Good to Experience the World
James Lawry from Portland, Oregon in the USA has come to Dana Cup for the first time with to teams, B13 and G12, from the National Soccer Academy.
The teams came from Gothia Cup in Sweden. On the first day of Dana Cup his boys had won one match and lost one; the girls had lost.
James loves Denmark and, so far, Dana Cup has only surprised him positively.
'People are so friendly and accommodating and the countryside is beautiful,' he says. He admits that it is a long journey from the USA to Denmark, but he feels that it is good for the children to experience the world. However, he thinks that it is a pity that many parents are here with their children, thereby, not giving them the chance to make their own choices like the ones without their parents.
The National Soccer Academy has chosen to come to Dana Cup because it is more exotic than a football tournament in the USA. At the tournaments in the USA they might play against teams from Mexico and Canada, but not from the rest of the world. Moreover, it is more exciting for the children to travel to Europe and see the world. James also says that, naturally, they are here to play soccer but, on the other hand, it is a great opportunity to experience Europe. The journey is long, but the international aspect is very important.
Mamuka Met his Idol
For Mamuka Kvaratskhelia, head of delegation for the Georgian club Vake 91, the visit in DBU's Jubilee Exhibition in front of Vendiahallen on Tuesday was a welcome reunion with his big football idol, the former Danish national player Preben Elkjær.
Mamuka has been a dear guest at Dana Cup for many years, both as head of delegation and freelance journalist working for the Georgian media. For many years, the Danish football icon Preben Elkjær has fascinated him, and he has visited him on several occasions.
The Jubilee Exhibition, which was put together to celebrate the Danish Football Association's 125 years anniversary, features pictures of Preben Elkjær in action on the pitch, for instance.
New Friendships are very important
Somon, Umar and Wasswa Ibrahim, aged 17, from Kent Sports Academy in Uganda participate in their first Dana Cup. They are part of a team of boys aged 15-18 years, who have travelled to Denmark to play football.
They take part in Dana Cup because of all the fantastic experiences and they talk about how it feels to develop their skills by playing against teams from other countries participating at Dana Cup.
Also friendships are very important for them and they like meeting new people from the entire world. They also talk about how great Danish food and people in the area are.
They do not mind the long journey – on the contrary.
Mexican Evening in the Sports Café
Tonight is Mexican Evening in Dana Cup's Sports Café; the skilled kitchen staffs serve delicious Mexican meals.
'For 99 dkr. guests can eat as much as they want to,' Lene Thomsen from the Sports Café smiles. The cosy café, which has a large outdoor terrace and nice indoor rooms, is situated next to Dana Cup's Sports Center. The Café opened last year and already then it became a success.
'We can clearly see that this year more people know we exist because a lot come for both lunch and dinner,' explains Lene Thomsen, who is also able to offer large meeting rooms with big TV-screens.
By the way, the menu in the Sports Café is pulled pork or nachos, for instance. Mexican Evening is tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., while the Café stays open every day from 10 a.m. until midnight.
Impressive Honour to Dana Cup's 'Dad'
In 1982 the then manager of Fortuna Hjørring came up with the idea of arranging a football tournament for youth players in Hjørring.
Dana Cup was born.
And since then the tournament has just continued to grow. More and more teams from more and more countries have come to Hjørring in the last week of July, and Dana Cup has turned into the world's third largest football tournament for youth – and with more than 40 nations even the most international.
Throughout all the years John Robert Larsen has work tirelessly for Dana Cup and even if he is no longer in charge of the huge event, he still helps out.
His huge contribution and involvement was deservedly celebrated by presenting him with the title of honorary president as a token of respect on Tuesday evening at the traditional VIP-evening in Vendia Hallen. The chairman of Dana Cup's board, Ole Vang Bruun, presented him with the honorary title.
Krumme's Train visited Dana Cup
Krumme's train is one of the traditional elements of Hjørring's townscape. Normally, the train with the uniformed conductor runs through the streets of Hjørring but, On Tuesday, one could see the train in Dana Cup's Center Area for the first time.
The direct cause of the visit was that a group of invited guests were given an insight into how the world's third largest football tournament for youth works.
After the ride in Krumme's train the guests participated in the traditional VIP-evening in Vendia Hallen, where managers from the participating teams relaxed in a friendly atmosphere.
Two-Day-Journey to Dana Cup
48 hours with bus and ferry. The boys and girls from Finnish KIPS, 150 km north of the Polar Circle, have been on a long journey before arriving at their first Dana Cup in Hjørring. And, so far, they have had no regrets.
'We haven't been here for so long, but it seems as if Dana Cup is a great tournament,' stresses the president of the club, Veli-Matti Hettula, who has brought along 46 children and grown-ups.
Previously, KIPS have participated in a football tournament in Northern Sweden but, last year, the club decided to move to the next level as the president of the club puts it.
'As soon as we decided to participate in Dana Cup, we began to create the economical foundation. Everybody has work hard cleaning, for instance, and other kinds of jobs in order to earn money. Moreover, sponsorships have also helped us raise the funds,' continues Veli-Matti Hettula, who was rather surprised by the spectacular opening on Monday evening.
'As a matter of fact it looked like the Olympic games. It is absolutely amassing how the entire town supports Dana Cup. We have met many locals, who have been very kind to us. We would love to return to Dana Cup, but getting the funding is hard work, so perhaps we'll not be able to come every year,' says the president of the club, who liked the fact that his G14 team got to meet the mayor of Hjørring.
Theatre Group came along with Football Players
Among the 46 Finns from Arctic KIPS is a small theatre group that is part of the club. Naturally, the theatre group shall not play any matches.
'However, the theatre group wanted to experience the event together with the football players and, perhaps, they manage to get in contact with another theatre group, maybe a Danish one,' says the president of the club, Veli-Matti Hettula, who would love to help interested people connect with the Finnish theatre group.
Parents from the Entire World
Dana Cup is increasingly turning into a real family event. Many parents travel with their children to Dana Cup. And so, the parents of the boys from One World Football Academy's B14 team have come along. The only difference is that they come from the entire world.
'One World Football Academy is a very international academy having children from Accra's international circle. We receive huge support from the parents. Presently, many of them are on holiday, but they come from the entire world to support us here at Dana Cup,' coach George Abogbampo explains.
Referee for the First Time at Dana Cup
Even if 32-year-old Snezhana Ilievska from Macedonia has refereed football for 12 years, she was anxious to referee her first match at Dana Cup on Tuesday in Højene. Snezhana Ilievska is one of many female referees in Macedonia.
'I have refereed for more than 10 years and I would love to get a FIFA licence, but I think it is difficult,' smiles Snezhana Ilievska, who actually holds a physical education within sport. But since it is difficult to get a job within this line of work, she has had to work in a factory. However, she is currently studying physiotherapy.
'I have a friend, who has refereed at several international tournaments. Subsequently, I found Dana Cup on the Internet and signed up,' explains Snezhana Ilievska, who arrived in Hjørring late Monday evening – just a few hours before her first match.
12 Nations on the Same Team
Even though One World Football Academy comes from Ghana's capital Accra, one should not expect to see a team of typical African players. On the contrary, almost. The team in B14 have players from no less than 12 nations and, as a matter of fact, only a few local Ghanaians players have come along.
'One World Football Academy is a new academy, where we gather children from 5 or 6 of the local schools. We typically practice Saturday and Sunday and, so far, we only have this team. However, the academy has only existed for 8 months,' one of the team's two coaches, George Abogbampo, explains.
As a consequence, One World Football Academy participates in Dana Cup for the first time.
'Nonetheless, Dana Cup is a great tournament to take part in. For several of the boys it is also the first time, they leave Ghana, so our goal is, first and foremost, to learn, grow and improve. We do not think that we can win the entire tournament and, thus, we did loose our first match 2-0 even though we had most ball possession,' George Abogbampo says.