Daniel returns from Gothenburg a new footballer | Today

Robby Fletcher, sportswriter

Sitting on a six-hour flight to Gothenburg, Sweden, Fischer Daniel couldn’t sleep.

It was his first time on a plane and Fischer, one of Powhatan’s fastest rising football stars, didn’t feel comfortable on the ride more than 30,000 feet in the air. Fischer’s first flight was a special occasion, after the rising elder was invited to play with Champions League club side CCL United in the Gothia Cup, the biggest international football tournament for young people in the world which brings together around 1,600 clubs from 80 nations to compete. in Sweden at the Kviberg Center.

Once the plane landed and Fischer was on the ground for the first time, he felt that even in a country more than 4,000 miles from his home in Powhatan, he was on familiar territory. His performance in the tournament is proof of that.

“It was worth it,” he said.

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Competing with clubs around the world on a stage that showcased top talent and styles of play even he had never encountered before, Fischer dominated on the big stage, earning his team MVP honors with four goals and an assist in four games played in the tournament.

“It was amazing, I was really nervous to go there, and honestly you think everyone is going to be so good and once there I thought to myself to just have fun you are here now,” he said.

Fischer and CCL United faced two clubs from England and two from Sweden during the tournament, while also having the opportunity to train with Swedish club Malmo, take part in a camp in Denmark and attend several matches from Ghana’s U17 Right to Dream football academy, which Fischer says opened his eyes to the professionalism and talent of a club in his age group and how much work he has to do with his own Game.

“It opened my eyes to the fact that I have to work harder honestly,” he said. “They looked like professionals at 17. Watching them get my age and play at the level that they play is like, okay, I still have work to do.”

Outside of the game, Fischer was also able to tour Copenhagen, visit Amalienborg Palace and the Changing of the Guards and also try what he considers to be the best burger he has ever had on a small island just off Gothenburg. . He also experienced a new kind of football culture, seeing thousands of Swedes fill the pitches of the Kviberg Center for the tournament.

“I have never seen a group or a community be so immersed in a sporting event. Everything there was to do with this mug; everyone was talking about football or going to matches.

There were a lot of unexpected moments for Fischer entering the tournament, but one thing that certainly lived up to his expectations was the playing styles of the international clubs he had to play. English clubs played more methodical, slow-paced styles that relied on long balls to win the possession game, while Swedish clubs were quicker and moved the ball with a more tiki-taka passing style that played the short pitch rather than long.

He’s also heard his fair share of trash talk, particularly against English clubs.

The first English club CCL United faced, Swindon Town, presented a unique challenge for Fischer and his teammates.

The club brought a strong fan presence which featured an atmosphere of chants and insults, as the players on the pitch played mind games with constant chatter aimed at their opponent.

“I thought going into the tournament there would be a positive atmosphere with teams wanting to go out there and just play football and have fun, but the first English team we played, their centre-back was in my ear the whole game.”

Fischer fed off that energy, scoring the opening goal with a chip from the keeper. As he passed the section of rival fans, he silenced the crowd with his collective jeers and anti-opponent chants and scored a target on his back in the process.

Just five minutes after his goal opened the game, Swindon Town were awarded a penalty after a foul in the box, and the resulting goal led to the goalscorer copying Fischer’s own celebration. After that, Fischer did not leave the game, telling his coach that no one is stealing his celebration. The motivated Powhatan star scored his second goal later as a fightback, helping propel his side to their second straight win, 3-1.

“It was definitely a test to see how strong you were mentally because you were constantly having them hit you from the touchline. It was strong, you could feel it in your chest, but it was just motivation. for me to shut them up, and that was just the greatest feeling ever.

After all the back and forth and tension in the game, Fischer was awarded a mini football by the Swindon Town coaching staff as a mark of respect from the opposition for being man of the match .

“It was a cool cultural thing to see, I’ve never seen that happen while playing at the club,” he said.

After drawing 2-2 with a Swedish club in the following match, a game which saw Fischer add a goal and an assist, CCL United faced LPA Academy, against whom they lost in a session of penalty kicks after neither team was able to score in regulation time.

If playing Swindon Town was a tough first chore of increasing garbage physics and language, then LPA Academy was the final exam.

The game was an introduction to new insults and defensive strategies that would eventually result in an immediate red card in a typical VHSL game. The Brexit Tackle, for example, was a fitting introduction to Fischer, the phrase referring to a sliding tackle that aims to knock out a player rather than play with the ball.

“I still have bruises on my shins from them,” he said.

Fischer also learned a colorful new language that aimed his way, with LPA athletes referring to him as a munter, a slang word used to describe someone as unattractive.

The insults did not stop at the final whistle. LPA players also sent messages and videos to Fischer and his teammates on Instagram with more colorful language. Rather than feed, he simply took those messages to his coach, let the tournament organizers deal with it, and continued to focus on his own game.

“We have to be the biggest, we are here to play football, not to fight bad guys,” he said.

Although it ended in a tough loss, Fischer didn’t let that result affect the points he took from the tournament.

He says he has learned to take a more humble approach to the game and that with such a high level of talent, taking a second to relax and celebrate could lead to a mistake or a moment of weakness that a talented team could to profit from.

“Our coach told us that the game will humble you so quickly there. As soon as you think you have that, it can change so quickly,” he said.

Even thinking back to his own celebration used against him against Swindon Town, Fischer received a true in-game example of that message his coaches preached.

“Having this happen to me is what really showed me that I have to be humble and work in silence,” he said.

Coming back from the Gothia Cup, Fischer returns to Powhatan rejuvenated and confident, having proven to himself that he can compete with anyone and raise his own level of play against teams around the world who had challenged him with a way he had never known before. .

Even though he didn’t sleep on that first flight to Gothenburg, he can be assured now that he took on a new challenge head-on and came back a better athlete. “It was everything I could have wished for from the trip.”