Rovers Youth Academy player Jack "Ocho" Fasteen is spending the month of February at the Real Vicenza Academy in Vicenza, Italy, where he will train and play matches as a part of their International Academy program. Real Vicenza, a former 3rd division professional club, and affiliate of Serie A's Genoa CFC 1893, established it's International Academy to provide talented players identified from around the world the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of a professional soccer player in Italy and have their game assessed with the potential to create a pathway to the professional game. Over the course of the next month, Fasteen will live at the italian academy, honing his skills, increasing his knowledge of the game, and gaining an understanding of what it means to be professional player. In addition to training twice daily six days a week, the Vicenza Academy players will compete in a series of matches against the sides from some of the top Italian clubs in the region including Chievo Verona, Udinese, and Calcio Padova.
Fasteen, who is now 16, has been a standout with the Rovers Youth Academy since it's inception in 2012. Rovers Technical Director Nathan Pitcock had this to say about the player and this tremendous opportunity, "Our ultimate goal as a club has always been to progress as many players as possible to the highest levels of the game. We stress that in oder to achieve their goals players have to be willing to go beyond their comfort zone, to truly test themselves. Jack has always been a player who had the drive to do this. His approach to the game is relentless, always pushing himself every time he sets foot on the field. He's earned this opportunity and the timing is right for him to take this next step which will undoubtedly further his development as a player."
Fasteen received this opportunity as the result of scouting conducted by Lee Chalmers while coaching the Rovers PDL side last summer. Chalmers recommended Fasteen for the Vicenza International Academy, and through his sports management company, Vivo 7 Sports, which specializes in providing opportunities for athletes, coordinated the training experience in Italy. Chalmers explained, "this is not a training clinic or a tournament, but rather a month-long assessment. Jack will be given the chance to train daily with the coaches in the technical and tactical sessions and compete in the full matches. The most important aspect is for him to be assessed at the highest level and for him to be tested and measured against top players his own age within a professional setting. The expectation is not necessarily for him to sign a professional contract, but rather to gauge his level and then to make decisions regarding his pathway moving forward based on the assessment."
We all wish Jack the best on his odyssey into the European professional game, and will be closely monitoring his progress. Good luck Ocho! #AlwaysBlackNBlue #Path2Pro