By Bob San
Osseo-Maple Grove Press Sports
Twenty nine members of the MapleBrook U14 & U16 C1 boys’ soccer teams are in the midst of a massive fund raising project to help cover the cost of a planned 11-day trip to Italy in June.
The teams will compete in the Italia Cup as well as play in friendlies and train with Italian professional clubs.
Currently there are 14 players planning to go on the trip from the U-14 age group and 15 players from the U-16 age group, plus an additional four parents (not including coaches) to supervise/chaperone each group.
The boys have raked leaves, bagged groceries, sold food and other items door to door and held a Futsal Tournament thus far. Two payments per player have already been made to the tour organizer and the boys are looking for additional work opportunities to replenish their balances.
The players are looking forward to a soccer and cultural experience of a lifetime.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing a new country. It’s a new experience,” said Ali Kowsari, a sophomore at Maple Grove Senior High. “Being able to train with a professional soccer trainer, and playing against kids that may be more skilled than us, will make us better soccer players. We’re going to playing against teams from all over Europe. Some are going to be more skilled individually, and they may be better teams. That will teach us to work harder at our team work and motivate us to develop our own skills. I’m interested in learning some Italian, seeing the sights and meeting new people.”
“This is an incredible chance to play soccer abroad, especially in Europe where the highest quality players play,” added Maple Grove sophomore Daniel Cortez. “I’m looking forward to working with professional Italian trainers, but I’m most excited about seeing San Siro, the stadium used by AC Milan and Inter Milan. I think this will make me a better soccer player and more knowledgeable about the rest of the world.”
Players planning to go on the Italian trip and the schools they play for are:
Maple Grove High: Daniel Cortez, Ian DeBois, Alireza Kowsari, Ryan Peterson, Isaiah Stewart, Garson Thomas, Ben Zaver.
Osseo High: Gabriel Galamue, Bashu Kormah.
Park Center High: Juhar Tahir.
St. Michael Albertville High: Christopher (Isaiah) Leathers, Wesley Maschke.
Circle Pines/Centennial High: Austin Dewberry.
St. Louis Park High: John Kinney.
Coon Rapids High: Anthony Kruchten.