Next Year, Connor May is hoping to return the favour.
The Innisfil Soccer Club U13 boys team member participated in an international soccer friendly against a U13 boys squad from the Barbados Soccer Academy, at the Innisfil Recreation Complex earlier today. He is hoping to form a few friendships with the Barbados players throughout a day of activities, and plans to drop hints for a trip for the Innisfil boys next year. "They’re a good team, but we’ve played with them," he said, minutes before being substituted into the game. "It’s something that you’ll remember for a long time. We’re not just playing a game with them, we’re doing stuff after. We’ll get to know them pretty good too. Maybe next year we can go to Barbados to play them."
The friendly was the first international match the club has hosted. While in town, the Barbados team will also be treated to a visit to Sunset Speedway, and a barbecue. The Innisfil club also collected sports equipment for the academy, including shoes, balls, shin pads and jerseys.
We’re happy to play them," said Innisfil technical director Mark Cristante. "We’ve got donations for them, about five bins of shoes, shirts and clothing that they can bring back for underprivileged kids. This is an educational exchange. Our players get the chance to play a different type of team. It’s a very exciting opportunity. Potentially, these kids could be playing again when they’re 15, 16 or 17, at an international level."
The Barbados club has participated in several matches in Canada and the United States in past years. This time, the academy members will be participating in a five game tour of the area, before returning to the Caribbean island on July 16. The exhibitions allow many of the Barbados players to showcase their skills, said Barbados general manager Kathy Carter "We have over 250 players in different age groups," she said. "We recently won the Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 titles in the Barbados. But most of these guys are new (to international soccer). They’re doing well, they have adjusted, and they really want to play football. We’ve really enjoyed ourselves; it’s been quite an experience. They’re playing, having fun and getting the experience of seeing what it’s like to play an overseas team. The academy wants to establish a relationship with teams over here."
Other Innisfil players were excited to compete against such a talented international squad. The U13 boys are considered to be one of the best teams in the Innisfil system, going undefeated in the U12 division last year. They’ve also started this year’s campaign with a 4-1 record.
"We’re trying not to let anything go by our defence," said Braedon Kokkinos. "I think we can win. Their first touch is a lot better than most of the teams we’ve been playing. It’s into space, and they try to play the ball beyond pressure."
By Chris Simon
Innisfil Scope- Published July 7, 2012
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