A SOUTH Tyneside youth football team is set for the opportunity of a lifetime when they travel to play a tournament in the Netherlands this summer.
Hebburn Argyle’s under-19s came top of their league with six games to spare this season, having won every game, and now they’ve been invited to a tournament in Holland starting on Friday, June 5.
I think our success is down to keeping the same bunch of lads happy and enjoying their football.Trevor Wood, manager, Hebburn Argyle U19s
It will take place in Krimpen aan den Ijssel, near Rotterdam, at the home of semi-professional team DCV.
The South Tynesiders will take on teams from Germany, Belgium and Holland.
Argyle were only reformed three years ago by manager Trevor Wood, with the original team having folded in the mid-1990s.
Mr Wood was then living in Holland and playing for DCV, and he kept in touch with his former club before getting the invitation to take part in the tournament.
He said: “I stayed in contact with the club I used to play for, and it just came out of the blue. I spoke to their chairman, and we met when I was on holiday over there.
“They invited us over for the tournament and are allowing us to enter it for free, which is fantastic for us as it helps us with our fundraising.
“We’ve got two sponsors on board and are looking for another two to help us get across to Holland.
“Some of the lads have never been abroad, so for them to be going to Holland to play football at the home of a semi-professional club is fantastic.”
The club is fundraising to ensure the team gets to Holland, with a charity football match organised and a number of other events planned, including a double-marathon.
Half of the funds raised from the double-marathon will go to the club, with the other half going to the National Kidney Foundation.
Argyle, affiliated with Northern League side Hebburn Town, are in the quarter-finals of their league cup, so they are on target to do a double this season.
They won that competition and finished second last term, and in their first season, ending in 2013, they finished third and reached the semi-finals of the cup.
“This season, they have been playing in the Quantum Trialists Youth League, but they plan to move into the Durham FA under-21s league next term, if they can keep their team together.
Mr Wood added: “We’re on target for the double this season, and I think our success is down to keeping the same bunch of lads happy and enjoying their football.
“They have excelled as a football team, and their commitment and dedication to come to training every week is fantastic.
“Our target this season was to win every game, and to achieve that so far has been absolutely phenomenal.
“A couple of the lads are being watched by other teams, including Preston North End and the local Northern League clubs, and I’m sure some of them are going to get the chance to take that step up.
“We’re a feeder team to Hebburn Town, and I’m also the coach of their reserves side, so a few players are playing for them as well.
“It’s good for Hebburn first-team manager Scott Oliver, as he is able to have a look at the younger players and possibly introduce them at first-team level.”
The club is welcoming all donations to help pay for the Holland trip, and anyone interested in obliging can call Mr Wood on 0777 577 0591.