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From Mexico to Bradenton: A year of growth for five youth players

For the five resident players from Mexico's Cordica Soccer League, the year-round soccer training provided at the IMG Academy soccer program isn't enough to quench their soccer hunger.

“When we have down time,” said Myoshi Nagoya, “we can play soccer whenever we want. And the fields are awesome.”

This year, Nagoya, Jose Pablo Covarrubias, Enrique De Anda, Enrique Orendain and Enrique Pena - all U-14 players - enrolled at the Academy through an exchange program with the Guadalajara-based Cordica. Dozens of other Cordica players also recently spent a week training at the Academy.

For the five who are wrapping up their first year at IMG Academy, the experience has already proved invaluable to their development in soccer and life.

When not spending hours on the soccer field, they play tennis on one of the dozens of courts. They've seen tennis start Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic roaming the campus. They've met Mexican National Team member Cuauhtemoc Blanco when the Chicago Fire trained on campus. They've even learned a bit of Portuguese and Russian languages.

“We've made a lot of friends here,” Covarrubius said. “You meet people from all around the world.”

They've also learned some responsibility.

“You learn to be without your family,” Pena said. “It helps you mature. It helps you grow up.”

Cordica players (l-to-r) Myoshi Nagoya, Enrique De Anda, Jose Pablo Covarrubias, Enrique Orendain and Enrique Pena
From left to right: Myoshi Nagoya, Enrique De Anda, Jose Pablo Covarrubias, Enrique Orendain and Enrique Pena

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