At Outside of the Boot, we’re all up for promoting grassroots football and in this article, we present you with the Mediterranean International Cup (MIC), a project aimed at promoting the world’s most famous sport amongst the youth of Europe.
When you ask someone in the region of Girona-Costa Brava, an area in the North East of Spain in Catalonia located 100 km north of Barcelona, and you ask for MIC, everyone knows what we are talking about. MIC stands for Mediterranean International Cup, a youth football competition project which has become a model within the youth football events industry.
MIC 15 has been the 15th edition of one of the most well-known grassroots football tournaments in Europe and probably in the world. We can honestly say that for many reasons: the logistics, the facilities, the venues, quality of the teams taking part in the competition, the organizers and above all, the spirit and values of this amazing event.
We could start from scratch and explain how all get started but the fact is that since then, the tournament created by Josep Colomer and currently managed by MIC Sport Services director Juanjo Rovira, has grown so quickly. Now it is an event where more than 200 people in the organization committee do an excellent coordinated work being able to move around the Girona –Costa Brava region more than 5000 people between teams, delegates, scouts, coaches and families within 5 days during the Easter break facilitating children and their respective teams to come along and join.
This year the competition took place from the 31st March to the 5th of April. During the week more than 600 games were played, hosting more than 200 teams from 34 different countries. As you can imagine the scale of an event like this produces great profits and MIC is not an exception generating an economical impact of 3.5 million of Euros. It is not surprising to see how the Girona-Costa Brava council has recently renewed its contact with Mic Sports Services, the organizer’s company until 2019 in order to keep celebrating this tournament in this gorgeous location where the sun always shines and with so many things to do such as cultural visits, aquatic activities, coastal path walks, swimming in their beautiful beaches, spa treatments, cuisine tours…
Probably attracted for all the activities mentioned above and also for the quality of the teams taking part in the competition we could spot some former international players like ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher or Fran González also known as “Fran” from Deportivo de la Coruña following their sons playing at Liverpool FC and FC Barcelona respectively.
Regarding the competition there are 5 different categories A Class, B Class, C Class, D Class and E Class which correspond to U19,U16, U14, U12 and U12 seven a side respectively.
In the E Class Final, Espanyol, who previously knocked out Manchester City (5-0) in the semi-finals, beat Valencia (3-2). In D Class’ Final also played on Saturday, a mini Clásico took place and Real Madrid narrowly defeated FC Barcelona (1-0). The merengues also won against Manchester United in the semi-finals (1-0).
On the last day of the competition unexpected Spanish finalist Alboraya UD played Aspire Football Dreams losing (1-2) in B Class’ Final. This was the 4th title in a row for the Senegalese team in this category and the 10th for Aspire Football Dreams in MIC’s history. The second final of the day was the C Class which saw another very intense Clasico where on this occasion FC Barcelona beat Real Madrid (4-2).
Last but not least, the A class’ Final was an all Spanish affair between Malaga CF and Atlético Madrid, where more than 5000 people who attended on the day saw the Andalucians winning (2-1) and obtaining the title for second year in a row in this category.
Also this year G Class, the girls’ tournament, was organized again after being out of MIC for a while, seeing 8 locals teams taking part in the competition. Spanish side CD Oberena were the winners.
One of the most important things for MIC is to use football as a way to understand life through its values. Some examples where observed during the competition. One of them was indirectly carried out by Dario Poveda an A Class Villareal FC player who after the game against Uganda’s side Nsambya Young Stars, who came for first time at MIC, gave to one of his opponents his football boots. In MIC there are little stories like these every day, some of them very curious and some very emotional. These stories and gestures are what make MIC more than a simple grassroots football competition.
As part of these values and for third year in a row a competition named MIC Integra a tournament aimed for people with intellectual disabilities took place as well during MIC 2015. FC Barcelona player Gerard Piqué was its ambassador and the competition welcomed 16 teams.
As you can see the Mediterranean International Cup is not a conventional youth football tournament and this is probably why its success has not reached a limit yet and this is probably because Juanjo Rovira and his crew keep promoting football and its values around the world and we hope they will be doing so for many more years.
Find next details of the best players in every single category:
A Class awards (U19’s)
Best Goalkeeper – Coca-Cola trophy: Guillermo Pérez (Atlètic de Madrid)
Best Player – CaixaBank trophy: Pablo Fornals (Màlaga CF)
B Class awards (U16’s)
Best Goalkeeper – Coca-Cola trophy: Abdul Manaf (Aspire Football Dreams)
Best Player – CaixaBank trophy: Alejandro Pozo (Sevilla FC)
C Class’ awards (U14’s)
Best Goalkeeper – Coca-Cola trophy: Alejandro Herrero (Real Madrid CF)
Best Player – CaixaBank trophy: Ismael Quattara Dao (Aspire Football Dreams)
D Class Awards (U12’s eleven a side)
Best Goalkeeper – Coca-Cola trophy: Samuel Alarcón (Real Madrid CF)
Best Player – CaixaBank trophy: Xavi Quentin Shay Simons (FC Barcelona)
E Class (U12’s seven a side)
Best Goalkeeper – Coca-Cola trophy: Xavier Llompart (PSTC Londrina, China)
Best Player – CaixaBank trophy: Pol Cuatrecases (RCD Espanyol)
G Class (Girls’ tournament)
Best Goalkeeper – Coca-Cola trophy: Vero Gene Navarrete (Factory Players)
Best Player – CaixaBank trophy: Júlia Vila (UE Cabanes)
Danone’s “Fair play” awards
This award was given to A class’ Villareal CF and Real Madrid Academy, Dallas (not related to the Spanish capital side) as they gave away some football equipment to first time participants Nsambya Young Stars Academy from Uganda.
All images have been used with permission from the MIC Media Team.