Local soccer academy, Island Fire, is sending a their U16 team to Europe this month. The group of dedicated high-schoolers will be playing in the English International Super Cup in Manchester, England and the Welsh International Super Cup in Cardiff, Wales.
The teammates are excited as they’ve worked hard to get where they are now, explain Jake Robson and Mattheus Achadinha, proud members of the team. Both boys have played soccer since they were young and are passionate about the sport.
The team is run by the Island Fire Football Association and the players practice all year to prepare for their overseas tournaments.
Two years ago, Island Fire played in the Gothia Cup tournament in Sweden, and now the players are gearing up to head back to Europe. They’re not as nervous this time because, as Robson puts it, they “know what to expect.”
Achadinha, a centre mid-fielder for the team, says his father will be one of the parent chaperones attending the tournament. Most of the players’ parents won’t be coming along, so they will watch the recordings of the games and receive updates via social media.
Robson, who plays the centre back position, says he’s looking forward to playing against the high-quality teams in Europe as the sport is much more popular there. The U16 team only plays exhibition games here on the Island and they’re usually playing against club teams that are older than them.
The teammates are also excited because they’ll be walking in the steps of famous soccer players. “Legends” such as Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen have played in the Super Cup tournaments, Robson explains. Both he and Achadinha aspire to be professional soccer players.
Playing for the Island Fire is a huge commitment, say Achadinha and Robson. They spend a lot of time practising and fundraising. Plus, they both play for a separate club team as well.
The Manchester tournament takes place July 25 to 28, and then the team will play in Cardiff from Aug. 1 to 4.