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To be the best, beat the best

Burgess student to play in Italian soccer tourney

Burgess Elementary School sixth grader Kevin Izzio will spend his April vacation competing with his teammates in a challenging U-12 soccer tournament in Italy. (click for larger version)
March 31, 2011
STURBRIDGE — While many kids will be spending their April vacation relaxing and playing video games, Burgess Elementary School sixth grader Kevin Izzio and his U-12 soccer teammates will be participating in an elite tournament in Italy that will provide them with the stiffest competition they have ever experienced.

Izzio tried out for the U-12 Aca Azzurri team back in December, and his teammates include boys from New York, several New England states, and one player from Montréal, Quebec. The team will leave for Venice, Italy on April 17 and begin preparing for the challenging Montecatini Pro Tournament with a practice the next day in the nearby city of Pordenone.

"The boys are getting ready for a really jam-packed schedule with a lot of soccer in a short amount of time," said Kevin's mother, Tricia Izzio.

The team will meet two local clubs in friendly matches on April 19 and 20 before traveling to Trieste to play four matches in the City of Trieste Tournament on April 21. Two days later, the team will move on to Tuscany, where they will compete in first-round contests as part of the Montecatini Pro Tournament. Many of their European opponents are boys who play soccer year-round and attend multiple training clinics and high-level programs each year. Some of these camps offer dormitories and living arrangements so athletes can maximize their practicing hours without commuting, and some European athletes as young as 12 are given contracts.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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