 wins out of 7, tallying 21 goals and only conceding 1 goal throughout the tournament in the final trophy match. The U12 Blue team worked hard to get to the finals for the Keele Cup Plate trophy, however playing 3 prior games on the day of finals took its toll on the team allowing their opponent from the US to claim the trophy. After a very strong showing during the round robin stage of the tournament, the U15’s reached the semi-finals being defeated by a very determined Irish team who went on to win the Keele Cup trophy.
In all, 59 players traveled to the Tournament including a U17 Player, Stefan who has been training with RVDL and under the watchful eye of Robin since Robin’s Manchester United Soccer School days in Canada. Stefan playing as a guest player for the Texas based U17 San Antonio Lions managed to make a significant impact to the team contributing a Goal and an assist in each game allowing the team to move to the finals and ultimately winning the Keele Cup Trophy. He received great praise from their coaching staff including an offer to relocate to San Antonio for a scholarship opportunity.
This 11 day international exposure for all 4 RVDL Teams also included an immersive soccer experience including; Academy training and Stadium tours with Stoke City FC, Wolverhampton FC and Bolton Wanderers FC, a training session with Manchester City FC, Stadium and Museum tour at Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium and 4 Olympic matches including Great Britain vs Senegal and the women’s Olympic opener Canada vs Japan.
“I believe this was a very successful first trip to the UK for us and the time and effort that went into planning this trip has been well worth it . The experience the players had will last a lifetime and the new contacts made along with the renewed relationships established will benefit all the current and future players of the RVDL Academy.” added van der Laan.