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. After training with his new teammates 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.
After being selected as captain by his teammates for the historic win against Eindhoven, McCauley was once again elected captain as the New York All-Stars wrapped up their Italian experience.
Final day in Italy:
Today was a good day but was an unfortunate way to end the trip. We had our last game against Empoli, a Seria B team, and if we won, we would have advanced. The game started out very well, and I was fortunate to be captain for the match again. We looked to be going on a good pace. Around the 40th minute, I was unfortunately given my second yellow card, even though the foul was not worth a yellow at all. I was sent off for the match. Looking out of the window from the locker room five minutes later during stoppage time, a penalty was given to the other team. They scored to make it 1-0 and went into halftime. Playing with 10 men was difficult to match the pace of the game and was even more difficult to watch from the side. We stood our ground though and played very well still. Another questionable call was given to Empoli again inside the box. We saved the penalty and continued to press on. We had our chances, but it was not our time to equalize. The game ended 1-0. Though disappointed, we proved that the United States can match what Europe has to offer in football. The experience overall was astonishing. I learned so much in such little time, and I can not wait to bring it to back America.