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11aside35

Sassco's 11-a-side team sprung into action in 2002, developed from a set of players from the different 6-a-side teams, who were playing in the Sassco Leagues since 1999.

The team never really achieved a great deal in terms of silverware, coming close in a final in their second season. However, the events undertaken by Sassco far surpass any other teams in their generation. Pioneering Adidas team kits from overseas, recording 11-a-side games in widescreen, customised soccer balls developed in Asia, overseas football tours and prestigious friendlies against Northern League teams and teams from outside their own leagues.

The team is still active and recently played at the Stadium of Light, as well as regular friendly games against local opponents. For one of their most recent games, five players from the original line up back in 2002 were present.

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Sassco 11-a-side is taking part in the O35 League played at Durham FA, on a Saturday morning, during the Summer months. The games are 50 minutes, so the match-day squad will only consist of 11 players.

This is Sassco's first competitive return to 11-a-side since 2010. 

The second tour was the biggest to date, and this time we had substitutes (for a few hours).

After Malta in 2008, it was a case of "that's it, we've done it!" and then back to normality. But it wasn't long before the players started to ask about the next location. So, Portugal was chosen, with easy, direct flights and a full squad. This time, we managed to get a draw, a win and a loss.

 

After many cold afternoons struggling in the conditions, Sassco's idea of a mid-season break overseas finally came to fruition with a weekend tour to Malta.

Despite a few failed starts, including a week tour planned to the USA in 2006 (too expensive), then an aborted trip to Cyprus in 2007 (not enough players), the venue for 2008 was chosen as a weekend tour. Eventually, we have 12 who put down the money in the self-funded tour and once we stepped on to the pitch at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, two hours after we landed, the first of many tours started.

 

The recession hit (thanks you c**t bankers), so the tour was all but abandoned, but a late change meant we were back to where we started: Small sided games.

An 11-a-side tour was planned to the southern regions of Spain, but one-by-one, most dropped out and eventually we revitalised it as a 5-a-side tour and managed a marathon set of four games in three days around Barcelona.

Venice was the venue for a very successful tour, which saw all the games being played at our own hotel, but even then, we managed to be late for a game.

Highlights of the tour included Tim's mission to find St. Marks Square, before David Gourlay got walloped in the mush with a hard futsal ball and spent the rest of the tour in a bad mood. The tour was one of the most relaxing ones in comparison to the Spain one. Two days and two sets of games on each.

 

One of the best tours to date saw two defeats, despite a large squad.

The wonderful city of Dusseldorf hosted the Sassco team, as they suffered a defeat in "cageball" soccer and then another defeat in futsal. Despite this, the venues were great, the hotel was superb and Germans were wonderful.

 

A good set of games, but a disappointing hotel, which, to be honest, was a dive in front of a sex shop (which was the only good thing).

An game of volleyball and then one of the most picturesque venues Sassco have ever played in, saw a long range strike on goal from Ed Cook and the first ever games recorded in HD. Unfortunately, David Gourlay, messing around with his Samsung Galaxy on the train; lost it and spoiled the tour.

Usa Team 2015

Technically it was still a tour.

Originally, it was a late honeymoon, but Gourlay and Dixon tagged along with Sangha (all in separate hotels and flight times) before meeting up in the Lower East Side, under the Williamsburg Bridge. Then with a few additions, took on and defeated Alphabet City SC in iconic surroundings.

Switzerland Tour 2016The country which invented the cuckoo clock and shady banking hosted Sassco in 2016. It was in Geneva, Switzerland!

Sassco took on FC Semailles in an opening futsal game, before taking part in a specially prepared tournament, the following day, finishing a close second against three local opponents. The games took place on Friday 3rd June 2016 and Saturday 4th June 2016. 

A fantastic tour saw the team suffer an opening defeat at the DBU headquarters, before storming back in the remaining three games to take the wins.

The hotel was excellent, the opponents were amazingly accommodating, which included a barbecue on the beach and free tickets for a Copenhagen game.

13982247 1770297223245776 67664888 NAurora Borealis and volcanoes - and we're not talking about what happens to Dave G after a few drinks!

Sassco will be heading North to Iceland in 2017. The Nordic island country lies between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. It only has a population of 329,000, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital (and our location) is Reykjavík.

The opponents have been sourced: Breiðablik UBK and FC Sækó.

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It's Israel in 2018. We'll be taking a bunch of non-believers to the Holy Land, where, hopefully, with an epiphany, they will manage to secure at least three points in the series of games.

The venue is Tel Aviv, where we will be taking part against opponents: Soccer Stars, Issta Sports and Milan Club Israel, sourced by the resourceful Elad Levin, who is also going to be arranging a Beach Footvolley game for us as well. 

The five players travelling on the 8th March will be David Gourlay, Chris Dixon, Tim Gillespie, Davinder Sangha and debutante, Dan Smith. So, while Israel conquered the Middle-East in six days, I expect Dave Gourlay to do it in four.

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