A 15-year-old Springwood boy left on the trip of a lifetime on Sunday, heading off to Northern Ireland to compete in the prestigious Dale Farm Milk Cup in Belfast — Northern Ireland’s own world cup.
Dom Brischetto is part of Sydney United’s under-15s side. His team will compete against some of the best in the world in their age group, in a cracking competition matching 28 teams against each other.
His Edensor Park-based side was invited to compete in the youth tournament, which has a past pedigree of players that includes superstars David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. (In the 2002 FIFA World Cup there were 30 Milk Cup veterans playing.)
Dom’s mother, Learne Brischetto, said it was a great chance for the team to measure themselves against youth sides from prominent clubs like Manchester United and other top teams from Europe and around the world.
“A lot of boys that played in the Milk Cup are now playing in the World Cup, it’s the trip of a lifetime in terms of soccer and the prestige of the Cup,” she said.
“It will be a mental and physical challenge for the boys to see how good they are.”
Dom started his soccer career at Springwood in the under 5s (where he won the nursery trophy) and regularly played up several years. He then played for Nepean, before being selected for Sydney United where he now plays in the pivotal defending role of centre back.
The Blue Mountains Grammar School student trains three nights a week and his next goal is to play for the Western Sydney Wanderers.
“If I get the opportunity I’ll take it with both hands,” he said.
Recently Wanderers coach Tony Popovic came to offer the boys a few pointers on how to survive in the competition overseas.
“He said, ‘if you guys want it, you can make it, you can be seen, but you have to really want it’,” Dom told the Gazette.
“My whole team was so pumped [about training with Popovic], we were playing so well because he was watching us.”
The idea to take part in the Irish tournament came from assistant coach Neil Glass whose son, Callum, spent three months playing with northern Irish club Linfield two years ago and who plays in an older team in the club.
After witnessing that high level football Mr Glass lobbied to get a team in the tournament. Dom’s team already play in the NSW Premier League.
Speaking to Dom last Friday two days before he flew out, he admitted to being both “nervous and excited” about the Irish opportunity. He was well aware he could be playing future 2022 Qatar World Cup contenders.
“That excites me, if I don’t make it when I’m older I can say ‘I versed him and tackled him a few times’,”he said.
Another famous Brischetto, uncle and godfather Michael, co-owner of The Carrington Hotel, said the extended family was “very excited for Dominic”.
Laughing at the suggestion his nephew was a ‘little legend’ he said, “I don’t know about little, he has already hit the 6 foot mark. It’s no fun playing soccer with him in the backyard anymoreâ€¦he runs rings around us all.”
The team’s first game is on July 28 against Japan, followed by an English and Irish team in the two days afterwards. Some matches will be broadcast on the BBC and showed online http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/milkcup.