SCU girls enjoy competitive friendly against soccer team from Denmark


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Space Coast United's Ollie Anderson (left) battles for control of the ball against Anna Krog of Denmark during a friendly that took place Monday night at Holy Trinity.

VIERA VOICE carl Kotala

It will go down, technically, as a preseason game.

But it was so much more than that.

The Space Coast United U16 travel team took the field at Holy Trinity Monday night to take on a team from Denmark in a friendly that was competitive, entertaining and educational all in one.

The team from Næsby Boldklub in Odense – which featured two players from Denmark’s U15 national team -- would come away with a 1-0 victory over Space Coast United. But it was certainly a night where neither team came away disappointed.

“I had no idea what to expect coming in,” Space Coast United coach Cal Dixon said. “We didn’t know much about them at all. We just knew they were in town and they wanted to play a game.

“We had six players missing, but we filled players into positions and had new players starting the game, and I thought we played really well. It ended up being a really good preseason game for us, for our fitness, and for competitiveness. They were a really competitive team.

“It was a good experience for us and it will only help us going into the season.”

It was just a month earlier that Space Coast United coach Taylor Pitts led a group of 18 players – 13 boys and five girls – to visit Næsby Boldklub in Odense. The SCU players stayed with host families and got to learn a little bit about Danish culture while also getting in plenty of time on the field.

This time, it was Space Coast United’s chance to play host.

The team from Denmark got a chance to visit Universal Studios, do a little shopping at some outlet stores and also put on a clinic in Port St. John as part of their trip to the United States.

“It’s been wonderful,” Næsby Boldklub coach Rene Lindharth said. “You Americans are so nice. We’re enjoying ourselves. The kids are enjoying themselves, and their families. They’re staying privately here (with SCU families). They love it.”

As for the game itself, players from Space Coast United said they got a lot out of it.

“I thought it was really cool, and a great experience,” Savannah Oxley said. “They play a completely different style from us, a much quicker style. I liked it a lot. I think I got a lot from it, knowing later on, in college, what the competition is going to be like because we’re going to play international (teams) as well.”

And, as Oxley pointed out, she also got to learn a few words in Danish.

Another SCU player, Piper McHenry, was pleased with the way the team was able to pick up its game – especially in the second half – despite not having a lot of time to practice together.

While both teams certainly played to win, both coaches were looked at the matchup as a chance to continue their team’s development. And in that regard, both felt like they came out winners.

“It’s brilliant,” Lindharth said. “We played a really good game today against a very good team. … Of course, what’s most important is all the friendships you’re having here and creating.”

“They’re here to learn, to get friendships, and to develop. Actually, I didn’t care if we were winning or losing. The most important thing was for learning and developing.”

Dixon also liked the fact that his team got a chance to face a pair of national team players in goalkeeper Louise Braun and central midfielder Thilde Bisgaard.

“It’s a really good experience for them,” Dixon said. “It’s a chance for our girls to see what kind of level a national player is. … To compete against that and to do as well as we did in our first game of preseason, it can only help us.

“If we can do that every summer, that’s something I’d love to do because it was really good for us.”