Allegheny Force soccer club raising money for Spain trip
Soccer is the world's game, and if all goes to plan, a team of local players will get to see the world because of it.
The Allegheny Force Football Club's under-12 boys team, known as the Fusion, is raising money for the team to travel to the 2013 Costa Daurada Cup in the Mediterranian coastal city of Salou, Spain, in March.
The Fusion's roster is made up of players from the Norwin, Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional school districts, and in Spain, the team will get the chance to train with some of that country's top youth coaches and play against teams from around the globe.
“This is a great opportunity for these boys to go to Europe, and it also gives them a chance to play against some of the most competitive teams from around the world in their age group,” said Tricia Breen, the Fusion's team manager.
To afford the trip, the team is holding a number of fundraisers, the first of which is a vendor fair to be held at Banco Business Park in Irwin from noon to 4 p.m. this Sunday.
Among the 14 vendors scheduled to be at the fair are The Pampered Chef, Avon and Tupperware, while the team also will be holding a Chinese auction, a raffle for two sets of Steelers tickets, and future events, such as a scrapbooking day to be held at The Lamplighter in Delmont on Jan. 27.
“We have a goal to raise enough for each player to travel because it is an expensive trip,” Breen said. “In addition to the travel cost, we're also trying to raise money for uniforms and other things for the team.”
The team is scheduled to spend nine days in Spain, from March 23 to April 1. The first half of the trip, the Fusion will train in Barcelona before moving an hour and a half down the Catalonian coast to Salou, the tournament site.
While in Barcelona, the team will have a chance to receive instruction with youth coaches from Spanish pro teams RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona, one of the world's largest soccer clubs. The team also will have a Spanish coach that will accompany it throughout the week.
It won't be all work for the Fusion, who will have a chance to see the sights of Barcelona and some high-level soccer. The team will get a chance to tour Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium, which is the largest stadium in Europe and the 13th-largest in the world, with a capacity of 99,354.
While Barcelona won't be playing at home when the Fusion are there, the team will get a chance to take in a pro match when Espanyol hosts Real Sociedad on March 31.
The game could be a critical late-season match for both clubs, as they currently sit in 17th and 18th after 10 games in the 2012-13 La Liga season, and the bottom three teams in the standings of the 20-team league get relegated to Spain's second division for the next season.
Once they are on the field themselves, the Fusion will face competition from around the world, as squads from Scotland, England, South Africa and Spain already are registered for the competition, which has tournaments for multiple age groups.
In all, the team's coaches and parents hope the experience will be a benefit to all the players, but the immediate task at hand is paying for the trip, which the team will start doing with its fundraiser in Irwin this weekend.
“The boys, as well as the parents, have taken an active role and interest in this,” Breen said. “It's so nice to see the families coming together and being so well supported by our soccer club.
“As far as the trip, the boys will grow not only by playing in the tournament, but by receiving valuable training from coaches affiliated with respected European soccer clubs. On top of all that, the boys, their siblings and their parents will have the opportunity to travel to Spain and experience the culture, the people and the language.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.