The year 2020 opened up with a bang for USA Floorball’s Y16 Mixed National Team, that was a huge success at Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The two Y16 national teams made sure that the American flag flew high at Gothia Cup in Sweden January 3-6, represented by a B15 team and a B12 team. The reception of these first ever U.S. teams at Gothia Cup was overwhelming. Both the Swedish and the international floorball community were in high spirits as they welcomed us with excitement and curiosity. Already at the first B12 game, the atmosphere was palpable. The audience got to experience an amazing start of the game when our team took the lead by 2-0. Even after loosing the lead, we fought back to 3-3 and just barely lost by 3-4 in the last few minutes. For us the game felt like a win and the Gothia Cup started better than we could ever have expected with our small and inexperienced team.
Stepping back, the adventure started a few days earlier with the Sweden Winter Camp at KFUM in Jonkoping, Sweden. At the camp, the teams got to practice and scrimmage together for the first time preparing for Gothia Cup and beyond. Most of the kids stayed together at KFUM and they also got a taste of Swedish food and traditions. The second day of camp the teams played against two KFUM teams to gain some experience of what is required at Gothia Cup. Even here the reception and excitement from the Swedish community and parents was inspiring. We played the National Anthems of both countries and #18 Emilynn Williamsson sang the Star Spangled Banner, also known as the United States national anthem.
Back at Gothia, inspired by the strong start of the B12 team, the B15 team followed the initial performance by doing even better. In the words of the team captain #76 Leo Pedersen “As a team we had a tough start as it was the first time we played together. After this game, we had a great talk where we agreed on some defensive and offensive tactics. After that, the team really came together and all pieces fell into place.” Leo continues to say “it was both a pleasure and a privilege to play with the U. S. Floorball team. It was an honor to be chosen as the team captain and I’m extremely proud to represent USA and wear the colors on the court”.
During the second game, the team played unbelievably well and won their first game of the tournament. They continued to win one more qualifying game to advance to the quarter final. There they met their match and lost, but it was a tough fought match that could have as easily gone the other way. In the words of Liam Williamsson, USA U19 Team player and Y16 assistant coach at Gothia Cup “I do not believe an American youth team has done this well at any previous international tournament and this sets the bar high for the future. It has been amazing leading this team and I wish for all my USA U19 team friends to be leaders in their communities and bring up new players to the game”.
After the first game the B12 had some tough games and ended up loosing their 1/32 final game against a team from Russia. The experience these teams gained for the future of U.S. Floorball is invaluable. The kids will bring this experience home to the States in order to continue to grow the quality of Floorball.
We asked #37 Keene Addington of the B15 team what it means to be part of USA Floorball and Y16. “It means being part of something bigger than I could ever fathom. It’s bigger than just floorball. We are USA, our country, when we play. We are definitely growing the youth game through the Y16 teams and floorball has a huge potential in the United States.” Y16 Mixed National Team is working towards attending several more tournaments in 2020 and beyond. If you want to be part of this experience, don’t forget to sign up on our interest list to receive information as it becomes available. We are looking for American citizens born after 2003.
We also asked #86 Hugo Rouvinen what he thought of this experience. “I really enjoyed the experience at Gothia Cup. Being part of Team USA was an honor and exciting at the same time. I made new friends within the team and had a lot of fun with them during the camp. It was good for my personal development as well, as I was able to play with and against some great players which makes me work even harder to improve my game. Thank you for letting me be part of Team USA and I am looking forward to participate again in the future.” Y16 Interest List
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