Earlier this month, the club took part in a historic series of exhibition showcases in Sicily, playing against several teams of professional caliber and sending a message that American teams can compete with the rest of the world. The representatives of the club consisted of a conglomerate of youth and PDL players, from New York to Florida and several guest players from Brazil and Italy. Overall, the club competed in five games against S.S.D. Alcamo, A.S.D. Città di Carini, Equipe Sicilia, Città di Messina (Serie D), and Palermo's Primavera (Serie A) who recently triumphed over their Serie B season.
The inaugural kickoff match of the tour saw our boys come up short in a 1-0 loss to S.S.D. Alcamo. It was a hotly contested game whose deciding goal came from a controversial penalty in the closing minutes of the first half. After missing several equalizing opportunities in the second half, the boys came away slightly disappointed from a loss in their first game although the overall team performance was lauded.
Following their defeat, the team sought redemption and was determined to display their quality. And they did just that against sister club A.S.D. Città di Carini. The first half of their match against Carini, saw the hosts on the receiving end of two goals from PDL player Ben Marcu (after coming back from a lengthy ankle injury) and Florida prospect Victor Heredia. When the final whistle was blown, the match ended at an impressive 5-0, with two goals being contributed by club youth product, Maxwell Anaruov. At just 14 years old, he was the youngest player to score during the tour.
Following the game, Head Coach Ferdinando de Matthaeis was asked his opinion on the match and the team's performance. "I'm very proud of our boys today. They came out determined to prove a point and they did just that. They played with quality and I know they caught the attention of all the spectators. To have a 2003 player score two goals is just a testament to the club's immense pool of youth talent. It makes us proud."
The third game of the tour was against Equipe Sicilia, a select team harboring quality players from all across the globe who all have hopes of getting signed by a professional side. Equipe's side consisted of young prospects and seasoned veterans who have played in top tiers of Italian football. The match was an intense and physical game which saw the first half end 2-0 for the North American side. After an equally exhaustive second half, the final score was 4-2 for FA Euro, marking a second consecutive victory for the "New Yorkers."
The penultimate match of the series saw FA Euro travel to Antillo where we were hosted by Città di Messina. The club had the honor to play the inaugural match on their brand new field. Following a spectacular welcoming ceremony with the town's mayor present, players, and hundreds in attendance, the match went underway. The hosts scored almost immediately after the opening whistle but the boys refused to be deterred by this setback. PDL player Alan Ponieman scored the equalizing goal and the game was back on level terms. This was the most physical and closely-contested game of the tour so far where following a numerous amount of favorable calls for the home team, the match ended 5-4 in a bitter loss for the guests.
The final game, and perhaps the most prestigious, was against the Primavera side of Palermo who recently got promoted to Serie A following their Coppa Italia victory. The first 45 minutes was evenly contested until the dying seconds of the first half when Palermo scored the opening goal. The second half was where the fatigue of the squad started to show, after playing five games in six days, the boys were running on fumes. When the final whistle was blown, Palermo saw victory with the final score being 4-2 with the two goals being scored by Victor Heredia and Cristiano Adelfio.
By the end of the tour, several FA Euro players attracted the attention of local and professional scouts. Going into this experience, the club's goal was to make an impact on the international scene and to not only prove our potential but also the potential of US soccer as a whole. Our performances allowed us to do just that, and a statement has been made. Our next stop on the international scene is to impress at the club's second annual participation in the Viareggio Cup tournament and to bring further prestige and face to American soccer. FA Euro would like to thank the players, coaches, staff, and teams for making this such a successful and historic exhibition. Forza Euro.