Local soccer teens California dreaming

By Ken Alexander - 100 Mile House Free Press
Published: April 25, 2012 8:00 AM

Reid Davidson, left, Saibo Talic, head coach of the European Football School, and Masen Fernandes posed after a practice in North Vancouver. The two 100 Mile House teens will be travelling with the team to compete in a U13/14 soccer tourney in Laguna Beach, California.

Two 100 Mile House 13-year-olds will be travelling to Laguna Beach, California to compete in a U13/14 boys soccer tourney, May 3-8.

Reid Davidson and Masen Fernandes say they are very excited about going with the European Football School squad under the tutelage of head coach Saibo Talic.

The teenagers have been travelling to North Vancouver to train with Talic and the rest of the squad every other weekend for the past two months.

During the training sessions, Davidson says, they concentrate on fitness, tactics, technique, drills and skill development.

“We haven’t done much in the way of games or scrimmages.”

He adds Talic focuses on skills and areas the players have to improve on.

Fernandes says he and the coach have been focusing on shooting and finishing.

“I get a lot of chances, but he says I have to start burying them more often.”

Davidson notes Talic makes sure all of the boys are developing the best they can.

“He has helped me work on making better decisions and keeps me working on my cardio and endurance. He sent me sheet of things to work on when I’m in 100 Mile – to do laps and stuff.”

The boys play both house and rep soccer together in 100 Mile and say they are sure the training they get in North Vancouver will help them a lot when they play in their home town.

Fernandes has been training with Talic for the past year and Davidson has been training with him for four years.

Both say Talic is really nice and has amazing fitness and skills. “He has definitely made us better players,” they say almost in unison.

Although most of the players are from the Lower Mainland, the team has a few players from Quesnel and Whistler, as well as 100 Mile.

Lisa Lizzi-Davidson says this is the youngest age group Talic takes on longer trips.

“He uses this trip to learn more about the kids to see if they will be capable of going on long trips. He often takes teams to Europe.

“It’s kind of that stepping stone to see if they’re mature enough to benefit from the trip. He’s really into developing good people, so it’s not just about soccer.”

While Fernandes already knows he will be playing forward, Davidson says he’s not sure whether he will be a mid-fielder or a defender.

As for expectations and the overall experience, Fernandes says he hopes it’s going to be a good opportunity to go further in soccer.

Says Davidson: “I just think it’s really good for us to get the experience and know what it’s like to play a higher level of soccer.”