What is it like to be a Canadian soccer player who truly intends to excel at the beautiful game? It’s a long journey with significant obstacles. Not the least of which is having to find the confidence to challenge the international notion that Canadians haven’t yet met the measure of our international peers.
Our son, Everett, has passionately pursued his love of soccer since his first touch on the ball. Year by year, this led us down paths we could have never imagined when he was a tot playing with his friends. It eventually led to an invitation to train at a top level international club at the tender age of fourteen. Full of dreams and bravado, our young son was going to reach for the stars. Atletico Peñerol in Montevideo, Uruguay was interested in this young Canadian talent. In their sport. On their field. Unprecedented. We knew it would change our son. But we also knew to withhold this opportunity would change him as well. So we tucked our own worries away and exhaled.
He was alone in Montevideo, living with several Uruguayan soccer players. Everett at 14, the next youngest a 19 year old. He had little Spanish, no internet, no iPhone. Just a flip phone and belief. The tenacity, courage, love of his sport and a willingness to work harder than every other boy on the pitch was recognized. The initial meanness of his teammates faded as they got to know him. He impressed players and coaches alike. And he was nicknamed “El canadiense”, with sincere respect.
He did earn a youth contract. He chose to develop here in Calgary instead. His continued pursuit is leading him to thrilling international opportunities. “El canadiense” is showing his proud Canadian spirit in places Canadians seldom tread.
Brian O – Coril Holdings Ltd.