Kingston’s Adrian Dagres is counting the days before he leaves for Barcelona, Spain to represent Team Canada at the 2019 Danone Nations Cup.
It is regarded as the World Cup of soccer for boys and girls under the age of 12.
Dagres is the first player from Kingston to ever qualify for the prestigious tournament.
The talented midfielder was put through three gruelling tryouts in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and was ecstatic when he got the call to say he made the national squad. Dagres says competing in the September tournament will be a dream come true.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to showcase my talent,” said the 12-year-old, who plays for Ottawa South United in the Ontario Player Development League.
“I’m so proud to have made it,” continued Dagres, who has the full support of his father Tasos and mother Anne Marie.
“I’ve been training all winter long for this. I was looking for some better competition and coaching so I joined Ottawa South. I travel four days a week for practices and games, but it’s worth it. My coaches and my teammates have been nothing but supportive.”
Simon Wilshaw, who coaches the Ottawa South Force Academy, says Adrian has what it takes to be a special player.
“He’s a humble and committed kid,” said Wilshaw.
“Not many children would travel to Ottawa for a practice, but he loves the game so much. He’s able to deal with the demands of school and provincial soccer.”
Wilshaw added: “He’s got the ability to play numerous positions. That’s not easy for a young player. As a coach, you want someone who can play multiple positions.”
With the tournament fast approaching, Dagres has been working on a number of things.
“I need to get stronger,” said Dagres, whose favourite player is FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
“You have to be physically strong to play soccer, and I’m always working on my passing and shooting.”
Wilshaw wishes his young protege nothing but the best when he goes to Spain.
“I just want him to enjoy the experience and be himself,” the coach said. “He’s a bright young player with a hunger for the game. We’re thrilled to have him on our team this summer.”
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