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Apr, 2020

Internationals SC Players Test Themselves Against World-Class Competition

At the International Champions Cup (ICC) Futures, Mia Bhuta, Grace Jackson, and Josie Owen-Kren had the unique opportunity of facing off against some of the world’s top academies, including the likes of FC Barcelona and PSG.  The tournament, modeled after the professional International Champions Cup (ICC) that brings out hundreds of thousands of fans each summer, is widely considered one of the top youth tournaments in the world.

Club and ECNL Director Keri Sarver was excited to have Internationals SC players involved with the event.

"We are thrilled with the experience and lessons-learned that our players were able to take away from their participation in the ICC Futures event,” Sarver said. “Kudos to the event coordinators and coaches for creating an excellent environment for all participants.  Our players were challenged outside of their comfort zone by playing with new players and competing against different styles of national and international caliber competition. We are also proud of the way Mia, Grace, and Josie represented our club on and off the field.”

The trio was part of the ICC Midwest squad that finished 5-1 overall, just missing the knockout stage.  The opportunity was special for all involved.

“It was really cool to participate in the ICC Futures,” Jackson said. “I loved it.  Competing with international teams with different styles of play was a great learning experience.  Playing against iconic clubs such as Barcelona and PSG was surreal.  It was an honor to be selected to participate on the ICC Midwest team.  I was really happy three girls from ISC got to experience this event together.”  

Owen-Kren agreed.

“It was so much fun to compete against great teams from all over the world,” Owen-Kren said. “It was challenging but lots of fun.  I was very happy and excited to be selected because I knew it would be a great tournament with great players.”

Getting to play at the prestigious IMG Academy, one of the top sporting facilities in the entire country, was an added bonus. 

“The IMG facility is an amazing atmosphere,” Jackson continued. “The facility is top notch and well-organized.  The level of play was very good with different styles of play on display.  Even the ECNL Regional All-Star Teams competed well despite our lack of playing together before the event.  I think it speaks to the high level of play we see in ENCL throughout the year.”

Playing at IMG was beneficial for Owen-Kren.

“IMG was extremely nice and gave a great atmosphere during the games,” Owen-Kren added. “It was a very high level of play because the teams and players from around the country and world play at a fast, high level.”

The three players worked hard throughout the year to earn the opportunity.  The chance to represent the Midwest against the world was well-earned. 

“The ICC Midwest team was made up of players from several Midwest clubs,” Jackson explained. “It was a great group of girls and the team got along well.  We tried out in August at a two-day training.  I was familiar with several of the players on the ICC Midwest team because ISC had played against them or trained with them at ECNL training events.  So getting to know them better and playing on the same team was fun.”

“I was selected for the USL Experience after my Internationals SC team won the Super Y National Finals,” Owen-Kren noted. “Getting together and playing with people from across the country help prepare me to blend in with new teammates.  Participating in YNT ID Training Centers helped me prepare for higher competition plus, playing in the ECNL every year and being coached by great coaches and practicing everyday against great teammates at Internationals SC prepared me for elite competition.”   

And elite competition at a world-class facility was just what these three players encountered as part of the ICC Futures.   

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