38th International Small-Pitch Soccer Tournament in Brunssum

“Stronger Together”: Thrilling matches for good causes


The 38th International Small-Pitch Soccer Tournament, which was held on the NATO Sports Fields on 23rd and 24th August, was entirely dedicated to the motto “Stronger Together”; a motto adopted from the commanding general of the NATO Joint Forces Headquarters (JFCBS), Riccardo Marchiò (Italy), who had also delivered this motto for his term of office in Brunssum and who was, at the same time, the patron of the event. A total of 57 teams with more than 500 players from 21 nations played soccer in four competitions with the purpose of winning the coveted challenge cup of the biggest military soccer tournament in Europe. They all let the ball roll for good causes.


In his opening speech, Marchiò encouraged the military and civilian teams representing their nations to play just as successfully and fairly as the professional national teams.

Referring to the last FIFA World Championship, he could not help making one or two funny comments and was satisfied, for example, by the fact that Italy had at least “qualified” for his tournament. At the same time, he pointed at the fact that the matches themselves were just one aspect of the tournament and the vehicle for the real meaning and intention of the event, which was promoting social interaction, team spirit, mutual support as well as respect, tolerance and sportsmanship. After having expressed his wish for a fair and injury-free course, he officially opened the tournament.


17 teams of the Headquarters, other NATO institutions and authorities from the Brunssum region played for the “Delegations’ Cup”. The matches were played in two groups. The weather was nice and the quality of the matches was not at all influenced by the long lasting drought and the hence not optimal pitch conditions.

After the preliminary round, the United Kingdom Football Club (UKFC) as well as the teams of the 11th Federal Police, Aachen, 2 Medical Regiment “Westerwald” and the Multinational Corps Northeast from Szczecin, Poland, got first and second places in their corresponding groups and hence qualified for the semi-finals.

All other teams’ final positions were determined directly by means of play-offs.

With a 4:1 against the Szczecin team and a 2:0 against the UK team (which will hence not see football come home before next year), the Police and the
“Medics” paved themselves the way to the finals.

In the small final, the team with the longest journey was able to dominate against UKFC by 2:1.

In a high-class and thrilling final, which, in contrast to last year, ran fair and without any incidents, 2 Medical Regiment managed to quickly take the lead, which could be leveled after the Aachen law enforcers had started to get a better grip on the match. No goals were scored during the official time or in the 2x4 minutes extra time. Therefore, the winner of the game needed to be determined by means of a 9-meters penalty shootout. In the end, the Westerwald team had the luckier hand and sealed the tournament victory with a 3:2.


The very same day, 6 teams competed in the “Ladies’ Cup”. After the welcome address by the Head of the German Delegation, Colonel Klaus W. BÜCKLEIN, and after a goal-laden preliminary round in the play-offs, the team of the Bundeswehr University, Hamburg, the Aachen soccer players as well as the usual suspects, the Brunssum Allstars and the Erfurt Lady Snipers, who earned the highest ever victory in the Ladies’ Cup with a 7:0 win against the RKSV Groene Star, qualified for the semi-finals.

The Allstars won a quite narrow victory over the students from Hamburg by 1:0; the Thuringian Lady Snipers won their match against “Rasenverdichter” by a well-deserved 2:0 and also moved through to the final, which meant that the final was played by the very same teams as in the previous year.



The Snipers came to painfully realize that, just as the old soccer wisdom states, a match is 90 minutes long (well, 12, in this case) - or, in other words, that a match is only over when the referee, in this instance Walter Eschweiler, who once again enriched the tournament, blows the final whistle. Even though everything hinted at a victory of the Erfurt players in the final, who had the lead with 2:0 until shortly before the end of the match, the Aachen team had worked their way back into the match, managed to catch up with a wonderful headed goal and to then level just before the end of the regular time – luckily but well-deserved in the end, given the play ratio and the well-prepared goal scoring opportunities. Due to the fact that no further goals were scored during extra time, the winner also had to be determined by means of a 9-meters penalty shootout. The Brunssum Allstars dominated by 3:1 and hence were not only able to defend the Cup but to also keep it, as they had won it the third time in a row.

The team from Hamburg got third place, having dominated the match against “Rasenverdichter” by 2:1. Still, “Rasenverdichter” did not have to leave the tournament with empty hands – they won the fairness trophy.


In between the two finals, another match was played for the third time in history: the NATO HQ vs. the Municipality of Brunssum. After the Brunssum Municipality team had won the first match by 2:0, which had then been conducted for the first time on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of NATO in Brunssum in June 2017, the trophy had been taken back by the HQ soldiers at last year’s GNT tournament after a 3:2 victory.

The Brunssum players, usually well-known and valued for their hospitality, did not have any presents to distribute on the pitch at all. Under the direction of the German referee legend Walter Eschweiler, they instead wiped the HQ soldiers once again off the pitch, within 2x12 minutes, by a phenomenal 9:2.

Next year will bring a repeat of this encounter. That means there is enough time for the HQ team to prepare so they can make up for the “Humiliation on Slag Heap” to make it fade into oblivion.

With all matches having been played and the winners identified, Colonel Klaus Bücklein emphasized the traditional charity character of the event right in the beginning of the award ceremony; in the presence of all participating teams, in a worthy setting hence, he handed over two donations. This year, the proceeds of the event were donated to the Kerkrade working group of Basissport Limburg, an organization that organizes and carries out sports and fun activities for mentally and otherwise multiply disabled people. Additionally, an HQ member, whose daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia last year, was supported financially.

In order to make a contribution to the battle against cancer, the ‘Stefan-Morsch-Stiftung’ promoted the donation of voluntary tissue samples in their information booth while the matches were running. The foundation, being the oldest stem cell donors’ database within Germany, operates under the motto “Hope – Help – Heal” and at the end of the day, they were quite successful.

Right on time for the award ceremony, DJ Carsten, Master Sergeant Carsten Wandelt, took over and succeeded, just like in previous years, in keeping the mood high - together with the “Stubebuben”.  Accompanied by classics and party music, victory celebrations (with one or two drinks) went on until the early morning hours.


After a strengthening breakfast on Friday, the winners of the “Oldies’ Cup” and the “Youngsters’ Cup” were identified simultaneously.

21 teams competed in the “Oldies’ Cup”, playing in four groups.

It became apparent in the preliminary round of the Oldies’ Cup already that the team of the Bundeswehr Careers Center and Team 383 (IT Bn) from Erfurt, who both remained with a clean sheet in the preliminary round, should play a decisive role in the further course of the tournament. The SC Stuttgart team, on the contrary, presented another way of reaching the quarter finals: four goals were enough for the Americans to be among the last eight. Only the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Personnel Management was even more efficient with just three scored goals being sufficient for the quarter finals. Last year’s finalist, 51 Tactical Air Force Squad “Immelmann” from Kropp/Jagel, also made it to this intermediate round.
In the quarter finals, the Careers Center, the “Immelmen”, the Soccer NCOs from Daun as well as Team 383 dominated and thus qualified for the semi-finals, in which the IT players won by 4:2 against the Careers Center and the Soccer NCOs by 2:0 against the 51s.


With a contested 3:2 victory, 51 Tactical Air Force Squad dominated against the Careers Center in the small final. In the last but one final of the tournament, the Daun team ensured that the tournament win was theirs by a 1:0 victory. The result, however, did not reflect the course of the match, which was fast-paced and rich in variety. Both teams just failed to convert numerous (and partly golden) goal scoring opportunities as goals were prevented over and over again by excellent goalkeepers.


In the “Youngsters’ Cup”, 13 teams competed in two groups for the ultimate victory. In the groups phase, Lazio Koma, the Soccer NCOs from Daun, who were also represented in this Cup, 36 Attack Helicopter Regiment from Fritzlar and last year’s Cup winner, the Bundeswehr University, Hamburg, made sure they would participate in the semi-finals.


In the semi-finals, the teams from Hamburg and Fritzlar highlighted their ambitions to win the Cup and dominated by a well-deserved 3:2 against the Soccer NCOs, and by 2:0 against Lazio Koma, respectively. The match for the third place could be won by Lazio Koma by a 3:1, which was not once endangered throughout the whole game. In the final, the officers from Hamburg got to know what a “Hub- Hub- Hubschraubereinsatz” feels like and faced a surprisingly clear 1:4 defeat against the Hesse team, which also provided the tournament’s top scorer.


After those two tournament days, the organizers were satisfied and regarded the event a great success.

The official tournament hymn “Brunssum ist nur einmal im Jahr” shall be sung once again; the dates have already been set.

Hence, on 22nd August 2019, the Delegations’ and Ladies’ Cup will be played, followed by the matches for the ‘Oldies’ and ‘Youngsters’ on 23rd August.

As usual, a colorful supporting program will also be provided. Participation in the tournament is open to all interested teams.
The organizers’ goal is to hit the mark of 60 participating teams and hence see this year’s positive trend continue.


Further information as well as tournament pictures can be found on


Questions and remarks are to be directed to LtCol Markus Homberg, +31 (0)45-526 4205, markus.homberg@jfcbs.nato.int.oder or DtDelNLDGNT@bundeswehr.org.


Final Rankings


Delegations’ Cup

1. 2 Medical Regiment  “Westerwald”

2. Federal Police, Aachen

3. Multinational Corps Northeast, Szczecin


Ladies’ Cup

1. Brunssum Allstars

2. Lady Snipers Erfurt

3. Bundeswehr University, Hamburg


Youngsters’ Cup

1. 36 Attack Helicopter Regiment, Fritzlar

2. Bundeswehr University, Hamburg

3. Lazio Koma


Oldies’ Cup

1. Soccer NCOs, Daun

2. Team 383,

3. 51 Tactical Air Force Squad “Immelmann”

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