Newly Married Referee at Dana Cup
Barely two weeks ago 26-year-old Emilia Karpeta-Kubat walked down the aisle at home in Poland. Then Tuesday morning she refereed her first game at Dana Cup 2016. A great experience for the young referee, who takes part in Dana Cup for the first time – and this time without her husband, because he had to work.
'Perhaps next year he'll come along,' smiles Emilia Karpeta-Kubat, who is looking forward to spending a week at the world's third largest youth football tournament. So far, it has been a fantastic experience to be part of this huge tournament.
'I have refereed for eight years and referee in the best league for girls as well as in a regional league for men,' explains Emilia Karpeta-Kubat, who has never played football. On the other hand, she has twice been Polish champion in long jump.
'I became a referee because my father was also a referee but, although, I have ambitions and really want to referee at a higher level it is difficult because I began rather late,' adds Emilia Karpeta-Kubat, who despite her modest height is quick to make herself respected – even among the tall Norwegian players in class B16.
At home in Poland she works as a teacher in a vocational school as nutrition coach and as a referee.
Sportswear is selling like hotcakes
The ferries had barely docked in Hirtshals before the first players turned up at Sportsmaster's big tent in Dana Cup's Centre Area. Players were ready to spend money and, consequently, they left the store with big bags and happy smiles.
'Sportswear of all kinds is selling like hotcakes. Among other things, we have an entire wall with the latest Adidas soccer boots and also the latest Nike models. Most of the young footballers are raving about both brands,' smiles Matthias Jensen, who is one of 35 busy employees in Sportmaster's tent.
Focus on Security
With 1,153 teams of which 826 are accommodated in schools in many parts of the municipality, it has never been more important to focus on security. And at the school meeting on Tuesday, Jan Mørch, who is in charge of safety and security at Hjørring municipality, highly praised the school leaders.
'This year we use 44 schools, sports halls and other places of accommodation and it is clear that security has moved up on the list of issues that are to be taken care of, so we've never been so ready for the tournament before,' Jan Mørch stressed.
'Previously, perhaps breakfast and burgers were higher on the list, but we can see that security now has first priority and, naturally, we are very pleased. Smoke alarms and information boards with instructions relating to fire are all there.
'Nevertheless, now we need to focus even more. One thing is making sure that everything is ready before the tournament. Another thing is now that the players have arrived with their sleeping bags, quilts and sport bags. Now they mess about in the classrooms. Both they and the staff at the schools get tired, and you might unknowingly loose focus, so it's important to stay focused,' Jan Mørch pointed out.
'Moreover, it is a good idea to tell managers and players that e-cigarettes can easily set off a smoke detector. If that happens and the fire department discovers a false alarm, we'll send a 5,510 DKK bill. Most likely, the club, which is responsible for the school, will have to pay that bill. Additionally, a stray ball might also set off the smoke alarm.
886 Matches Today
When the referees blow the whistle for the last time today, 886 matches will have been played on the first day of this year's Dana Cup.
'Tomorrow, 887 matches will be played and the same on Thursday. However, already on Friday the number of games will drop to 217 while Saturday ends with 19 finals,' explained Ole Vang Bruun, who is in charge of the planning of the tournament.
'With so many teams we do not accept delays. We only have a few spare fields, so if matches are delayed and, thus, move the entire playing program, we will generally not accept them,' stressed Ole Vang Bruun, who also drew attention to the Fair Play competition, which for several years has been part of Dana Cup.
Here, referees and school staff can make note of teams who have made themselves noticed in either a negative or positive manner, both on and off the pitch. At the finals on Saturday the club that has made the most positive impression is handed the Fair Play trophy.
Trip Home Already Planned
While the teams currently play the first matches at this year's Dana Cup, the tournament's department of transport is already busy putting together the final pieces of the big puzzle that is the transport home of the many thousands of players and managers.
'On Friday we'll send information to the schools about the details of the transport of the teams,' said head of transport, Jørgen Nielsen, at the tournament's first meeting with the schools.
Jørgen Nielsen also mentioned that on Monday 73 buses set off to pick up players and managers in order to take them to the schools.
'Every day 49 buses run on 19 routes from the schools to the centre area and from there to the 70 football fields that we use at this year's Dana Cup. We encourage teams to leave early, so that they are sure to turn up on time for the game,' Jørgen Nielsen stressed.
The Tournament has started
After a nice opening last night, this morning the participants have begun the first matches in high spirits. This is also the case for the Norwegian G14-team Raufoss IL Football, who looks forward to playing the first match of the tournament on the centre fields.
'Naturally, we hope to do well. Moreover, we are looking forward to playing the first game. Actually, the football pitches are very good,' states team manager Øystein Bjørge shortly before the first match.
'We don't know anything about our opponents, so it will be interesting,' Øystein Bjørge adds. Of course, this means that the Norwegian team will mainly focus on their own game.
'We have two good teams, so we hope to go far in the tournament,' the coach says. In addition to the actual game, the social aspect is also an important part of the trip.
What do you do Between Matches?
In between the matches there is ample opportunity for recreation in Dana Cup's Event Area. In the FIFA tent the two Scottish boys, Mikey Morton and Cammy Duncan from Newbattle, had decided to spend the waiting time in the company of the computer game FIFA.
'We have just finished our first game, and we won it 6-0. And then we decided to pass the time in here,' Cammy Duncan explains. 'It is quite enjoyable and time passes quite fast,' Cammy Duncan adds. 'Actually, we just came for the laugh', Mikey Morton stresses. Unsurprisingly, both boys like playing FIFA.
Bread Rolls and Sausage Rolls for Everybody
Just because one is at Dana Cup one does not have to give up break rolls for breakfast. Among all the goodies in the Event Area one can now also buy bread rolls in the new sales tent belonging to the supermarket Brugsen. However, it is far from the only thing that the manager, Mathilde Vorre, and her nice colleagues offer customers. As something extra they have 30,000 freshly baked sausage rolls, so there ought to be enough for everybody.
Opening hours: 6 a.m. to midnight
American Virgin Islands at Dana Cup
For the first time in Dana Cup's history two teams from the former Danish West Indies participate in this year's Dana Cup. As a matter of fact, Denmark and the three islands St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix (United States Virgin Islands) share a long common history because they used to belong to Denmark until they were sold to the United States in 1917.
Ahead of next year's 100th anniversary of the sale, two teams from St. Croix participate in the tournament in order to strengthen the old ties between the people of the American Virgin Islands and Denmark. Consequently, the players will stay in Denmark for a fortnight playing football for one week and living with a Danish host family – naturally, football players themselves - in the second week. Then next year the two Danish teams hosting will hopefully go to the Virgin Islands. However, in order to do so all participants from St. Croix and Denmark are interested in sponsors to fund the cooperation.
'We have managed to find sponsors to pay for the plane tickets from the Danish Virgin Islands to Denmark. Moreover, it is also important to us that we have young people who can come and tell their story; partly about the destination, partly about the islands, but makes it contemporary for there are plenty of historians who have written about the history of Denmark and the Virgin Islands. Within tourism focus is different since we try to get young people engaged and these 30 ambassadors who are running around in Denmark the next 14 days will hopefully talk to a lot of young Danes about the Virgin Islands,' managing director Karin Gert Nielsen explains.
Chance to Meet Professional Scouts
Can you kick harder than 90 km/h? Then you should visit the tent of the International Football Academy in the middle of the Event Area to test your strength in terms of hitting the ball as fast as possible. You have three attempts to measure your personal top speed and, at the same, participate in a unique competition at the International Football Academy. In additional to prizes in each age group, the winner with the fastest shot at Dana Cup will get the chance to play in front of professional scouts in England.
Founded in 2007, the International Football Academy already has impressive results when it comes to talent development and training of their players. Several of their former players have signed contracts with top clubs across Europe and the United States. The students come from all over the world in order to participate in weekly courses or in a two-year football education in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England.
Test your Skills in the Event Area
At adidas Experience Arena in the Event Area you can now have a photo taken of you doing a volley or backflip and then have it send to your phone for free.
'We are on tour with adidas doing a football event where we have a football cage where you play two versus two. Moreover, you get to try the latest adidas shoes, which is a big part of it. Naturally, we have every size. We also have a theme where you can do a volley or a backflip and then we take your photo', Johannes Schander from Sweden explains. You can meet Johannes in the Event Area on a daily basis from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.