New Blood in Boca Travel Soccer
By: Stephanie Fonseca
A new travel soccer league, FC Boca Predators, has emerged for the city of Boca Raton.
What started as an out of the box concept became a reality that two soccer parents invested in.
In June of 2015, Anthony Tortolini and Rackel Almeida had an idea, a new soccer program that could cater to soccer players in and around Boca Raton, who wanted to play more competitively than recreational soccer but wanted to stay out of the, what some consider as the soccer monopoly of Boca Raton.
Tortolini and Almeida, saw that these boys fit an area that was not catered to and made it a point that “they’re not kickballers, they’re soccer players,” said Tortolini.
The start off was rough with only one team with barely the starting 11. The means of finding a practice field, and equipment was difficult but Tortolini expressed how weathering the difficulties brought about an outcome that is blossoming.
The team started with six founding families who stuck with the team because of the differences that they brought to the field. A team that began playing beach soccer and indoor soccer as a way to start training and conditioning the players until they were able to get a field and could apply to play in tournaments. Little did Tortolini know, that another road block was ahead. Tournaments that he called told him that he had to be affiliated to an organization in order to join.
Back to the drawing board and the team was able to get affiliated with the USSSA and SFUYSA.
Tortolini started as the co-founder, field coach, and spokesperson for the team. When the team became teams, he knew that he had to bring in help. Ex-professional Colombian soccer player, known as Choco, was brought on to coach the U-17 squad and Argentine ex-soccer player, Chike, took over the U-15 team.
Bringing a different concept to tryouts, Tortolini explains that he is in charge of the initial selection and from there the player is passed on to the coaches, where an unbiased second opinion comes into play, so that no one plays favorites.
But Tortolini makes it a case that this team intentions are different than the ones that Boca Raton offers. “I started this for the boys, this club’s top priority is what is in the best interest of these boys,” said Tortolini. But having a strong root in his faith he also wanted to incorporate this into the team. It steared some families away but it also was the reason that it kept families around.
Trying to be different they brought an alternative method of training where a preliminary test, started by Real Madrid to examine player’s measurements, was given to their players as a means to find out where they stand and what needs to be worked on. The test analyzes the players tactical and technical capabilities, along with there they stand psychologically and physically.
“Although they all failed, it gave the players a basis and a goal to strive for,” said Tortolini.
Their training Tortolini says, “it’s not a way to keep bodies busy.” For two hours, the coaches train the players technically, no scrimmages. The coaches seek to make their players better so that they can get better for their school teams and when the time comes even apply them for international soccer teams that the coaches have connections to.
The season is year-round with a two-month winter break hiatus during December and January.
FC Boca Predators hold training three times a week, Thursday through Saturday at Sand Pine Park in Boca Raton.
The team moto, Tortolini says, “Is to build fine young men with a passion for soccer and give them a purpose.”
As they prepare for their Disney Cup International Celebration Cup in July, the Predators will be playing in the 9th Annual Palm Beach Cup and Sharks Soccer Cup and Showcase. The 9th Annual Palm Beach Cup will take place the weekend of May 6th.