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"Thank You" to everyone for their support and participation in the fundraisers that helped make the Mundialito-Portugal experience possible for Eddie (or Fred as he is more commonly known).

The Mundialito tournament is truly a first-class event, where some of the best teams in the world come to compete in what is billed as the "World Cup for Boys Youth Soccer." Some of the biggest and richest professional clubs in the world send their youth academy teams to Mundialito, including AC Milan (Italy) , Benfica (Portugal), CF America (Mexico), Stuttgart (Germany), Everton (England), Real Betis (Spain), Ajax (Netherlands), Glasgow Rangers (Scotland), and Vasco de Gama (Brazil). These clubs spend millions of dollars each year training their youth players in hopes they will be able to help their club's top level team in the future. These young athletes are referred to as "Youth Professionals" and live at the club's academy where they eat, sleep, and breathe soccer 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So to even be on the same field as these boys is an unforgettable experience.

Fred and his team, YPTusa, finished with a respectable 2-1-3 record, considering they drew Benfica (tournament champion), Stuttgart, and Flecha Negra, a talented Spanish club, in first round matches. The team did not travel to Portugal with any expectations of winning, but rather to see how the skill level of American players at 10-12 compares to that of the same age players at the top academies around the world. The short answer, the Americans can hold their own. (They held the tournament champions, Benfica, to a scoreless first 35 minutes, before giving up a few goals late in the loss, but drew praise from the Benfica coaches and parents.) Because the YPT team consisted of players from five states and Canada, regular team training was an impossibility. And when your competition lives together at an academy where they've trained five days a week for the past 1-3 years, there were some challenges our boys had to overcome.

This trip was about more than just a soccer tournament though. YPT firmly believes that players need to take advantage of their surroundings and look beyond the lines of the soccer field. Therefore for 11 days, and practically 24 hours a day, players were treated as if they were professionals. They learned how to travel, dress and act as young gentlemen, and invaluable lessons in cultural protocol. The boys were expected to eat meals as a team, try new foods, travel to and from the fields as a group, and shower in the locker rooms after each game (Fred took more showers in his week in Portugal than he normally takes in two months at home). The group visited several cities and towns in the Algarve region of Portugal as well as spent hours on the beach, playing soccer nevertheless. The boys actually had a very unique opportunity to play against CF America, the most storied soccer club in South America, in a beach soccer game. They met and posed for pictures with AC Milan, one of the most successful clubs in Italy and Europe, whose goalie was a 6' 3" twelve year old.

The entire experience is one that has definitely created lifelong memories as well as opened Fred's eyes as to what it takes to get his soccer game to the next level. Thanks again for you support and generosity.

YPTusa at Mundialito
Front: Mikey(PA via Ghana), Fred, Callum(NYC via England), Tanner(PA), Ricardo(TX)
Back: Danny(VA), Travis(PA), Tahric(NJ), Dayne(Can), Julian(TX), Ian(PA) Breulio(TX)