Horncastle FC’s Under 14s girls team have returned from taking part in the Europa Cup 2022 at Paris St Germain (PSG)’s stadium, Parc des Princes, in Paris, which was attended by young footballers from around the world.
The team and their manager Jamie Town had embarked on a fundraising campaign to get the team there and had successfully raised more than £6,000.
The team set off from Horncastle on Friday May 20, but were hit with problems on the way as their team coach broke down when they reached South Mimms services on the M25, and they ended up missing their Eurostar and didn’t get to their hotel until late at night.
But they were able to enjoy a day at Disneyland Paris the following day, before the tournament began on Sunday 23.
They were also thrilled to learn that they would be playing on the same pitch where PSG had beaten Metz 5-0 in their final game of the season just the day before – with global superstars Neymar Junior and Kylian Mbappe on the scoresheet.
After a briefing, the tournament began with the Horncastle girls and four other teams walking out onto the pitch with the rousing Champions League anthem blaring over the speakers.
"The girls conducted themselves brilliantly,” manager Jamie said, “I told them to take everything in as they would never forget these moments.”
The girls sadly lost their five matches as they were playing against all boys teams, but Jamie said they scored three goals and did so well against tough opposition:
"We said they were the best girls’ team in Europe because they were excellent and had a great time,” he said.
One of the teams, a football club from Haiti, stayed in the same hotel as the Horncastle team and Jamie said they made some lovely new friends.
"We’d like to extend our thanks to everyone who got us there,” Jamie added, “To the town council, the local businesses and everyone else who donated and especially to the anonymous donor who gave us £1,000 towards the trip – we couldn’t have gone without them, and certainly not without the girls’ hard work.”