Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland youngsters get their opportunity on the big stage

By Graham Luney

Talented young players from the under-13 Northern Ireland Boys' Football Association National League are about to get a taste of international action at the Nordic Challenge Trophy in Salou.

The select squad, managed by former Carrick Rangers and Donegal Celtic boss Stephen Small, will play six games over three days in a 10-team tournament from Friday.

Group games at the inaugural tournament will see our boys compete against Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), FC Honka (Finland), Hammarby (Sweden) as well as Academia Tecnifutbul from Spain.

Small said: "I am honoured to be head coach of this under 13 representative squad and will be assisted by Marc Gamble, who is coach of Greenisland FC under-13s.

"Preparations have gone really well and we have assembled a good squad of young players from nine different clubs all playing in the NIBFA National League. The tournament will see us playing against opposition from our hosts Spain, Ukraine and Nordic countries among others. The players will enjoy a cultural, football and educational experience that hopefully will live long in their memories.

"We are very grateful to NIBFA, SUBWAY, Bank of Ireland, Ulster University and Ulsterbus Tours for all their support."

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