NCE Soccer are working to turn Thomas Rodriguez’s dreams into a reality.
With an assist from NCE, the youngster is now celebrating an international call-up, a scholarship to a historic English school and professional trials at the oldest Football League club in the world.
Decent hat-trick don’t you think?
Thomas VB Rodriquez jetted out on Valentines Day to San Juan to join up with the Puerto Rico National team for the Under 20s FIFA Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers.
The midfielder and the squad will take on the Cayman Islands, Barbados and then Bermuda in a bid to secure their place at the U20 Championship before flying back to the States.
He has 48-hours to re-pack his luggage for the trip to England to begin a scholarship with the hugely prestigious Repton School.
NCE Founder John Curtis said: “We are so pleased for Thomas and are delighted that we have been able to help him on his way towards the professional game.
“Thomas has excelled in our programs over several years and I had no hesitation about recommending him for this prestigious program…As part of NCE Pro Pathway, I hope more and more players can benefit from experiences like this.”
Curtis has worked with Thomas since he impressed at the NY Metro Basking Ridge, COE program in 2015. Thomas progressed through the NCE Pathway, including the COE in NJ before graduating to the prestigious NCE Select Squad.
His performances led NCE Soccer founder Curtis to arrange for the youngster to train at ChievoVerona international academy on trial as part of the Pro Pathway course, before being invited to try out with the Puerto Rican side – where he teamed up with fellow NCE Soccer successes Sebastian and Andrea Cutler.
Now Curtis has arranged for him to study at Repton and then train with Notts County as he bids to make the step-up into the professional game.
Mom Lydia, said: “Tommy was able to receive a high level of training at NCE Soccer and the direction for his individual pathway as well as work in the group.
“Whenever and wherever we attended NCE clinics, we always encountered very sophisticated training. The Centers of Excellence clinics would have a mix of kids come in.
“Sometimes Tommy could be one of the the oldest kids there. But when you have great trainers focused on drills developed to improve individual skills, the player always comes out improved.
“Some would say you have to be in an elite group of only very talented kids to improve. Worldwide soccer shows a different example. Whatever the group, if the training is excellent, each player will rise to his potential. Especially during the formative years.
“Tom was also part of the elite group selected for regional training sessions and was able to go to a tournament. This enabled him to have playing experiences outside his own club.
“In his home club, he may have been slotted into a certain position necessary for that team. In the NCE team experience, coaches saw other potential positions for him that he could play. He also got feedback on his weaknesses and practical ways to improve his field performance.
“By freshman year in high school, when Tom had been in the Academy level team and he had had a week to train with PSV Eindhoven, he was realizing he needed another level of training to compete at the highest levels.
“Because we knew his athleticism would allow him to get to the highest levels, we agreed we should try to find something. John Curtis had checked in with us and I had shared this with him. He mentioned that he would be delighted to help find something. But I didn’t really expect him to do so with all he has going on.
“But sure enough, he got back in touch and told us about a few different ideas he had for helping Tom train at the next level.
“Having been recommended by John, Tom was able to attend the ChievoVerona International Academy in Verona. In January, he was the youngest player named to the u20 Puerto Rican National Team Roster; he is eligible to play 2 cycles in that age group. Most likely, he would not have had the opportunity or success without John’s guiding hand.
“Meanwhile, John Curtis had been on the lookout for a spring training opportunity for Thomas with a school attachment. John connected us with the coach and admissions staff at Repton School, Repton, England.
“We can not thank John and NCE Soccer enough and now we hope Tommy can go on and finish the job!”
Thomas will study PE A-Level before beginning a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Sport in September as well as playing soccer for the school. Repton School is a 13–18-year-old mixed, Christian, independent, day and boarding school in Repton, Derby, Derbyshire, England which was founded in 1557.
They have ten boarding houses catering for 640 students aged 13-18 years-of-age and have very high standards. Each year around 10% of pupils are offered places at either Oxford or Cambridge Universities.
The cherry on the cake for Thomas and his family is that during the summer he will begin trials with Notts County Football Club – the oldest professional football club in the world!
NCE Soccer looks forward to welcoming more players into our NCE ProPathway, the very pinnacle of NCE programming.
NCE ProPathway was created for players who have demonstrated they have the desire, character and potential to play at the professional level can be offered the opportunity to travel to Europe to attend trials at professional clubs.
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