In late July, 14-year-old Colton Mills bravely embarked on a journey that would take him across the globe to play a game he loves.
Along with Half Moon Bay resident Pablo Jaramillo, Mills joined his team in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he’d test himself against some of the best young soccer players in the world.
The Gothia Cup is considered to be one of the world’s largest youth soccer tournaments. According to the tourney website, the competition hosts 1,700 teams from 80 nations.
Mills has been playing soccer since he was very young, first traveling to San Mateo to play with the Peninsula United Soccer Club before joining the Force North club. For Mills, who will be attending Half Moon Bay High School as a freshman, this was his first year with the Force North.
“I’d tried out with Force the year before. They offered me a spot, but I chose to continue with Peninsula United for one more year,” he said. “It just was the right choice.”
It was during a Force North team meeting that the club began to discuss competing on a world-class level.
“At first there was talk of Spain, but we ended up in Sweden,” remembered Mills. “We knew almost immediately that we were going to go. It was a huge opportunity.”
In mid-July, Jaramillo and Mills boarded a plane for Gothenburg where they would mingle with other like-minded players united by their love of the game. The boys bunked with their teammates in a high school classroom along with 14 other players.
“All the teams stayed at high schools,” said Heidi Mills. “High schools all…
click here to read more.