LEIDEN, Netherlands – Webster soccer teams from three European campuses met in Leiden on Apr. 8 for the 14th annual international soccer tournament. After 10, 15-minute elimination games and two semi-final match ups, Leiden “Team 1” defeated Geneva “Team 2” 2-0.
The five-team event brought two squads from Geneva and one from the Vienna campuses to meet two Leiden teams.
The first match between the finalist Geneva and Leiden squads ended in a 1-1 tie. Geneva struck first on a penalty kick that was finally answered by media communications major and tournament MVP Marco Bocutti with 6:15 left in the round.
“Even though Geneva is Webster and they’re still Gorloks, we wanted to keep the trophy in our town,” Bocutti said. “So it was time to show them.”
In the following game, Vienna controlled the flow from midfield and shutout Leiden “Team 2” 5-0. An hour later, finalists Geneva “Team 1” shutout the tournament newcomers 3-0 in the last game of the eliminations leaving only Leiden “Team 1” to advance to the semi-finals.
Media communications sophomore Kaj van der Lubbe said the “Team 2” Leiden squad, if they stick together, could benefit from the all-around involvement that comes from playing together year-after-year.
“This is my first time playing in this one,” van der Lubbe said. “These Leiden 1 players are a huge group of friends, they know each other’s limits and strong points from playing together for so long.”
Frans Brand is the coach of Leiden “Team 1” and teaches at the American School of The Hague. After some recent alumni came to Webster, Brand was asked by Leiden “Team 1” player Hugo Duphorn to consider coaching the squad in 2017.
“We knew the philosophy we wanted – the guys wanted one team and a ‘best of the rest,’” Brand said. “And it worked.”
The semi-final rounds were two 10 minute periods split with a five-minute break. Leiden 1 was coming in at 3-0-1 to meet the first of the Geneva teams, Geneva “Team 1”, at 1-0-3 in the first semi-final match.
Leiden 1 kept the ball past the halfway line into Geneva 1 territory for most of the first half. Geneva 1 set the scoring off with 30 sec. remaining in play off a penalty kick. The second half was all Bocutti as striker, scoring at 9:30 and 13:16. Leiden 1 advanced to the final.
Bocutti learned and honed his skills in Italy. Before coming to Webster, he was a paid player collecting a few-hundred euros a month in the Promozzione league.
“But we had a coach who really put in his time and work to get us to a point where we were ready,” Bocutti said.
Geneva “Team 2” (2-1-1) was waiting on Leiden 1 after eliminating the sole Vienna squad from the tournament, 1-0.
Once again, the Leiden 1 midfield kept the ball close to the Geneva goal. Bocutti kept up the attack, but the team scored the goals. Tournament veteran Daniel Frankel was first at 12:30 with another by Ahmed Jimmy Gamil at 2:37.
Leiden 1 won the tournament with no losses and one tie. Leiden players remembered the loss of the Webster Cup two years ago at the hands of a similar Geneva team.
“Leiden really wanted to keep the trophy here,” Brand said.
The coach had both teams outdoors on turf at nearby Docos soccer fields in Leiden on Sundays since late January. The Webster tournament is the only action the squads will see as a cohesive group.
“They’re all talking about maybe we should enter a Dutch league, or the university league. They have indoor futsal,” Brand said.
Futsal is a variant of soccer played indoors on a smaller, harder pitch than the turf the Leiden teams were working at practice. The Webster tournament this year was also indoors and Brand noticed how adept the players in Austria were on the hard pitch.
“Vienna impressed me,” Brand said. “They played good futsal.”