It has been a busy couple of months for Alex Budnik U14 Academy GK. That is busy in a good way. Back in the beginning of February, Alex was invited back to the U14 National Team camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Alex spent nine days, Feb 1-9, training and playing with the other kids invited to the camp. Alex was one of 23 kids that was invited to return after the Summer Camp in September 2013. During his time in Florida, Alex trained twice a day and participated in two friendly games with some local clubs. Alex split time with another GK and posted two clean sheets, winning both games 3-0.
After returning from Florida, Alex had a couple of weeks to prepare for his next adventure. On February 27, Alex boarded a plane with other 2000’s to represent the US in the ID2 National Selection International tour in Italy. A brief stop in New Jersey for two days of training and then they landed in Milan. From there they transferred to Florence where they trained once a day. Along with the training sessions, Alex and his teammates played four games with clubs from Florentino, AC Sienna, Juventus and Inter Milan. Again splitting time with another GK, the team performed better than any other ID2 team in International competition. Their record was 3-0-1 with only one goal allowed in the four games. Here is a small excerpt from an article about the trip.
Coach Gerry McKeown;
For McKeown, this trip offered a tangible glimpse at the strides the country’s best are making in cultivating possession soccer. And that all starts with the keeper. “I think for me, the biggest stride that we’ve made in this country is now we have goalkeepers who can play from their feet, and they become now another option to play out of the back,” McKeown said. “He can organize the group as long as you show him where the movement should be in terms of the center backs splitting and getting far enough apart that they’re tough to deal with with one defender. Overall, the comfort level nationwide, I can see it for sure.”
For Alex, it wasn’t all about soccer in Italy. He was able enjoy some time off the soccer field. “Three things I really enjoyed about Italy was all of the sightseeing we were able to do. Walking through the small towns, looking at the different buildings and infrastructure was very different from the US. I also really enjoyed the food! Lastly, it was really cool to be able to take in a few Serie A games with all my teammates.”
Next for Alex is another camp with the U14 National Team. This time he will be travelling and training in Carson, California. Similar to the camp in Florida, Alex was one of only 16 of the original kids from the Summer Camp to get called back. He will be in Carson from March 22-30.
It is a very exciting time for our club as we have multiple players participating in different regional, ID2 and national team camps. It is extra exciting to have another GK involved in the National Team process. This is the second boy in the last 4 years that has represented Sockers FC while training with the US National Team. Jeff Gal (University of Virginia) was that last to get the opportunity. I think this says a lot about the GK program here at Sockers. We have a ton of great GK’s on the boys and girls side. It is the structured environment and the hard work ethic of all our GK’s that allows for GK’s like Alex to be recognized. Without the support and training of the other GK’s, none of our GK’s would ever have the opportunities that Alex is getting. This is a true testimony to all those involved in the GK program here at Sockers.
Trip to Italy Trip to Florida
Albert Martin- GK Trainer- Sockers FC Chicago
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