After a week at one of the world’s finest soccer facilities, Nike has announced the final 16 selected from The Chance. With over 100,000 players representing more than 50 countries, the competition has inspired youth athletes from day one. Last week, 100 athletes traveled to FC Barcelona’s compound to train and live like professionals.
Throughout the week, players displayed their talents in drills, scrimmages and clinics for world-class coaches like Nike Soccer Academy’s Jimmy Gilligan. The first 100 was then cut to 52, which was then reduced to 26 players. The final day of the week featured a match for the last 26 players to leave it all on the field. Officiated by English referee legend Howard Webb, the opportunity was there and the pressure was on. Click to view the entire game footage.
To the winners, I say a massive well done. Out of 100,000 footballers who entered The Chance they are the top 16 and I am looking forward to working with each of them. They should enjoy the moment but there is still a lot of work to be done. We will be taking them on an incredible trip to play some of the best youth teams in the world.
– Jimmy Gilligan, Nike Academy Head Coach
The interesting environment created by the Chance, where players try to stand out from the competition, while proving themselves as a valuable team player, with discipline, control and smart play making. Check out this sweet video detailing the final day including the match, the coaches’ final deliberation, and selection of the 16 finalists. The final 16 winners were selected at a gala dinner with Laurant Blanc, ambassador of the Chance and former director of the French Football Federation.
The team will travel a global tour beginning in 2013 against the world’s top youth clubs. Here’s the complete list of the final 16 athletes selected. You’ll note the lone American selected to the final 16 was San Diego Surf’s own Brian Iloski, a midfielder from Escondido, California. Check out his reaction interview after the announcement. Congratulations to all 100 athletes of The Chance. Such a life-changing experience is sure to stay with them forever and we look forward to watching their rising careers.
|#32 Dimitris Komnos, Greece#8 Wallace Camilo, Brazi
l#27 David Fernandes, France
#83 Bubakary Sonko, Sweden
#77 Melusi Zulu, South Africa
#72 Petar Golubovic, Serbia
#79 Gonzalo Balbi, Spain
#100 Brian Iloski, United States
|#92 Jose Figura, United Kingdom
#7 Dario Van Den Buijs, Belgium
#76 Teboho Charlie Tsotetsi, South Africa
#41 Ryosuke Kinoshita, Japan
#68 Kirill Laptev, Russia
#78 Saifeddine Alami Bazza, Spain
#6 Ismail H’Maidat, Belgium
#39 Marco Di Lauro, Italy