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Next Gen USA continues to identify and develop the best youth talent America has to offer.  In the last year, they have sent youth teams around the world to compete against the top professional  academies and compete they did.  After a solid quarterfinal run by their 04 squad in March at the MIC CUP in SPAIN and a great tournament by their 02’s, they sent another squad of 03’s to Bassevelde, Belgium where they also matched up and turned some heads with another solid tournament performance.  This summer, they sent an incredibly talented 06 squad to the IBER CUP in Spain and they won it.  What’s the secret?  A great player progression system, solid training staff and extremely talented and motivated players in their system.

Perhaps one of their most motivated players is South Carolina’s Will Cardona.  Cardona has been in the system for some time now.  He has traveled the world playing in the very best tournaments.  Cardona’s gutsy, blue collar, never quit attitude as a defender has helped him on the International stage.  He has been on trial with Brentford in England.  Currently, Cardona is finishing up a 2 month training stint with CA BANFIELD in Argentina.  As Cardona was preparing to head back to his family in South Carolina, I sat down and talked to Cardona Tuesday night at the campus of CA BANFIELD , just outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I want to be a professional one day” Cardona said when I asked him his motivation for leaving family and friends for two month of training in Argentina.  ” The players here are passionate and play their hearts out.  It’s their chance to better the lives of their families”, Cardona added.  Cardona was full of passion when talking about what a great experience the past 2 months have been.  ” I love and miss my family and I’m looking forward to getting home.  That being said, I want to be a world class footballer and I can’t wait to get back here. ”   He went on to credit Next Gen USA for their roll in his success.  “Next Gen USA has been great for me.   Traveling the world, playing with Next Gen got me ready for the physical, fast paced nature of the games and training here in Argentina.”  Cardona added, “Next Gen is a family of great people with many great players and I’m proud to be down here with others who have excelled through Next Gen USA.”  Tony Williams   , Director of Player Development had this to say about Cardona. ” Will Cardona has had such a great experience which is not surprising.  We knew the quality of his character and personality.  Add to that the fact that he can speak the language makes it a lot easier.  With that said, the promising players in North America are never going to  reach their potential unless they  get international experiences like this.    We can stay in North America talking about passion like this  but they have to experience the type of experience we are having today.  Will has lived this lifestyle for 2 months and it’s going to make him a better player and a better person.”

For myself personally, this is my second International experience with Will.  I was with Will in March in Spain and his professionalism on and off the field is unmatched. Will Cardona  is truly a special player and just a great kid who has a tremendous future ahead of him.  Signing off from beautiful Argentina….Ron Dawson

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