Brauen Morris, Noah Larocque, Noah Colbourne and Justin Potvin are heading to Londonderry, Ireland to play in the largest youth soccer tournament in the world as part of the Ottawa Gloucester Hornets Under-17 soccer team. The O’Neill’s Foyle Cup has run for three decades and attracts hundreds of teams from around the world every year, making it a highly competitive tournament.
“You have to qualify to even enter,” said Troy Morris, Brauen’s father and member of the coaching staff heading to Ireland. “They don’t just take anyone. It’s a privilege to be able to go.”
The four Clarence-Rockland teens joined the Hornets three years back when Rockland’s competitive youth team was unable to field a team and the boys sought higher competition. Now the players will be representing their home town on the international stage, showing European and other international youth clubs that Canadian soccer players can compete with the best of them at the highest levels.
“It’s important we don’t make a bad impression of people from here,” said Colbourne. “We want to represent our club and Canada well.”
“It is cool to know that being from Rockland, a small town, we are able to go to this big tournament and represent the club.” added Potvin.
The boys are not ignorant to the chance they are being given to travel abroad and play a sport they love, recognizing they are lucky to participate in something so big.
“We are really excited, it’s a great opportunity,” said Laroque. “Not everyone gets to go to Europe for a soccer tournament.”
However, the boys are not free of nerves. The team will be playing with just 12 players and several call-ups from the younger age group, Potvin included. Brauen knows they just need to keep their heads down and work hard for the best possible result.
“The chemistry won’t be the same without our whole team there,” said Brauen. “We just need to play our game and have fun.”
The tournament runs from July 18 to July 23 with the team of 12 boys heading across the pond on July 14.