7Tree FC Brings Midcoast Flavor to European Football Event – Knox County VillageSoup
SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN — Sixteen outfielders – mostly from the Midcoast – have had the trip of a lifetime on a journey across the pond to play in a top-tier world soccer tournament.
The Donosti Masters Cup 2022, which has brought together more than 80,000 players from 60 countries since its inception in 1992 and has become one of the largest of its kind in Europe, once again featured teams from all over the world.
The nonprofit 7Tree FC was one of several teams from across the United States to participate in the event, as 7Tree FC competed in the U16 division. The event took place from Sunday to Saturday, July 3-9, with matches at facilities in the Basque County – an autonomous country in northern Spain – with the tournament located in central San Sebastian.
7Tree FC included players from Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Oceanside High School in Rockland, Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Erskine Academy of South China and Freeport.
These players included Liam Belyea, Bruce Bossow, Seamus Donaghy, Travis Dube, Casey Duncan, Finlay Fitch, Harrison Garcia, Vishal Mellor, Mo Ngido, Zan Nugyen, Eli Pluecker, Charlie Pons, Nevan Power, Holden McKenney, Harry Walker and Gavin White . . The team was coached by Patrick Mellor, Scott White and William Smith.
“The trip has been absolutely amazing on every level,” Coach Mellor said. “San Sebastian is spectacular. The Basques were welcoming. The boys have grown as players and as individuals. We really couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Coach Mellor said there were “about 250 teams” in the 16 divisions, with up to 40 teams from the United States. Sixty-four teams were vying for the tournament title in the U16 division.
Coach Mellor said the Midcoast side’s first game on the pitch was “humiliating” as they lost 7-0 to opponents from Malaga, Spain, but the hosts regained their footing after being rallied within a goal to level Catalonia 2-2.
“It was inspiring for us because it showed that we could compete, even if the other team’s players were technically stronger than our players,” Mellor said. “We stayed organized and supported each other on the pitch.”
7Tree FC went on to win 2-1 against a side from the Basque Country and confidence was high, “however, we lost two of our best players to injury and lost on penalties in the knockout stage of the tournament” against Penaflorida from the Basque Country. , said Coach Mellor.
Juventud de Torremolinos FC from Malaga won the pool in which 7TreeFC competed, while Alginet UD from Valencia took the overall U16 title.
With the abundance of world soccer powerhouses, scoring was largely secondary for the Midcoast contingent. Coach Mellor said: “The experience in Spain was dreamlike. Very different from what we are used to.
“We walked from our dorm to the beach every morning and practiced barefoot on the beach before things got too hot or crowded,” he said. “The games were well officiated and well played. The amenities were top of the line. More importantly, these boys’ minds have opened up a bit. They met players from all over the world. They practiced communicating in another language. They tried new foods and experienced a level of responsibility and independence beyond what most of them had experienced before.
Coach Mellor thanked the team’s sponsors, especially The First, the title sponsor.
“Without their support at the start of this effort, it would have been a tough hill to climb,” Coach Mellor said. “First’s generosity will be remembered by our club.”
In addition to The First, donations have also been made by Medomak Valley Family Camp, DLTC Healthcare, Washington General Store, Rockport Automotive, Andes Variety, Superior Roofing Co., KDK Screen Printing/Embroidery, Maritime Energy, Midcoast Realty Group, Atlantic Sportswear and Maine State Credit Union and the Laken Harrington Memorial Fund.
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