Barons youth to play Inter Milan U-17s

Exhibition kicks off the "Inter Village" festivities

The South Jersey Barons Under-17 team will take on one of the best youth clubs in the world when Italian Serie A powerhouse Inter Milan travels to New Jersey on August 21.

The match, which will be held at Arthur Johnson High School in Clark, NJ, is one of two exhibition games for Inter’s youth squad, which captured the 2007/08 Italian Serie A Under-17 championship. Two days later, the Italians will take on the Under-17 team from the New York Red Bulls in Newark, NJ.

The two games lead up to "Inter Village", the main event of Inter Milan’s trip to the United States, which is organized by Inter Club Moratti, a New York-based fan club led by president Stefano Turriciano. Inter Village will take place August 23-24 in New York City and will give young players an opportunity to learn directly from youth coaches from the Italian champions. The event will be held at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village, NY and features games, clinics, and free Inter Milan merchandise.

The exhibition games were put together by Inter Club Facchetti of New Jersey, a newly-formed group of fans of Inter Milan in the Garden State. Aldo Tripicchio founded it this past January and is currently the club’s president. They had their inaugural dinner in February, and have high hopes for the success for the group, as well as helping Inter continue to create a strong presence in the United States.

"We’re looking forward to establishing strong relationships with the club," said Tripicchio. "There has been talk of bringing additional Inter camps to New Jersey and New York next year."

This is a dream come true for Ocean City Barons president John Granese, who was born and raised in the small Italian town of Montella, which is about 60 miles east of Napoli. He has been an Inter Milan fan since childhood and some of his fondest memories are of Inter winning back-to-back European championships in the 1960s. His favorite player was Roberto Boninsegna who, in addition to his impressive club career in Italy, scored a dramatic equalizer for the Italian National Team in the 1970 World Cup Final against Brazil [a game Brazil would eventually win, 4-1].

"I have never been able to attend an Inter game in person, so this is very special for me," said Granese. "This will also be the first time that I will be rooting against Inter."

He added, "This will be a great experience for the Barons young lads to measure themselves against one of the best youth teams in the world." 

It is an exciting time for the Barons organization that week as coaches from English Championship side Reading F.C. will be in South Jersey conducting the Barons Academy Camps. With the Inter match upcoming, the Barons will be holding a special one-day session on August 20, where any academy players over 15 and under 17 are invited to earn a chance to play against the Italians. Following the one-day camp, Barons general manager Neil Holloway and the Reading F.C. coaches will choose the players and will be leading that team against Inter Milan.

The Barons Under-17 team plans to bring a strong side, having added another accomplishment to it’s resume this season. Two years ago, as a U-15 team, they qualified for the national finals in Tampa, FL. With a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Rangers on July 19, the Barons finished Super Y-League play with an 8-2-2 record, and punched their ticket to the national tournament again.

Inter Milan’s "Allievi Nazionali" (which means "Junior Nationals") not only boasts last season’s Serie A championship, but they have one of their own making a name for himself at the next level. Mario Balotelli ("Super Mario"), is one of the top young prospects in the world, and at the age of 17, made his debut with Inter’s senior side last season. He scored two goals in league play and added four more in the Coppa Italia, and is expected to make earn his first cap with the Italian national team after he turns 18 years old.

The Allievi Nazionali will play the Barons on Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the event, which is sponsored by the Clark Soccer Club, are $3.00 for adults and kids under 18 are free.

For ticket information, please call 732-371-6797, or visit the Inter Club Facchetti of New Jersey website at www.interclubnj.com.

Inter Milan (officially named "F.C. Internazionale Milano") is one of the premier clubs in world soccer, having won 16 Serie A championships, two European Cups (1963-64, 1964-65) and three UEFA Cup titles (1990-91, 1993-94, 1997-98). Millions of their fans around the world have witnessed the club making history over the last three years as they have captured three consecutive league championships for the first time in their 101-year history. In the upcoming 2008-09 season, Inter fans will continue to have high standards with former Chelsea F.C. (English Premier League) manager Jose Mourinho in charge of the club.

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