The youth national football team from Paraguay is visiting the United States for the first time in history. The team is staying in Tulsa, playing exhibition games against two universities and working out at local gyms.
Organizers with USA Becas Deportivas and Total 90 Futbol Academy in Jenks have been working on the plan for years. The visit gives the players the opportunity to experience facilities and workouts happening in the United States.
The team spent time working out with kids from the Tulsa area at The Sports Armory in Jenks on Friday morning.
“To see an international crossover for those kids to want to show off and do their best in front of kids from another country, that was really big,” said Coach Jeff Pace, owner of The Sports Armory.
They will play an exhibition game against the Oral Roberts women’s soccer team at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening. All members of the team are under the age of 20, and the federation is hopeful many of the athletes will be a part of the senior national team someday.
“Paraguay wanted to have this opportunity for the girls and play in a very strong and organized college league in the U.S.,” said Douglas Martinez Caballero, the team’s Director of Development.
Organizers are hopeful this is not a one-time occasion.
“We would love to see it go both ways, some of our players go there, see what the culture is like,” said Alexander McLaurin, owner of Total 90 Futbol Academy.
The team will also be introduced during halftime of FC Tulsa’s game on Saturday. They will play another exhibition game against the University of Tulsa’s soccer team on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. before making a stop in Arkansas and then heading home.
Tickets for both of the exhibition games are $5.