Melbourne Soccer squad brings home silver

September 16 / 186

Before the match between Melbourne and Tsinghua. Photo: Melbourne University Sport
Before the match between Melbourne and Tsinghua. Photo: Melbourne University Sport

Last month the University of Melbourne soccer team came second in the inaugural World Elite University Football Tournament (WEUFT) hosted by Tsinghua University in China. 

The University team made up of 17 student-athletes did not concede a single goal until the championship match, which was played against Renmin University in Beijing.  

It was a close game but at the end of half time, Melbourne was behind 1-2. A few near misses during extra time prevented Melbourne from equalising the score line.

“We played a good brand of football across the week,” said University coach Tom Mullumby. “It was a bit disappointing at the end, but whenever you make a final it’s a good result.”

Paul Scopelliti (Bachelor of Environments) and William Ellis (Bachelor of Science) were the top goal scorers for Melbourne with four goals apiece during the tournament.

The week-long international tournament saw eight universities including Cambridge University, Oxford University and the National University of Singapore competing in the spirit of global cooperation and cultural exchange. 

“It was an eye opening experience to see how differently other universities managed club and university football,” Mr Mullumby said.

The University shares an academic partnership with Tsinghua University dating back to 1995, which is intended to foster research collaboration, exchange programs and summer schools. This friendly tournament was the first sporting venture between the two universities.

“Sport often provides opportunities to connect to a competitive, yet friendly environment to foster relationships and shared interests,” said Sport Development Manager Rod Warnecke. 

“This tournament aims to further foster relationships between the competing Universities, and will hopefully have an impact on Chinese students looking to study in Australia with Melbourne being their preferred university,” he said.

Together with student guides from Tsinghua University, the Melbourne team also visited the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, and shared local food with the other visiting teams.

Story by Gillian Aeria

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