Starfinder soccer players return home after Sweden trip

The Manayunk group of youth soccer players that represented the U.S. at the Gothia Cup in Sweden last month is back in town and back to work.

After competing in the world’s largest youth soccer tournament, the 17 high schoolers from Manayunk’s Starfinder Foundation arrived back in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 24.

The following Monday, many of the teens went right back to work as counselors for Starfinder’s six-week summer camp.

Their coach, Stephen Jackson, said it was an incredible opportunity for the kids.

“They got to experience something that a lot of people don’t ever get to experience,” Jackson said.

The team won one out of four games, exposed themselves to different styles of soccer throughout the world and met people from all different cultures.

“Our record was not indicative of how well we actually played,” Jackson said. “To go in and perform as well as we did and have positive results was a tremendous feat for us.”

An estimated 35,000 players from 72 nations competed for the Cup this year. The Starfinder group was the only team representing Philadelphia and one of 105 teams participating from the U.S.

Jackson says he hopes he can continue to take students on this trip again with the help of another sponsorship or fundraising. The group’s trip was paid for by SKF, a swedish company that sponsors the Gothia Cup.

“We thank SKF from the bottom of our hearts for the work they do and the support they provide,” Jackson said. “It’s amazing what they do.”

Check out the team’s blog which was updated frequently during the trip to Sweden. 

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