My colleagues and I are back from Sweden, following our wonderful experience in the 43rd edition of the Gothia Cup! And boy oh boy what an eventful week it was!
Without any further ado, as promised, I will now proceed to tell you all about our week.
Saturday 15th July:
Arrival at Göteborg Landvetter Airport. Met David (who we later found out is the main organiser’s son), then taken to Västerbergsskolan, which was our residence for that week.
Day 1 – Sunday 16th July:
A gloomy, rainy day in Gothenburg. We had a short meeting in the morning with the head organiser of Gothia Cup – Mr. Niklas Nord – and we were also introduced to our colleague Adriana Nadolska, a female referee from Poland who would be working along with us Maltese officials for the week. Despite the bad weather, we still decided to explore the city for a while, and visited the Universeum.
Day 2 – Monday 17th July:
Our first day refereeing in Sweden, on a very nice, clear day. Matches were held at the Kortedalavallen pitch (approximately an hour-long journey by public transport from where we were staying), and were the following:
- Girls 14 Group Stages – Lillehammer K.F.K. 1 (🇳🇴) vs. Triangelns I.K. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 18 Group Stages – Torslanda I.K. 2 (🇸🇪) vs. VfL Westercelle 2 (🇩🇪)
- Girls 16 Group Stages – Hipica Campinas (🇧🇷) vs. I.F.K. Kalmar (🇸🇪)
- Girls 16 Group Stages – Tölö I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Club España (🇲🇽)
- Boys 18 Group Stages – University of Pretoria 1 (🇿🇦) vs. F.K. Lillehammer (🇳🇴)
- Boys 14 Group Stages – Stars ‘n Stripes (🇺🇸) vs. F.K. Karlskrona 1 (🇸🇪)
- Boys 18 Group Stages – Samaya F.A. (🇱🇧) vs. Eskilstuna Södra F.F. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 15 Group Stages – Backatorp I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. F.C. International Leipzig e.V. (🇩🇪)
- Boys 15 Group Stages – Reading Rage (🇺🇸) vs. Enskede I.K. (🇸🇪)
Following our football matches, we made our way to Ullevi Stadium for the magnificent Gothia Cup 2017 opening ceremony, which had a record attendance this year of 50, 800 spectators! I will never forget the sight of thousands of players from all sorts of clubs walking beside us to the stadium, some players even singing and chanting songs along the way. During the ceremony itself, there were several local bands and singers that gave an amazing performance, singing (among other well-known numbers by different artists) popular songs by Swedish DJ duo Icona Pop such as Emergency and I Love It, as the teams from all around the world were being presented. There was also a surprise guest appearance from Swedish football legend himself Kim Källström. At the end, we were treated to the traditional spectacular fireworks show for the grand finale, with everyone at the stadium cheering, waving, and throwing balloons. Ullevi was a sea of yellow and blue.
Day 3 – Tuesday 18th July:
Our matches for the day were at the Frejaplan pitch, which, thankfully, was much closer to the school we were staying in (around 15 minutes on foot). Refereed one of the toughest games I’ve had to date, the one between Werther and Lidköpings. Games were as follows:
- Girls 18 Group Stages – Rödeby A.I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Arentorp Helås F.K. (🇸🇪)
- Girls 18 Group Stages – S.G. Borken e.V. (🇩🇪) vs. Vålerenga Fotboll (🇳🇴)
- Boys 13 Group Stages – S.G. Borken e.V. (🇩🇪) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
- Girls 15 Group Stages – St. Paul Blackhawks 2 (🇺🇸) vs. K.F.V. Segeberg (🇩🇪)
- Boys 14 Group Stages – Hødd I.L. (🇳🇴) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
- Boys 14 Group Stages – B.V. Werther (🇩🇪) vs. Lørenskog I.F. (🇳🇴)
- Girls 15 Group Stages – Sandvikens I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. St. Paul Blackhawks 1 (🇺🇸)
- Boys 15 Group Stages – Furulunds I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Ljungby I.F. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 16 Group Stages – B.V. Werther (🇩🇪) vs. Lidköpings F.K. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 14 Group Stages – Ystads I.F. F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Thai Spirit F.C. (🇹🇭)
Day 4 – Wednesday 19th July:
Back at Frejaplan pitch for the day. Twelve matches in all; the most we had in a day.
- Boys 15 Group Stages – Sandvikens I.F. Röd (🇸🇪) vs. I.F. Skarp (🇳🇴)
- Boys 16 Group Stages – Ljungby I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
- Boys 14 Group Stages – Thai Spirit F.C. (🇹🇭) vs. 1. F.C. Schöneiche e.V. (🇩🇪)
- Boys 15 Group Stages – Emmaboda I.S. (🇸🇪) vs. Figgjo I.L. (🇳🇴)
- Girls 14 Group Stages – K.F.V. Segeberg (🇩🇪) vs. T.S.V. Weyhe-Lahausen (🇩🇪)
- Boys 13 Group Stages – Segeltorps I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
- Girls 18 Group Stages – Bergnäsets A.I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. S.G. Borken e.V. (🇩🇪)
- Girls 15 Group Stages – Piteå I.F. D.F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Remsle U.I.F. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 16 Play-Off B – Reine I.L./Ballstad U.I.L. (🇳🇴) vs. Maryland United F.C. (🇺🇸)
- Boys 15 Play-Off B – Figgjo I.L. (🇳🇴) vs. Lørenskog I.F. (🇳🇴)
- Boys 15 Play-Off B – Segeltorps I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Högsby I.K. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 15 Play-Off B – Bodens B.K. F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. I.B.F.F. (🇸🇪)
Day 5 – Thursday 20th July:
Quite a hot day in Gothenburg. Games were held at the Överåsvallen pitch, and this is where stuff started to get serious. Each match from Thursday onwards was being streamed live on the Gothia Cup website. All matches were play-offs.
- Boys 14 Play-Off A – Cajamar Esporte (🇧🇷) vs. Pequeninos do Jockey (🇧🇷)
- Girls 18 Play-Off A – Landvetter I.F. 1 (🇸🇪) vs. Bossekop U.L. (🇳🇴)
- Girls 16 Play-Off B – Storfors A.I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Malmslätts A.I.K. (🇸🇪)
- Boys 15 Play-Off A – Högbo A.I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Florø S.K. (🇳🇴)
- Boys 13 Play-Off A – J.S.C. Pitray-Olier Paris (🇫🇷) vs. C.A. Intercups Mexico (🇲🇽)
- Boys 15 Play-Off B – Sollefteå G.I.F. F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Gimonäs Umeå I.F. (🇸🇪)
- Girls 15 Play-Off B – S.K.K. (🇳🇴) vs. J.K. Tabasalu (🇪🇪)
- Boys 14 Play-Off B – European Football Academy (🇬🇧) vs. Bollstanäs S.K. 2 (🇸🇪)
- Girls 13 Play-Off B – Åsa I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Mossens B.K. (🇸🇪)
- Girls 14 Play-Off A – B.K. Höllviken (🇸🇪) vs. S.K. Haugar (🇳🇴)
- Girls 16 Play-Off A 1/4 Final – F.C. Staffanstorp (🇸🇪) vs. S.K. Haugar (🇳🇴)
That same evening, when we were finished, we received our next slate of matches for Friday and Saturday. Much to our surprise, we were so happy and excited after having been chosen to officiate in the Girls 18 Play-Off B Final on Saturday.
Day 6 – Friday 21st July:
Four play-off matches today, at Kviberg pitch 13. Why pitch 13, you ask? Well, this place is truly incredible. There’s such a huge space of greenery that during the Gothia Cup, they transform the area into over 20 separate football grounds!
- Boys 13 Play-Off B – Enebybergs I.F. 1 (🇸🇪) vs. Sävedalens I.F. 2 (🇸🇪)
- Girls 13 Play-Off B 1/4 Final – Ylämyllyn Yllätys (🇫🇮) vs. Ploërmel F.C. (🇫🇷)
- Girls 16 Play-Off B 1/4 Final – Greve Fodbold (🇩🇰) vs. Mankato United (🇺🇸)
- Boys 15 Play-Off B 1/4 Final – Onsala B.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Gerdskens B.K. (🇸🇪)
Later in the day, we had the referees’ party at Strike & Co. We had a taco buffet there, then after headed down to the bowling alley and played two rounds of bowling, where I earned bragging rights for finishing with the highest amount of points.
Day 7 – Saturday 22nd July:
Since the game was in the morning, we had the rest of the day off where we could finally enjoy some time together and do some more sightseeing. We first went to Liseberg Amusement Park and tried out some of the rides and games there.
Last but not least, we went for a late lunch at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe, located on Kungsportsavenyen street. Great food, and good company. A perfect way to spend our last evening in Sweden!
– Preston Carbonaro