During the recent US Soccer Development Academy Showcase at Lakewood Ranch, IMG Academy's Ian McCauley was recognized by coaches from New York, and asked to guest play for an All Star team in the Viareggio Cup in Italy. The Viareggio Cup is one of the most important youth tournaments in the world and draws talents from the likes of Serie A and Serie B teams such as Inter, AC Milan, Atalanta, Fiorentina, Genoa, Naples, AS Roma and many more. Ian trained with his new teammates for four days in New York, before arriving in Italy over the weekend. McCauley is chronicling his experience for IMG Academy, and you can check out his first hand account of his second and third days in Italy below.
I started off the day by having a typical Italian breakfast. It was very light with options of bread, yogurt with cereal, and tea. From there, I went to the fields for a scrimmage before the tournament starts on Tuesday. Our kits were awesome, which came with a heavy winter coat, training gear and game gear. We scrimmaged the first team of a club named Massese from the Serie D division. The men were twenty seven years old playing against us, but it was a tremendous game. We lost 2-0, but it was a great experience. The play was fast, but our team was able to keep up to pace with them. Their goals came from a header off a corner and upper-ninety shot from twenty five yards out. Even though the result was a loss, we were happy with how we played and are learning from our mistakes.
Today was quite a day. The first game of the tournament started, and we played a Serie B team. The play was extremely fast. We stood up to them at first, but then they took the lead. Even though we lost, it was a great experience. It was great to know that I can compete with 19-year old kids that are almost at a pro level. The meals were great, and we had and apple cake that was delicious. Also the ice-cream (gelato) is like no other. I would do anything to have it in America!