Nike’s The Chance might be done and dusted (for now), but the most exciting part of the program has only just begun for the 16 finalists, as they kicked off their World Tour in Portland.
After more than 100,000 players from 55 countries around the world participated applied to take part in Nike’s The Chance in 2012, the final 16 players kicked off their global tour at Nike’s World Headquarters in Oregon, U.S this past weekend.
Not wanting to give them the wrong first impression on living the life of a professional player, Nike put the final 16 through a series of intense training and elite testing during their first week on tour in preparation for upcoming games. Players were assessed through Nike SPARQ, a training and conditioning system that helps build better athletes.
“The Chance offers young players from around the world a great opportunity to showcase their talent and develop their skills on a global stage,” said French football legend Laurent Blanc, who spent time with the players in Barcelona.
“These 16 finalists have proved their ability during the global finals at FC Barcelona, now they have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to test their skills against some world-class players who are part of established academy teams.”
The 16 finalists will benefit from an extended team of elite coaches, nutritionists and fitness conditioners throughout the tour, to ensure they arrive at each game focused and in peak condition. Each match will represent a chance for players to catch the eye of leading club coaches in the game.
During the tour, the team will also experience the cultural diversity of each place they train and play in cities ranging from Los Angeles to Turin, Italy and Manchester, United Kingdom, where they will take on some of the most renowned academy teams in the world including Manchester United, Juventus and a U.S. National Team Youth squad over a 6-week world tour.
The 16 finalists on the tour are as follows:
Ismail H’Maidat (Belgium), Dario Van Den Buijs (Belgium), Dimitris Komnos (Greece), Marco Vinicius Di Lauro (Italy), Ryosuke Kinoshita (Japan), Kirill Laptev (Russia), Petar Golubovic (Serbia), Teboho Charlie Tsotetsi (South Africa), Saifeddine Alami Bazza (Spain), Gonzalo Balbi (Spain), Bubakary Sonko (Sweden), Jose Figura (United Kingdom), Brian Iloski (United States), Kevin Salazar Chiquiza (Colombia), Joel Bravo (Ecuador) and Fernando Canales (Peru).
The final player selected from the global tour will join the Nike Academy, based at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, on March 1st for the remainder of the season. The Nike Academy plays a series of fixtures against FA Premier League reserve and academy teams.
But is that the end of their journey? Maybe not, as The Chance has now trasformed 16 players lives, turning their participation into a professional club contract.
The most recent, Tom Rogic from Australia, signed for Scottish Champions Celtic FC and recently played for the Australia national team.
Jealous? We know we are!