Prior to departing the training grounds on Wednesday afternoon, Toronto FC III (formerly known as TFC senior academy team, U-20 squad) gathered in the first team theatre room. General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko, Head Coach Greg Vanney and Director of Sports Science Jim Liston provided some words of wisdom and motivation to the squad ahead of the 69th Viareggio Cup tournament (considered one of the most prestigious youth soccer tournaments in the world). Following their talk and an amazing lunch prepared by head chef Elaine Flamenco and her remarkable kitchen staff, the team were off to Toronto Pearson International Airport to embark on a special journey that will test both their physical skills and mental soccer IQ against some of the top European academies in the world.
The journey began with a seven-hour flight to Amsterdam. Following a bumpy takeoff, some flight turbulence but thankfully a smooth landing, the team arrived at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport where they had to wait an additional seven-hours for their connecting flight to Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region.
After a long journey, which included a one-hour bus ride from Aerporto di Firenze (Florence Airport), Toronto FC III finally arrived in Viareggio late Thursday afternoon. They were greeted at Hotel Astor Viareggio, which has a scenic view of the beach across the street, and were provided with an elaborate spread of food to complete a demanding, yet successful day of travel.
The team will begin its final preparation with a Friday training session and a friendly match against L.I.A.C. New York on Saturday.
To stay up-to-date visit //www.torontofc.ca/academy and by following the club’s twitter account @TorontoFCIII.