New York City FC’s U13/U14 Academy Team heads to Bolivia on Friday to participate in the XXI Mundialito Tahuichi “Paz y Unidad” (Peace and Unity). The invitation only tournament, previously attended by teams like Real Madrid, River Plate, and Atlas, is recognized as one of the premier youth tournaments in South America and draws teams from all over the world to participate.
In this year’s tournament the New York City FC Academy will take on Millionarios FC (Colombia), Pachuca (Mexico), Danubio (Uruguay), Olimpia (Paraguay), Tahuichi (Bolivia), Florida (Bolivia), Everton FC (Chile) and other teams.
New York City FC Academy Director Rodrigo Marion said, “This trip is going to be a great experience for our players, in particular the players that have never left the United States for a tournament before. Going away together for the first time as a team will be a great unifying experience for the Academy. It is a fantastic opportunity for us.”
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“As for the coaches, I think these tournaments improve our practice by challenging us to teach and support our players when they are exposed to games in a new environment. Playing against teams from different countries provides special opportunities for player development, and will allow our players to apply individual and team concepts in a challenging environment.
These international competitions help players develop a competitive and winning mentality, especially when you have such a short time in between games to recover.”
The boys will also use their energy for a good cause off the field, as one of the main purposes of the tournament is to give back to those less fortunate in the local communities of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. New York City FC’s academy will donate soccer items and host a clinic for youth at the local stadium.
Marion said, “The purpose of this tournament is to unify cultures and support the local community. We are really excited about exposing our players to the realities of a different culture and one where the kids do not necessarily have the same privileges that our kids have.”
Even with all of the learning that stands to take place, some things won’t change for the Academy.
Marion said, “This trip is about development rather than results and on the field we want to be loyal to the way we play. We definitely want to stay loyal to our principles of the game – and that is what we are emphasizing with the boys, regardless of the level of competition.
Stay tuned to @NYCFC on Twitter for updates from the Academy in Bolivia.