Following an international search for the 16 best young unafiliated football players in world football, Nike's innovative The Chance winners kicked-off their global tour in Oregon, USA this week. The elite young ballers, including the UK's Jose Figura, were selected from an original pool of more than 100,000 players from 55 countries, will now embark on a six-week global training tour, playing some of the most renowned academy teams in the world including Manchester United, Juventus and a U.S. National Team Youth squad.
One player from the 16 finalists on the tour will ultimately join the incredible Nike Academy – a full-time player academy based in England and supported by the FA Premier League.
Former France manager and undeniable footballing legend Laurent Blanc is one of many high profile advocates of Nike's The Chance campaign, offering "The Chance offers young players from around the world a great opportunity to showcase their talent and develop their skills on a global stage,” continuing "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."
Making the most of their time on The Chance global tour with a team of elite coaches, nutritionists and fitness conditioners, The Chance Head Coach Jimmy Gilligan predicts the final 16 will see massive benefit “From the intense atmosphere of FC Barcelona’s training ground these 16 players have shown the maturity, skill and attitude to take their game to the next level. The challenge now is to take that experience, unify as a team and compete against some of the best young players in the world. This is their chance to step up and get noticed at the highest level of the game.”
The Chance winners will be hoping to emulate former The Chance winner Tom Rogic who signed for Scottish Champions Celtic FC and recently made his debut for the Australian national team.
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).
Follow The Chance global tour via @NikeFootball on Twitter and stay tuned for announcements on The Chance 2013.
The UK's Jose Figura