Santa Cruz Broadens Their Horizons
Breakers Earn Invite to Elite Switzerland Tournament
Tuesday, March 13
SANTA CRUZ, CA – United Soccer Leagues Super Y-League club, the Santa Cruz County Breakers have gained an invitation to an illustrious youth tournament running Thursday, April 5 through Monday, April 9. The Torneo Internazionale di Bellinzona U19 tournament is an eight team tournament held in Switzerland annually between the highest ranking youth academies in the world. The Breakers, who competed in the Super Y-League U17 division in 2006, will face off against youth academy teams from Borussia Vfl 1900 Monchengladbach (Germany), SE Palmeiras (Brazil), Ticino (Switzerland), Tottenham Hotspurs FC (England), ARIS FC Salonicco (Greece), FC Barcelona (Spain), and FC Basel (Switzerland).
“The players we take on this tournament will return home much better players,” said Santa Cruz County Breakers Head Coach Bob Poser. “Seeing the level of intensity these youth academy players train at, and the results of working so intently will make our guys much better students of the game. The majority of these players will play at the NCAA level next season. Coming off a trip where they go against the First Division youth Academy teams from Tottenham and Barcelona will prepare them for the NCAA level.”
The Breakers earned invitation to the tournament through Santa Cruz Coaching Director Paolo Carbone who went to Switzerland and Italy last season with another Northern California team. During the trip Carbone played a friendly against the Bellinzona U13 youth team and attended one of the U19 matches from last year’s tournament. During the match Carbone convinced Bellinzona President and Technical Director Vincent Cavin that his own Santa Cruz County Breakers were capable of competing on the same plane as the top youth academies in the world.
A representative of AC Bellinzona witnessed a strong showing from the Breakers in an exhibition match last spring and a favorable recommendation from AC Milan scout Gianpaolo Montesano during a Super Y-League game this summer moved the Bellinzona tournament selection committee to accept an American team into the tournament for the first time in a few years.
“Having a special player on our club such as U.S. U18 National Team Member Jose Gonzalez pushed us over the top as far as warranting an invitation,” added Poser. “Two or three additional players are capable of getting interest from the youth academy teams we will face over there. Erik Espinoza will also be a leader for us in Switzerland, he earned some recognition in Cocoa, Florida earlier this year when he was named to the ‘88/’89 Super Y-League ODP Select Team.”
“I have coached some of these players from the time they were at the U6 level,” said Poser. “It is really kind of amazing to see how far they have come, how far we have come as a club. We joined the Super Y-League as soon as it became an option for us in Northern California. The Super Y-League has been the transition for us, from a classic youth soccer team to the premier club level. We used the league as a way to sell player development within the club system and prioritize individual development over the team. It has lead to more success and better overall teams playing under one Santa Cruz County Breaker banner. This U17 side has always been the flagship team of our club – we will do our absolute best to represent where we come from and the leagues we play in.”