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Young Vasco da Gama side take part in Azores tournament

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Vasco da Gama U-11 at the lake of Sete Cidades

Vasco da Gamas’s under-11 select team has just finished competing in the 15th International Football Tournament of the Azores

The tournament, which was held last week, is organised by Clube União Micaelense in Ponta Delgada, Azores, and is one of the largest youth sporting events in the Azores, with 24 teams personally invited to attend.

The Vasco da Gama team, which was made up of Lucas Amaral, Cameron Camara, Julian Hands, Jasper Herrick, Roman Gaglio, Seth Neill, Eben Oosthuizen, Ryan Renaud, Nikolai Shaw, and Austin Viera, performed with credit to win their opening game against FC Flamengos.

Vasco da Gama at the opening ceremony

A missed penalty in one game and a disallowed goal in another stood in the way of further victories during the group stages with defeats coming against Arlander FC of Kazakhstan, ACF Pauleta of the Azores, and CAAF Atlântico and SC Campomaiorense, both from the Portuguese mainland.

Despite those setbacks, the team bounced back to win both elimination games against EF Minifoot from the Portuguese mainland and GD São Roque from the Azores.

On an individual note, Roman Gaglio was one of the stars of the tournament and was named by the organisers as one of the best seven players.

Germano Botelho, director of the Vasco youth programme and head coach for the team, was proud of the way the team performed throughout.

“The boys did a fantastic job during the tournament,” Botelho said.

VAsco da Gama Under-11 team at the volcanically active Furnas fumaroles

“The boys experienced football at a level they were not used to, but they stepped up and played beyond their normal abilities. They were able to adapt to the European style and physicality. While missing a penalty and having a goal disallowed disappointed them, they nonetheless gave it their all.

“They held their nerve against teams preparing their youngsters for professional careers. Out of a possible seven games, Vasco won three and finished 17th out of a total of 24 teams.

“However, this result does not do justice to just how well the young boys played. They gave their all and showed massive improvement between the start and end of the tournament. On behalf of the entire coaching and support staff, let me just say how proud we are of the group.”

Vasco da Gama coach Enio Vieira and player Julian Hands taking part in a post-game television interview in the Azores
Vasco Da GAma: In front of City Hall in Ponta Delgada with (front row, left to right) Richard Ambrosio (President of Vasco), Pedro Nascimento Cabral (Mayor of Ponta Delgada), Manuel Ribeiro Arruda (President of União Micaelense) and Arsénio Sampaio Furtado (Director-General of União Micaelense)

“I also want to give a special shout-out to Roman for being selected as among the tournament’s best. He shared this honour with young players from professional academies throughout Europe. This is no small achievement, and we expect great things from Roman in the future. His parents, which includes our Coach Reed, should be very proud.”

Richard Ambrosio, President of Vasco da Gama, who was present at the games, thanked everyone involved

“I want to, first, congratulate the team for their performance,” he said.

“Thanks to them and their parents for agreeing to take part and representing the Club.

“I also wanted to thank all our coaching and support staff who helped put together the team, who took care of the young players while in the Azores and who helped shepherd them to this result, Germano Botelho, Enio Vieira, Reed Gaglio and Sylvanus Nawab. Their care and concern for the youngsters were evident throughout.

“Finally, a big thank you to União Micaelense for organising the tournament. In particular, thanks to Arsénio Sampaio Furtado, for the personal invitation to Vasco, and to his team for their meticulous attention to detail. From our perspective as a participating team, the tournament was an unparalleled success.”

While there was plenty of action on the pitch, there was also much to do off it with the young players able to visit the picturesque Lagoa das Sete Cidades and the boiling fumaroles in the still volcanically-active village of Furnas.

With teams from throughout Portugal, the rest of Europe, Uruguay, Canada, Italy, Cape Verde, and the USA, there was also the chance to mix with different culters and the players immediately bonded with teams such as the Sporting Academy in Toronto. They also had several pick-up games in Ponta Delgada, including with reigning tournament champions, Bayside FC, from Rhode Island.

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Published April 13, 2023 at 7:52 am (Updated April 13, 2023 at 8:15 am)

Young Vasco da Gama side take part in Azores tournament

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