Coaches of ACF Fiorentina — one of Italy’s biggest soccer clubs — are in the Lower Mainland next week to promote the sport and scout local youth at a four-day Fiorentina Camp in Burnaby.
Antonio Salerno, general manger of ACF Fiorentina, said B.C. has a lot of great athletes but when they hit a certain age, they choose sports like basketball or hockey because of the scholarships they provide.
“When an athlete turns 16, they have to make a choice about which sport provides the best opportunities,” he said. “There are no professional soccer teams here other than the Whitecaps, and that is why it gets viewed as more of a recreational activity.”
He blames the shortcomings of the national team on that lack of training for players in their prime years.
Salerno added the camp offers Fiorentina an opportunity to scout players to bring overseas.
“Burnaby is a central area for soccer in B.C. All we need to do is find the talent and make their dream a reality.”