Koehler’s kick helps his team win Italian soccer tourney
Written by Pete Borello – Town Crier Staff Writer
WEDNESDAY, 19 JUNE 2002
Los Altos resident Danny “Dano” Koehler and his teammates on an under-13 boys soccer team showed Italy that Americans can play Europe’s most popular sport.
The team of select players from around the Bay Area, named De Anza Santos, last month won the Giovani Speranze Europee international youth soccer tournament in Rozzano, Italy.
“Everyone was surprised, not that we won, but that we played very nice soccer,” team director Paolo Carbone said. “We played European soccer – on the ground with a lot of passing.”
De Anza Santos was the first U.S. team to compete in the tourney, which also featured six teams from Italy and one from Switzerland.
The Americans went 3-0 in the competition and outscored their opponents 9-1.
De Anza Santos edged Verona Hellas F.C. of Italy 1-0 in the championship match, with Danny delivering the deciding goal in the second half.
“It was a magnificent goal,” Carbone said. “It was on a counterattack and he was one-on-one with a player. He took a shot from about 12 yards and it just went over the (goal)keeper. It was great execution from the kid.”
It’s a good bet Danny won’t soon forget that goal – or his 12-day visit to Italy.
“The whole trip was really cool and winning the tournament was like a dream,” the forward/midfielder said. “The team really came together. It was awesome.”
Danny, a who just completed the seventh grade at Egan Intermediate School, was the lone Los Altos representative on the team. The squad – coached by former Foothill College soccer standout Fabian Garza – also featured players from San Jose, Cupertino, Danville, Alamo, Santa Cruz, Aptos, San Ramon, Los Gatos and Pleasant Hill.
Danny and most of his teammates were selected for the tournament based on their play at last summer’s AC Milan Junior Camp in Los Altos.
The weeklong camp was run by coaches from AC Milan, one of the top professional club teams in Italy.
“Danny was determined to be selected for this team,” said his mother, Cathy Koehler.
Danny never missed a practice, according to Carbone, and showed plenty of potential.
“We were very happy to have him on the team,” Carbone said. “He’s going to be a very good player.”