Charlton Athletic Football Club Women
U14s finish 4th in Toulouse Tournament
U14s finish 4th in Toulouse Tournament
Report by Sue Prior
Page last updated at 3:02PM UTC, Monday, 09 June 2014
We finished a very creditable 4th in Le Challenge des Etoiles (Challenge of the Stars) Tournament in Toulouse at the weekend
The 8-a-side Tournament was played at the Stade Marcel Sarcos in Toulouse and saw 20 teams from France, Spain and England compete. 

The team flew out after the girls had finished school on the Friday and we were met at Toulouse Airport by staff from the host club Saint Simon and driven to the hotel.

We were taken by people carriers to the ground early on Saturday morning for breakfast and after that there were team photos and a meeting for the coaches with the tournament organisers. The day started a little cloudy but by 11am the sun was shining and the temperature had risen to 30 degrees.

The tournament started with 4 Groups of 5 teams and matches kicked-off at 1130am. We were able to watch some of the early games and have lunch before our first game at 2pm. Match were 15 minutes long and during the afternoon we played 4 games in 2 hours in what were very hot conditions, particularly on the astro-turf pitches.

Match 1 - Haute Garonne 0 Charlton 1
Goalscorer - Terri

Match 2 - Entente Aussonne Blagnac 0 Charlton 1
Goalscorer - Leah

Match 3 - Toulouse 1 Charlton 1
Goalscorer - Leah
We went 1-0 up in this game and were very unlucky to concede after a dubious free-kick which was cleared but rebounded off one of their players. We were quickly finding out the difference in refereeing and what is viewed as a foul on the continent. It was a quick learning process for the coaches and players alike.

Match 4 - ES Saint Simon 0 Charlton 6
Goalscorers - Beth B 2, Lou, Terri, Beth S & Ella.
Playing on the bigger and wider grass pitch for this game suited us as we chased the goals knowing Toulouse were level on points with us.

That completed the group stage matches and the games for Saturday. We finished top of the Group and would meet the much fancied Severac Le Chateau team in the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

After going back to the hotel for a shower and to change we returned to the ground in the evening for a dinner of paella and chicken. Afterwards the players and staff had the chance to meet with the other teams with our girls not shy in the dancing and singing that went on. Good friendships were built with many teams but in particular with the host team Saint Simon and the team from Manchester. 

We were back at the ground early Sunday morning for breakfast before our quarter-final at 10am. 

Quarter-final - Severac Le Chateau 0 Charlton 1
Scorer - Beth B
Severac were the best footballing side in the tournament and played some great passing football. Many of the locals fancied them to win the tournament. We scored early on and after that defended superbly. Amelia in goal made some important saves and in particular made one excellent save diving low to her right and tipping a goalbound effort past the post. 

Semi-Final - West End City 1 Charlton 0
We lost narrowly to the team from Manchester, whose side featured a number of Manchester City players, in a game that could have gone either way. 

After lunch was the final part of the tournament where teams played off for tournament positions from 20th to 1st. 
Having lost in the semi-final we were now competing for 3rd & 4th place.

3rd & 4th Place Play-off - Toulouse 0 Charlton 0
We again played Toulouse who we had drawn with in the group stage. With no goals scored it went to penalties and in typical England World Cup style we came second! However credit to the 3 girls who had the courage to take them in front of a packed stand of noisy fans and players. 

So we finished a very creditable fourth in our first tour abroad with a junior squad and picked up a rather large cup for doing so. The players also received individual cups and a framed team photo.

Charlton Squad:- Amelia, Ella, Lou, Tia, Lucy, Beth B, Cansu, Beth S, Leah, Bea, Liv, Aaliyah, Terri, Jessie

Our goalkeeper Amelia was also named as goalkeeper of the tournament and was presented with a cup. Congratulations Amelia, fully deserved.

Our coaches Stuart Weston & Hannah Burnett-Kirk also named their player of the tournament as Ella who was outstanding at the heart of the defence. Well played Ella. 

The final saw West End City beat Sabadell from Spain 2-0 cheered on by their new friends from Charlton. So we can proudly say we lost to the team that won the tournament and only by the odd goal. 

We finished the day by having dinner back at the ground and saying goodbye to all the new friends we had made before flying home late in the evening.

The tournament was a fantastic experience for the girls to learn a different culture, see the different styles of football and make many new friends.

We would like to thank all the staff from Saint Simon FC for a fantastic weekend but in particular Agnes Barthe and Matthieu Vrilliard the tournament organisers. We hope to see you again next year!

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