As is the norm at SIGMA every year, teams within the organization have the opportunity to travel to the epicenter of youth soccer development- the Netherlands. A combination of SIGMA's working relationship with the youth academy of the famed AFC Ajax along with the immediate ties to one of Europe's top sport and entertainment representation organizations in SEG makes the Netherlands a natural second home for SIGMA FC.
This year the U12 group of players will embark on a 10 day soccer immersed experience including 6-7 matches, training, attending a live AJAX match and training sessions and many other soccer related activities. The team will depart Toronto for its home base in the town of Akersloot located 15 minute from Amsterdam. At this location the SIGMA team will be in the confines of a 4star hotel property equipped with it's own training field and all the amenities the group would require. The team will play matches with such clubs as AFC AJAX, FC Groningen, FC Utrecht, FC Den Bosch to name a few.
Over the 10 day trip players and supporters will be able to truly live and breathe the sport of soccer from a unique perspective not attained by many players in North America. Not only will they have the opportunity to challenge their counterparts but the players will have an opportunity to view training sessions of the pro's and above all meet a few of these players in a personalized setting. "This is the fourth year that SIGMA will be taking it's teams to Holland" comments SIGMA and SEG Managing Director Constantine Smyrniotis. "Every year it has been a great success for our teams both on and off the field. As an organization we hope that this experience will only excite and encourage the players forward in their development. They will play with some very good teams on the trip and above all be immersed in soccer like a young professional and no different than their counterparts from the local Dutch teams. This is not a vacation! The whole time in Holland will be centered around the sport and the players".
In preparation for the trip the team have been preparing with a wide array of friendly matches taking on various older aged competition in the GTA along with attending a tournament at Sahlen Sports Park in Buffalo which was a great preparation tournament for the group. Coach Dave Zonneveld has been working with the group and assembled the players in early September of this year but has recently stepped up the matches prior to departure, "We have had about 7 matches in the last month in order to prepare the players for the trip. The tricky part is that training takes place at our home facility at Rink City which allows us to play with 7 players and 1 keeper but once we get to Holland it is 11v11 soccer all the way! That is why we traveled to Buffalo where we were able to get 3 matches on a big field. For their first time on a large pitch as a group after 3 months it went extremely well, becoming more positive with each match played. The boys played wel,l stuck to instruction and in the end won all of their games playing quality soccer. We are definitely not fully prepared and must work on our set pieces on both sides of the ball, but all in all I am happy"