Bradford boy heads to World Youth Football Tournament in Portugal

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A boy from Bradford traveled to Portugal this summer to take part in the World Youth Football Tournament

Bradford’s Ethan Gil is heading to the World Youth Football Tournament in Portugal this spring.

The 10-year-old student from St. Angela Merici started playing football at the age of four with the Bradford Eagles grassroots program.

“I like playing football because it’s a beautiful game. I feel very happy when I’m on the pitch because I can express myself,” he said.

He then joined what is now known as Bradford Union FC football club. Due to his advanced skill level, he ended up playing with children a year older than him.

From there, he joined the River Plate Toronto AIFC team, which is now his home club.

Although he no longer plays for the Bradford club, he says it was there that he learned the basics of the sport.

By participating in many tournaments with his new team, he was spotted by the coaches of the TFC (Toronto Football Club) and selected to train in the Toronto FC Junior Selects program. TFC Selects is an invitation-only development and identification program for players ages 10-13.

He plays three games every weekend. He trains with the Selects once a week and with River Plate, three, and plays about three games each weekend.

“My current club River Plate Toronto AIFC (Athlete Institute Football Club) prepared me a lot by helping me improve my skills and knowledge of the game,” he said.

To be a good soccer player, Ethan says it’s important to listen to coaches and do your best.

“You also have to do training and extra work in your spare time,” he said.

Ethan is looking forward to traveling to Portugal in April to take part in the World Youth Football Tournament with 50,000 players from around the world for a week of competitive sport.

“I’m really excited to play against some of the best teams in the world. It will be a great learning experience at a high level, and I hope I can get noticed by some of the coaches of these teams,” he said. declared.

This won’t be the first time Ethan has flown to a football game. At the age of eight, he flew to Germany for a tournament, playing with players two to four years his senior.

“It was a great experience at a young age to train with older players,” he said. “Now I’m so excited to travel to Portugal, a country I’ve never been to before.”

Ethan will travel with his parents and older brother.

“My family is my biggest support and I’m so happy that they help me with everything,” he said. “I’m grateful to my family and glad they’re still there to support me.”

“From coaching him when he was four, to seeing him grow into the player he is today, it brings me great joy,” said his brother Ricardo Jr. “His success came with a lot of hard work and discipline and what I really admire is that not only does he become a great athlete, but he also learns that if you have goals in life, you go and work for them I hope he continues to work hard and develop in the TFC program and then fulfill the dream at a European club.”

Ethan has lived in Bradford all his life.

“I have lots of friends here and there are lots of places to play football outside,” he said.

Her father, Ricardo Sr. is from Uruguay and her mother, Paloma, is from Mexico.

They said it has been a great year for Ethan and his developing football skills.

Since he was little he always loved football,” Paloma said. “Growing up, he saw his older brother play football and he got more involved. He has skills and joy for the sport, so we will support him until the end.”

Ethan hopes to one day play for the Canadian men’s soccer team. Until then, he says he will continue to train with his current club team and the TFC Selects.

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