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Teen plays soccer for Whitecaps

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Daniel Sagno is playing soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He recently came back from an identification camp in Florida with his U15 teammates.

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Daniel Sagno is playing soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He recently came back from an identification camp in Florida with his U15 teammates. Photo Store

From Guinea to Winnipeg to Vancouver, Daniel Sagno is making his soccer dreams come true.

Sagno, 15, moved to Winnipeg’s West End from Guinea on Dec. 1, 2004, when he was just five-years-old. But he wasn’t meant to stay in Winnipeg for long. Initially playing soccer for the Portage Trail Soccer Club, he was later recruited to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC a year and a half ago, playing for the U15 team.

Sagno has been playing soccer since he was five-years-old.

"I really loved soccer, but never really could afford playing on a team," Sagno said. "I was playing in a park one day, and a guy saw me and asked me to play for his team. He asked my mom, and she signed papers, and that’s where it all started out."

Sagno said he keeps in touch with his five siblings once in awhile, and that he comes home for Christmas and summer holidays.

"My mom passed away recently in September. My dad passed away when I was eight, so my brothers have been raising me along with some help from family and friends," Sagno said.

He and his U15 teammates recently returned from Florida where they participated in a training camp less than a month ago.

"It’s an identification camp. Well, maybe not quite, some players have already been identified, but this is Daniel’s first time," said Rich Fagan, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U16 Residency head coach. "It’s the group’s second time together, but this will be Daniel’s first time with the group."

Sagno, who plays winger and centre forward, said he had a great time in Florida.

"It was a great experience, training with a bunch of guys I’d never played with before," Sagno recalled.

Once he came back to Vancouver, he was back to the day-to-day routine of training and playing.

"We play every two weeks, but Monday to Friday, we’re training," Fagan said.

Sagno and his team train in the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 7:20 a.m., lifting weights and exercising for an hour before they go to school. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, they are on the field from 3 to 5 p.m.

With practices, games, and school, Sagno is keeping busy, but he still occasionally thinks of Winnipeg.

"Being away from home at such a young age, I thought it’d be a struggle, but the squad and the coaches are really great," Sagno said.

For more information about the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, visit whitecapsfc.com

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