Pompey Beach Soccer Club’s ladies’ team have been challenged to become Europe’s best after finishing fifth in the Euro Winners Cup,
The Blues won four of their six games in Catania in Italy, losing 4-3 to eventual winners Grasshoppers and BeachKick Ladies Berlin.
Coach Perry Northeast felt playing at that level will make the team stronger in years to come.
Northeast said: ‘Both games we lost by the one goal and we were winning until the final minutes.
‘For the girls to come away with four wins and only lose to the eventual finalists by one goal makes me immensely proud. We’ve lived the dream.
‘We didn’t know the level of opposition before we went out there, so it was hard to judge how good the standard would be.
‘Ninety per cent of the teams out there were world class and they had players who are technically magnificent.
‘We’re going to train hard and hopefully become the best in Europe.’
Northeast’s sentiment is shared by Molly Clark who scored four goals during the tournament.
Clark said: ‘I think we played very well as a team together. It’s a very physical game and I think you can be only as good as you train.
‘You have to dig deep and work hard as a team because after playing a game a day, your legs really start to feel it.’
Clark said the narrow defeats to Grasshoppers and Berlin were tough to take, but admitted such experiences will make the team stronger in the long run.
‘It was a loss for us, not a win for them, that is the way beach soccer goes unfortunately,’ she said.
‘With a bit more training and understanding the game a bit more, we have a chance of winning the trophy next season.’
Northeast also played for the men’s team in the tournament, where they recorded a 7-4 win over Copenhagen – their first win in what is their third tournament.
Northeast praised the achievement and thinks it’s a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
‘It’s the first time that any English team has won a game in the Euro Winners Cup. It’s refreshing to see that there is talent in England,’ he said.
‘Not playing consistently limits us, especially as we don’t have a permanent training venue. A lot of the teams spend a lot of time out on the sand throughout the year.
‘We’re a long way off but it was nice to get the win. That was the aim this year.
‘Next year, the aim is to get out of the group stage, which would be great considering we haven’t been together that long.’
– MACAULAY DALEY