AFC Sudbury Girls Academy team bring Enigma Cup back from Caribbean Blinds-funded tour to Miami
Football really did come home for the AFC Sudbury Girls Academy as they returned from their USA tour to Miami with a prized trophy and a clutch of winners’ medals.
Generous sponsorship from shirt sponsors and locally-based partners Caribbean Blinds had allowed the club to open up the resumption of their American tournament trips post pandemic to all year groups – taking 59 students for a funded six-day experience of a lifetime.
It included entering two boys teams (U18 & U19) and one girls under-19s side in The Enigma Cup – hosted by Weston club FUTSOC in Florida for U9s up to U20s.
Both of their male sides went out on goal difference in the group stages, though they were not able to complete their games due to play having to stop because of storms.
Meanwhile, the Darren Scoulding and Beth Morrell-coached female side progressed all the way to the final of their tournament. After a goalless draw with Florida United the Kath Hammond-captained team held their nerve to win the deciding penalty shootout 7-6 to claim the trophy.
Following the club’s biggest US tour to date, AFC Sudbury Academy director Danny Laws was keen to thank their sponsors for allowing them to resume what has become the highlight of the programme for their scholars.
“The sponsorship from Caribbean Blinds allowed us to maximise all the opportunities and time we had on tour within budget,” he said.
“An extra trip out to a college or soccer game catering for the 67-person tour party (including eight club staff) didn’t need worrying about and for that we are very grateful.
“It was an incredible feeling for the AFC Sudbury Academy to resume its annual tour to the USA after two years of the pandemic.
“It was also fantastic that we were heading to Miami, the destination of the cancelled tour of 2020.”
He added: “Over the last five years, the tour has whetted the appetite for our young players to pursue playing and studying opportunities within the USA Collegiate sports system and enjoy a sporting-university experience unparalleled anywhere in the world.”
Indeed, the AFC Sudbury Academy is this year graduating six of their students to USA colleges for 2022/23.
Stuart Dantzic, managing director at Caribbean Blinds had been delighted to learn of the tour’s success.
He said: “We actually started our initial sponsorship with AFC Sudbury with the new Girls Academy team back in 2019 so we are thrilled to hear that the girls have brought it home!
“The US tour is a massive organisation that requires a dedicated team of staff, numerous outings and trips and lots of kit.
“To be able to help to enable this tour and to give these gifted young players such a life changing opportunity makes us incredibly proud.”