Julian Avila has been kicking around a soccer ball since the age of three, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Avila just returned from nine days in Florida with the U15 Canadian national team. While there, the midfielder practised twice a day and played two friendlies with the U15 American team. Avila didn’t play the first game, which his team lost 3-0, but he did play the second, where they lost again 2-0.
Though the 15-year-old grew up in Kingston, Ont., Mexico City, Mexico, Wolfville, N.S., and then finally Winnipeg, it was in Wolfville that he was really pushed to improve.
"I played more age-advanced a lot," said the Grade 10 Glenlawn Collegiate student. "So I’d play one or two years up and then I’d guest play for teams that were U14 when I was seven."
When the Avilas moved to Winnipeg when Julian was 10, he made the U13 provincial team.
"Then the technical director saw me and he really liked how I was playing, so he brought me to play at the (Regional Training Centre)," said Avila. "But that’s really how it all started."
Since then, Avila has played for the provincial team and in the provincial all-stars games, where he was recruited to join the national team.
While in Florida, Avila learned some new skills on and off the field.
"I had to remind myself to drink a lot of water, because you get dehydrated really easily," said Avila, who added the weather was upwards of 25 degrees Celsius. "They also gave us these watches to monitor our sleep. It really helped to get at least nine hours of sleep before a day of training."
Now back in Glenlawn’s elite soccer program, Avila has heard the Vancouver Whitecaps FC has its eye on him.
"They wanted to see me play in their residency," Avila said, who went to a trial in August. "They said to keep improving and I’ll be there soon hopefully."
When he isn’t on the field, Avila also plays singles badminton for Glenlawn.