Three young Aylsham footballers will head to Italy next summer to represent their country at the home of Juventus, whose star player is sports legend Cristiano Ronaldo.
The trio, 13-year-olds Oli Bates, Tyler Blyth and Adam Waller, have been chosen to represent England in the Juventus World Cup, the world’s largest and most prestigious youth football tournament.
The boys, who all play for Aylsham Football Club’s under-13s’ team, as well as being part of the Future Football Elite squad, were picked for the 15-strong England squad from scores of hopefuls who took part in a Juventus Academy training camp, in London over the autumn half-term break.
The tournament’s opening ceremony, which will be held in the Juventus stadium, is expected to attract more than 50,000 spectators.
“They are all super-excited! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Gus Bates, chairman of Aylsham FC Youth who also manages the under-13s’ team and is Oli’s dad.
“The boys are over-the-moon. For us as a football club it’s massive to have three of our lads going to this. It’s just one of the things we are trying to do to help children get the best opportunities possible through the club.
“It will be a great experience for them and could lead to even bigger and better things.”
England will be among more than 30 other national teams from all over the world heading to Turin for the tournament next June. The Aylsham trio will be attending training camps in the run-up to the event and, as well as playing in the world cup, they’re also looking forward to a Juventus stadium tour. Juventus has been tipped to win the UEFA Champions League this year.
Last season the boys’ own under-13s’ team won both the Norfolk Youth Football league and cup, and it’s currently top of the premier league.
Aylsham FC’s youth section includes 25 teams. Former players include Sam Blair who is now signed to Norwich City FC under 16s as goalkeeper and has also represented the under-18s’ and under-23s’ teams.
Words courtesy of Just Regional.