Rotherham United’s under 15s came within 90 minutes of lifting a prestigious youth cup after successful tournament in Sweden.
Lead by coaches Chris Kirby, Ciarán Toner and Steve Sykes the Millers made it out of their four team group, before advancing all the way to the final.
The youngsters paraded their runners-up trophy at half-time during the recent pre-season friendly with FSV Mainz, and Academy Manager Garreth Barker praised his young chargers for a very successful tournament on and off the field.
“We did very well in the competition,” Barker told the Millers’ official matchday programme.
“The boys finished top of their group which consisted of two Swedish teams called IFK Luleå and IFK Umeå, plus a team from Norway called Ballstad.
“We won our quarter-final and semi-final but we lost 2-1 in the final. Overall it was a terrific experience for the lads; we played European opposition, made a final and had a week away from home and their normal lifestyle.”
It was Barker’s Swedish connections which brought about Rotherham’s involvement, after the Academy Manager was impressed with the setup following a visit for his own coaching badges.
“My connection with Sweden initially came from a visit as part of my UEFA Pro Licence where I visited a club,” Barker confirmed.
“The manager there introduced me to someone and we got talking about a local youth tournament, and he mentioned that he was looking for teams to come over and compete.
“I looked at the facilities and met the people and thought that it would be a good experience for our under 15s, as it is a pivotal year for them as they approach potential scholarships.
“The lads have represented the football club impeccably, and we are very pleased with how they adjusted to the demands of tournament football which is completely different to a league format.”