Sports

Tri-City players bound for Europe

Two Tri-City lads will get a taste of fervent European soccer culture when they travel to Italy in early July for the San Marino Cup.

Port Moody’s Isaiah Power Smith and Benito Manzo from Coquitlam join a roster of 15 Excel Soccer Academy players who made the cut for the international tournament to be held in the Republic of San Marino from July 6 to 12.

“To have a chance to play soccer in a country that worships the game is so cool and to put my love of the game out there in Europe is just beyond what I ever imagined at 13 years old,” Smith said. “What an amazing opportunity.”

Manzo is equally excited for the opportunity to travel overseas and develop his soccer skills.

“This is a great experience to advance my level of play, playing against some of the most talented players and to learn more about the game,” he said.

Excel Soccer offers development camps and travel opportunities for youth across the Lower Mainland. The club, which has been participating in the San Marino tournament since 2006, finished second place in the B pool last year.

As for this year’s itinerary, Smith, Manzo and the rest of the team will spend six days playing soccer in San Marino, and the rest of the two-week trip touring and enjoying Italy’s food and cultural offerings. They will also have an opportunity to train at the Italian Football Federation’s famed technical centre located just outside Florence.

sports@tricitynews.com

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