A student at St Mary’s College, and a member of Valley Soccer Academy, Mateo travelled to England this summer. there, he linked up with his cousin, Kai, and semi-professional Ilford Football Club’s Under-14 team.
Born in England, Mateo had the opportunity to train and play games with Ilford. And from all accounts, the youngster demonstrated great aptitude for football, and amplified his love for the sport.
“Summer 2016 proved to be an amazing opportunity to develop my football skills,” he said. Mateo, it turns out, was actually born in London, so this opportunity was a return to his roots as well.
“The training sessions were enlightening, thorough, and focused,” he explained. “And I was guided and coached on aspects of the game, some of which were new to me. Despite being an outsider and being well aware that I was in England for a short period, the coaches and the head coach in particular, Paul Belcher, spent time and made great effort to develop my talent, encouraging me, and even going one on one with me to fortify my skills in the right midfield position. The experience of playing preseason matches with well established teams and players was an excellent opportunity to put this training into practice as well as play football on a whole new level.”
Now starting Form 3 at SMC, the youngster from Monier, Gros Islet will be eager to put what he learned over the summer to good use when inter-school football starts in a matter of weeks.
“I am truly appreciative for this golden opportunity,” he said. “And I am eternally grateful to my family, the coaches of Ilford FC and the players for their welcome and acceptance into their well-knit team. I will do my utmost to utilise the skills I learnt this summer, be diligent in developing new skills in order to become a superb player in this ‘beautiful game.'”