Noah Mehta and Michael Matic are about to get an education in Spanish football from one of the great clubs of Europe.
The two members of SIGMA FC's 1997 (C2) squad will be leaving for a two-week training stint at Real Mallorca of the Spain's La Liga (First Division) starting this Friday.
Mehta and Matic were identified by Arno Buitenweg, Real Mallorca's director of soccer schools, during SIGMA's international ID camps this summer. Buitenweg has been a staff coach for the SIGMA camps the past two years.
At the conclusion of the camp Buitenweg decided he would like to see two of the boys in the Mallorca environment. He proposed the initiative to the SIGMA coaches and the club was in a 100 per cent agreement. Mallorca is making a huge investment in their youth with the goal of producing players over the next 5-10 years.
"It shows the further development of SIGMA as an academy and our global reach. I am obviously very pleased that the two boys were selected to take part in this and it is testament to the hard work of the coaches and their teammates as the group has worked very hard," said Smyrniotis.
"Obviously it goes back to our trip in 2006 and for the most part Mallorca turned out to be very important in our future growth as everything started from that small team of boys making a trip to play the giants," Smyrniotis reminisced.
"Over the years our relation with the club has become stronger as a result of Arno showing interest in what we are doing here."
Over the two week training stint the players will be training on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday along with taking part in a few friendly matches. The boys will be in Mallorca from Nov. 13-27.
It's been a heady few months for Mehta, who was part of the Danone Cup Team Canada that placed 17th in a global youth tournament in South Africa recently. SIGMA teammate Sebastian Amaya was also part of that team.
Christopher Nanco of the 1995 C1 squad recently returned from training in England with Liverpool and Newcastle, then was called up to the Canadian National Under-17 team.
Jonathan Agostino is in Italy with Serie B squad Vicenza. Senior players such as Jerome Baker were selected to the Canada's U20 squad, while Kyle Bekker was invited to the Canadian Olympic (U23) camp, but had to decline because university (Boston College) commitments.
With Emery Welshman among the leading goal scorers in U.S. Collegiate soccer at Siena, and with at least four more SIGMA players committed to attend U.S. schools next season, the future looks bright.