Alex Patrinos and his family are preparing for an extraordinary trip.
The seven-year-old Bright’s Grove boy will be trained by world-renowned coaches at the FC Barcelona’s Youth Soccer Academy and suit up for Team USA in the U8 division of the Barcelona International Youth Soccer Tournament April 13-21 in Spain.
Patrinos was among a handful chosen from a qualifying soccer camp featuring more than 400 hopefuls from across North America in Florida last August. Alex is one of only two Canadians invited to the prestigious Barcelona camp and the only one from his age group.
“From the time he started playing at the age of three he has shown some pretty good skills,” said his father, Harry Patrinos, who helps his son and three year old daughter, Ally, hone their skills by playing soccer nightly with them in the basement of their home.
“I discovered (the Florida camp) on the Internet and signed Alex up to get a sense of how he stacked up against other players his age,” he said.
Patrinos is excited about going overseas and taking part in games with the best youth players in the world in his age group.
He credits his coaches at the Galla Dev’s Soccer Academy in Sarnia for bringing his skill level to new heights.
“It’s extremely rare (in Canada) to see a kid at that age who can dribble and pass with both feet,” said Galla Dev’s co-founder and coach Brian Devlin. “We noticed advanced technical ability (in Alex) at a very young age.”
Patrinos has been training with the Galla Dev’s Soccer Academy the past two seasons.
“He’s not a big kid. He’s very well mannered. But, when he gets the ball at this feet, he turns into a giant,” said Galla Dev’s other co-founder and coach Jamie Gallacher.
Devlin says the experience will open up doors for Patrinos and allow him to dream big.
– Barry Wright