Tournament triumph for talented Perse footballer
Lynden Long (Year 7) led Norwich City’s U12 team to glory against some of the biggest clubs in football at a major end-of-season tournament.
As well as captaining the Canaries to the YSE Champions Cup title, Lynden was top scorer for his side with six goals in the six-a-side competition in London, which featured age group teams from top European clubs such as Barcelona, Juventus and Marseille.
Norwich finished second in their pool of eight teams, which included sides from as far afield as Namibia and Hong Kong, on goal difference behind Coventry City.
They were handed the tough assignment of taking on Spanish giants Barcelona, who have one of the world’s leading youth academies, in the quarter-final.
The match went to penalties after a goalless draw, with Lynden scoring his spot kick. However, with the teams still level after three penalties each, the shootout went to sudden death with Norwich squeezing through.
He said: “As captain, I gave a talk before the game and just said ‘they’re just boys our own age, so let’s put everything out there’. A lot of parents couldn’t watch the shootout, but there were great scenes at the end when we won.”
They met Cambridge United in the semi-finals, with Lynden scoring the only goal against his former club in a 1-0 win.
The victory set up a final against Birmingham City, with Norwich prevailing 1-0 with a late free kick.
A delighted Lynden said: “While we were playing our semi-final, the (Norwich) U10s won their competition, so we were thinking ‘it’s us next and we’ve got to do the same as they did’.
“Birmingham were a good side and had won pretty much every single game right from the group stage, but we managed to win.
“It was a brilliant experience and a really good achievement for us, but it was a real team effort.”