By Bernie Wong & Bec Gleeson
THIRTY of Denmark’s best junior soccer players donned the gold and black to represent the Albany region at Country Week in Perth during the first week of October.
With nearly 1000 players in 62 teams from 12 regions from around the State, Country Week is a unique event on the soccer calendar.
Albany had teams in every division, with four making the grand finals on the last day of competition.
In the Under-14 girls division nine Denmark players represented the region on their team of 16 – Ava Malata, Tabi Kenyon, Ellieyah de Koning, Eloise Garland, Stella Gleeson, Mei Jones, Abi Matthews, Tayah Mastalerz and Valli Milne.
They had an amazing week, capped off by a 1-0 win in the final against Leeuwin.
“This group of girls had the best team spirit I have ever seen in seven years of coaching Country Week teams,” their coach Bernie Wong said.
In the U15 boys A-division Denmark players Marley Masih, Nick Bahr-Pike and Kai Thrupp-Probst were members of a team which was undefeated all week and enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win in the final against Goldfields.
In the U17 boys division, Cooper Gleeson and Davis Milne had a big week playing against some very strong sides, and helped bring home the gold with a 2-0 win against Leeuwin.
The girls U12s, which included Denmark players Luiza Fagundes, Lumeah Masih, Siri Matthews and Ella Sinclair, narrowly missed out on victory, losing the grand final to Leeuwin in a penalty shootout.
Other Denmark players representing the Albany region included Abby Carter, Lowana Winter, Iman Anderson, Tully, Levi Masih, Reuben Winter, Kai Jones, Marlon Mastalerz, Gilligan Neunuebel, Justin Otway, Yuma Jones, Daniel Bahr-Pike.
The Country Week tournament is a springboard for players to go further in their soccer careers.
Talented players are selected to attend Country Camp and, if successful go on represent Country WA and tour either Singapore or Thailand.
This year Denmark’s Cooper Gleeson, Gilligan Neunuebel and Lumeah Masih have been selected.
On the broader front of the Great Southern Soccer Association competition, Denmark women this year dominated yet again by winning all three divisions, with Mike Garland’s premier team winning its sixth consecutive title.