Cardiff City competed with Bayern Munich, LA Galaxy, PSV Eindhoven and Newcastle United during the 2019 JEJU International Cup in South Korea.
City earned four points in their group, beating Korean team Busan IPark 2-1 before slipping to a 3-2 defeat against Japanese club Kashima Antlers 3-1.
The brave Bluebirds then fought back from 3-1 down against Borussia Dortmund to finish second in their group and make progress,
Cardiff and the Geordies were the only British clubs involved in the under-15 competition. Many of the young Bluebirds squad were playing in their first international tournament.
“It was a fantastic experience for our players,” said coach Dane Facey. “From the Academy’s perspective this is the first time that we have ever gone internationally for a tour.
“To gain that experience and have the opportunity to play on a World stage was fantastic. The tournament included teams from the Americas, Japan and across Asia plus those who compete across Europe such as Borussia Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven.
“This was a tournament on a far larger scale than we had ever done before.
“Out of the 16 players who travelled, 13 had not had the experience of travelling so far.”
The youth tournament was held on Jeju Island which lies in the Korea Strait off the south coast.
City’s opening match was against Busan IPark and they defeated the Korean side 2-1. Cian Ashford scored twice against Busan, helping City recover from a goal down to win 2-1.
The next match was against Japan’s Kashima Antlers and James Crole scored twice for City, but the Welsh team slipped to a 3-2 defeat.
City set off to a superb start against Borussia Dortmund when Crole scored and the Bluebirds led 1-0 at half-time.
The German team powered into a 3-1 lead, but City showed great grit and determination to fight back.
Ashford netted twice to earn Cardiff a hard fought 3-3 draw.
“We are really proud of the way the players performed,” said Facey. “While we didn’t win every game there were certainly some massive learning moments that helped the players in their development.
“The exhaustion, heat, back-to-back games and quality of the opposition led to a hugely beneficial experience for the players.
“This is the best experience that we’ve ever been able to give our players that would be the closest to a major tournament for a footballer.
“This experience has been invaluable.”