A well-seasoned international soccer player imparted his wisdom on Nanaimo youth players Tuesday.
Mauro Rosales, a Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder who also has international and professional soccer experience, took questions from and told stories to soccer camp participants at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park.
Among Rosales’s accomplishments is taking gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics with his native Argentina.
”We beat Italy in the semifinal and Paraguay in the final 1-0,” said Rosales. “I had a chance to make the assist. What I can take from there is the experience that I had in sharing the village with all athletes … the basketball team that also got the gold medal. There was Manu Ginobili, the one who plays for the [San Antonio] Spurs, one of the biggest stars of that tournament. It was a great experience.”
Rosales also had the opportunity to play against arguably one of the best players in the world, FC Barcelona forward and fellow Argentinian Lionel Messi.
“We played in friendly games in Spain when he was the age of, I think, 18 or 19. Already you could see he would become one of the best … He’s a great guy, humble. Everything he got, he got because he really loves soccer,” said Rosales.
When asked about what children can do to become better players during a question period, Rosales advised them to enjoy the game.
“When I was little, what was coming first to my mind was just enjoy and to share the time with the same guys your age loving the sport,” said Rosales. “Being outside, playing at this facility, playing here, sharing times with your family, parents all the time, is priceless. So enjoy every moment that you have.”