Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Ballaz Academy scores big on the international scene

Published:Friday | May 31, 2019 | 12:34 AM
Coach André Virtue (second right) shares lens time with Ballaz players (from left) Isaiah Stiebel (under-12), DeJan Ho-Young (under-9) and Kai Myles (under-11) as they celebrate their triple victory at the recent Williamsburg Invitational Soccer Tournament.
Coach André Virtue (second right) shares lens time with Ballaz players (from left) Isaiah Stiebel (under-12), DeJan Ho-Young (under-9) and Kai Myles (under-11) as they celebrate their triple victory at the recent Williamsburg Invitational Soccer Tournament.

As Ballaz Football Academy continues to focus on greatness in their players, Director André Virtue looks towards the future in hopes of taking the players to the next level. For Ballaz, the next level is professionalism and discipline. With this in mind, the academy not only participated in the 2019 Williamsburg Invitational Soccer Tournament; but have also taken home the gold trophy for all three of their teams (under-9, under-11, and under-12).

The Ballaz story all began with one man’s mission to give back. Virtue found it important to impact the youth of today by instilling the lessons he has learnt and develop their skills to be better men and football players.

“When starting this academy, it was my intention to instil important lessons from proper football training, to teaching our young boys of today to be young men of tomorrow,” said Virtue. “With devoting the past 15 years towards football training with all teams and entering local tournaments, it was time to switch things up in preparing our players for the next level.”

For Virtue, the next level requires discipline, organisation and team-building skills. While playing football in his early adulthood life in America, he describes the teams in the United States to be more focused on organisation and discipline when compared to tactical skills.

“Working with the boys to emphasise their tactical and technical football skills has been great but I wanted to give the players an opportunity to see the benefit of organisation and discipline as a team in order to get to the next level,” he said.

Although Virtue’s intention was to provide an opportunity for the players to learn and develop individually and as a team, all three teams and coaches made a huge impact within the tournament. The tournament began Friday, May 24, at the Warhill Soccer Complex, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, US.

IMPRESSIVE RAW TALENT

The under-9, under-11, and under-12 teams each took home the gold, leaving the best US-based teams amazed at the raw talent the Ballaz players possessed.

When speaking with the organiser of the tournament and general manager of the Tidewater Sharks team, Chris Scrofani shared how impressive the Ballaz Football Organisation was.

“It was very exciting for us to host an international team for the first time since inception, more so because we believed they really set the bar,” said Scrofani. “The Ballaz team was most impressive not only with their technical skills but the organisation of the coaches and the academy as a whole. When our Tidewater Sharks under 12 team, which I may add is popularly known as one of the stronger teams in the tournament, played Ballaz on Friday, it pretty much set the standard of play for the tournament.”

“So definitely it was fantastic to have them join us this year, we were impressed with the team as a whole. We are hoping that this may spark a new trend for us hosting a bunch of other international clubs,” said Scrofani.