„The AS Progress 1999 Team represented Poland during this year’s Nike Premier Cup European Championship. The tournament attracted recognised names, notably Feyenoord Rotterdam, Sparta Prague, and Austria Vienna. After last year’s victory in the Polish Championship, the 15–year-olds from AS Progress had their first opportunity to participate in such an important event.
The European Championships started in Vienna on 1st May. On the first day of the play-off, our team got to know their rivals in the group phase. The European Finals of the Nike Premier Cup are the so-called European Club Championships. The participants were 20 teams who had won their national championships and qualification for the World Championships was at stake.
In the group phase, our team played against Dynamo Moscow (Russia), Malmo FF (Sweden), NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac (Croatia), and Stabaek Fotball (Norway) and came third. In the following phase of the play-off, they won with FC Espoo from Finland, and in the last match, in which the ninth position in the ranking was at stake, they lost 3:4 in penalty kicks to OFK Belgrad. The Progress Academy of Sport team finished their participation in the 14th Nike Premier Cup ranking 10th, with two matches won, two drawn, and two lost.
“The AS Progress 1999 Team worked very hard during training sessions to present their utmost skill in the championships. Our intention was to play the best football we could. I believe in this team because it has vast potential, and if we use it, we will be successful”, said Grzegorz Dąbrowski, the coach of AS Progress 1999 “When we were going to the Polish Cup, we wanted to play the best we could, and we never intended to rank at a specific place. Yet when we left the group, we believed that we could reach for the championship, and we did”, he smiles.
In the last days preceding the games in Vienna, the footballers focused on fitness training and developing tactics. One of the most important elements was the atmosphere in the team, which is certainly commendable: the AS Progress football team are an integrated and tightly knit team.
The AS Progress 1999 Team participated in the European Cup thanks to last year’s success in the national round of the Nike Premier Cup. The students of the Jerzy Dudek Football Academy were very successful, which gave them the exceptional opportunity to represent Poland in the international games.
The winner of the tournament was Dynamo Moscow, AS Progress’s rival in the group phase, who beat Feyenord Rotterdam 1:0 in the finals. The third place was claimed by Sturm Graz after winning 1:0 against Malmo FF.