Vasco da Gama have been invited to enter a team from Bermuda to participate in the thirteenth International Under-11 Football Tournament of the Azores, kicking off in April.
The invitation, which resulted from a meeting last month with officials from Clube União Micaelense, the Azorean Club hosting the tournament, is another welcome boost for Vasco, who after being dormant for two decades returned to the Bermudian football landscape as a First Division side this season under the guidance of former Paget Lions coach Brian Dickinson.
The tournament will feature teams from throughout the Azores, Madeira, the Portuguese mainland, Cape Verde, the United States and Canada.
“Vasco da Gama is very pleased for the invitation to take part in this tournament,” Paul Franco, the Vasco president, said. “This will be a great experience for the kids, many of whom will get to know the Azores for the first time. Lots of different teams from around the world will be there.
“This tournament also represents a commitment from Vasco to help develop Bermuda football.
“Our participation in this tournament, together with the success of our senior football team’s return after an almost 20-year absence, can hopefully be a solid foundation to build for the club’s future.
“The team’s participation is a one-off for 2019. However, should the experience prove a success, this could open up the possibility for future invitations.”
During his visit to Bermuda, Arsénio Sampaio Furtado, the director-general of Clube União Micaelense, the oldest sports club in the Azores, having been founded in 1911, met with a number of young players who will be competing in the tournament next year, as well as Bermuda Football Association president Mark Wade and general secretary David Sabir to discuss the possibility of future sporting partnerships.
“After the USA and Canada, we are very pleased to have in our tournament a team from Bermuda, another important Azorean immigrant community, which is often nicknamed ‘The Tenth Island of the Azores’,” said Furtado on his pride at the inclusion of Vasco at the tournament to be held at the Jâcome Correia Municipal Stadium in Ponta Delgada.
Germano Botelho and Joe Carolo will coach the team and chaperon them throughout the trip to the Portuguese archipelago.