Vasco da Gama Club has been invited to put together a team from Bermuda to participate in the 13th International Under 11 Football Tournament of the Azores, in April 2019.
The invitation followed a meeting last month between officials of the Club and of Clube União Micaelense, the Azorean Club hosting the Tournament.
Arsénio Sampaio Furtado, the Director-General of Clube União Micaelense said, “After the USA and Canada, we are very pleased to have in our Tournament a team from Bermuda, another important Azorean immigrant community, which is often nicknamed ‘The Tenth Island of the Azores.”
“I have to give special thanks to the Executive Board of the Vasco da Gama Club – in particular, its President, Paul Franco and Edward Correia for the care and attention with which he has led this whole process,” he added.
During his visit to Bermuda, Furtado also met with a number of parents and athletes that will participate in the event next Easter. They were shown a promotional video for the event and for the Azores. For many, this will be their first trip to the Portuguese archipelago.
Germano Botelho and Joe Carolo will coach the young athletes and chaperone them throughout the trip.
The 2019 edition of the tournament will feature teams from throughout the Azores, Madeira, the Portuguese mainland, Cape Verde, the USA and Canada.
Franco said, “Vasco da Gama Club is very pleased for the invitation to take part in this tournament. This will be a great experience for the kids, many of whom will get to know the Azores for the first time. Lots of different teams from around the world will be there.
“This tournament also represents a commitment from Vasco to help develop Bermuda football. Our participation in this tournament, together with the success of Pauleta’s visit in June and our senior football team’s return after an almost 20-year absence, can hopefully be a solid foundation to build for the Club’s future.”
During his trip to Bermuda, Mr Furtado was welcomed by Bermuda Football Association President Mark Wade and General-Secretary David Sabir at the Clyde Best Centre of Excellence. They discussed the tournament and the possibility of future sporting partnerships.
The team’s participation is a one-off for 2019, however, should the experience prove a success, this could open up the possibility for future invitations.
Mr. Franco continues, “I want to thank Mr. Furtado for visiting us and for personally extending this invitation to Vasco. Thanks also to Ed Correia for organizing things for this visit, and to Coaches Germano Botelho and Joe Carolo who will be putting together and leading the team. We look forward to working with the young athletes going forward!”
Clube União Micaelense is the oldest sports club in the Azores, having been founded in 1911. The Club has been organizing a youth football tournament now for 13 years. They play their home matches at the Jâcome Correia Municipal Stadium in Ponta Delgada, which is where the tournament will be held.
Clube União Micaelense’s youth development programme is widely recognized, and it is the only Azorean club to be recognized by the Portuguese Football Federation as a Certified Training Entity.