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Pair of sophomores strive for professional soccer career

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Grand opportunities have arisen for Harrisonburg soccer players, sophomores Lucio Bianchi and Anthony Lopez. These two players had the opportunity to play ball in Camp Nou, Barcelona, which they took advantage of. It all started when Bianchi informed his teammate, Lopez, of the FCBEscola Soccer Camp, which was now being hosted in the United States. They attended the camp together in the summer of 2017, but Bianchi first went in the summer of 2016.

Sophomore Lucio Bianchi possesses the ball after a tackle.

“I went to the camp in Richmond, [and after the camp] they invited a selection of players [to go play in Spain],” Bianchi said. “I told Anthony about it because I knew he’d be down to go with me [to Spain].”
Both players began playing at a young age on the same teams. Lopez and Bianchi both play on the local club team, SVU, and the varsity team at HHS. Left back Lopez and striker Bianchi picked up skills at the camp that have made a difference in their playing methods on the field.

 Sophomore Anthony Lopez crosses up the attacker.

“Some skills we picked up were communicating more and passing accurately,” Lopez said. “We got a lot [more] touches on the ball than I usually get at any camp, which seemed crazy and new to me.”
Both players are returning to Barcelona this upcoming summer, in hopes of meeting some more famous, big name players. Lopez did confess that a huge reason why he wanted to go to Barcelona was to meet players. So far, Bianchi and Lopez have met Brazilian players Neymar, and Rafinha, and Spanish players Jordi Alba and Xavi. Additionally, Bianchi’s parents had the chance to snap a quick selfie with Barcelona’s stars, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
“My parents had it real lucky to [get to] meet Messi and Suarez,” Bianchi said. “They probably bonded since my parents are from Uruguay [Suarez’s country], which is neighbors with Argentina [Messi’s country].”
Before Bianchi departs, he will have to prepare how he usually does. His preparation includes work outs in his gym, and taking a few touches on the ball on a daily basis. Both athletes have realized the opportunities they have ahead of them. A goal they both have is to play professionally in the future. Lopez noticed how competitive all the players at the camp were. Because of this, it pushes him to become stronger as each season and camp goes by.
“The players there were competitive. [Because of this], I know I need to become better and push through,” Lopez said. “[This camp] is like going to any camp, pero mas mejor.”

Photo courtesy of Lucio Bianchi
Bianchi visits the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.
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Pair of sophomores strive for professional soccer career