The San Juan FC 14U team from Puerto Rico is not an average team! Most of these kids were friends that came together from different clubs to play together in the Target USA CUP. This is their first time actually playing together, but the close-knit friendships makes for a phenomenal team.
After speaking with Coach Adrian Lausell, it stood out to me that his main focus is to allow his players to compete hard and most importantly, have fun. Lausell said, “I think that our team is a group that has a lot of passion and energy.” Coach also laughed as he told me, “the team is a big fan of Bad Bunny music.” This could align with how they get all their energy before a game. I had the opportunity to see this for myself when visited the 14U team. Their passion for the game is unmatched. You can clearly see how the team not only plays to better themselves as athletes, but to make each other better as a whole.
How many times have you participated in this tournament?
“As a coach, this is my first time, but I actually came and played with this club 10 years ago. I have come full circle now, but the club itself has been here 4 or 5 times!”
How does it look different now compared to when you competed?
“It is like looking behind the curtain; it’s a completely different perspective. As a kid, you just focus on the games and playing, but now I’m constantly aware about how beautiful the experience is for the kids. I am jealous of them almost because they get the opportunity to have this tournament. However, it’s a beautiful experience from the coach’s perspective.”
Where does your team practice?
“In Estadio Sixto Escobar, which is by the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is a great stadium that is a little rundown. They opened it in the 70s for a Pan-American game and it was a big jewel of the island, but no so much anymore. But we practice in the remnants of it and I think it is still a beautiful stadium.”
As I wrapped up conversation with coach, I had to know if there was any place other than USA CUP that could even compare to this event. He responded, “I think this is probably the top place to compete, because I don’t think any of the players have played outside of Puerto Rico!”
We wish you nothing but the best of luck San Juan FC!
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