U16 players from Vernon and Salmon Arm will be heading out on a European soccer tour this spring.
Vernon’s Hayden Murphy, along with Salmon Arm’s Wyatt Mullins, Ryan Cowell and Kyprian Knopp, have been selected to represent the Okanagan as members of the Vancouver-based European Football School (EFS).
The biannual event will see the touring squad fly to Germany, Slovenia and Croatia, where they’ll play a total of 11 games over two weeks.
Ian Murphy, founder of the Okanagan Futsal Club, says the local players are looking forward to seeing how they stack up against their European counterparts.
“Playing Futsal in the Okanagan Futsal League, running laps around a frozen athletic track to maintain their fitness and regular visits to the Vancouver home of EFS for specialized training, has kept them active,” said Murphy.
“But whether it’s enough will only be judged in Europe in March.”
Players are selected for the tour throughout the year from camps hosted by Amar and Saibo Talic. The father-son coaching duo hold a number of camps in the province and run training programs out of their North Vancouver base.
“The tour provides a great opportunity for motivated players to not only test themselves against some top competition but also to get a taste of the football culture of Europe and see first hand what an integral part football plays in the daily lives of most Europeans,” said Amar Talic, whose father started EFS in the 1990s.
Murphy says the EFS has grown into an unparalleled coaching and competitive experience for young players in B.C.
“It is the closest you can get to a professional training environment in the province.”
With 31 players, this year’s tour is the biggest in the club’s 21 years of operation.
EFS will be in Vernon for a training showcase this summer.