Sekon achieves goal in Milan
By JON WALSH SENTINEL STAFF WRITER
SANTA CRUZ — Chris Sekon’s world expanded by unbelievable proportions last August when the 12-year old Santa Cruz resident made a trip to Milan, Italy.
Sekon was one of three Bay Area players to receive an invitation to play in the Trofeo Berlusconi, a game featuring top youth players, in San Siro Stadium, home of the legendary European team AC Milan.
Sekon was exposed to a new side of soccer, where fans are passionate about the sport and where AC Milan routinely packs its 80,000-seat stadium.
Sekon also learned about a new culture, new people and unique foods.
“It was fun over there,’’ Sekon said Thursday. “I liked it because there was an ice cream store at the end of the block (from his hotel).”
“It’s called gellato,’’ Cabrillo College women’s soccer coach Paolo Carbone said, correcting his young pupil.
It was at Carbone’s soccer camp at UC Santa Cruz, the AC Milan Junior Camp, where Sekon’s journey to Milan began. Sekon was selected from a group of over 60 prestigious players to receive an all-expenses paid invitation.
Sekon didn’t waste his opportunity. He scored two goals and is believed to be only the second American to ever score in the famed stadium, Alexi Lalas being the other. After the game, Sekon was interviewed on live, national TV. “It was a good experience,’’ Sekon said. “I play better if I play with better kids.”
Sekon also met the FIFA Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane of France.
Sekon’s visit to Milan was the reward for eight years of hard work. “I’ve been playing since I was three,’’ he said. “My dad got me started and I got help from a lot of people and coaches. When I started, it was just for fun. But when I got to be 10 or 11, I just kept working at it.”
Sekon, who attends Shoreline Middle School, plans to return to Milan in 2002 and hopes to one day play for AC Milan or the U.S. National Team.
The AC Milan Junior Camp, where Sekon caught the eye of AC Milan representatives, will return to UC Santa Cruz and be held July 30-Aug. 3. The camp is designed for advanced players age 10-15. For more information, call (408) 554-6448 or visit www.acmilanjrcamp.com.