By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Caledonia 7th grader Austin Meyer’s feet have carried him to Colorado, Arizona and in April will take him all the way to Milan and Florence, Italy.
A star player for his soccer team, the La Crosse Area Rush team, Meyer was chosen from a group of players from across the nation to participate in the “Italy Pro Tour, 2017.”
Meyer, his mother Stacie and his grandmother Judy Thesing will be flying to the country where, once there, Austin will participate in trainings and matches with some of the best soccer players from around the world.
“I was a little nervous inside about it at first,” he said of the opportunity. “But once my team leader talked to me about it I see it will be a great opportunity and it should be fun.”
“There are players from five different time zones going,” said his proud mother, Stacie. “He will be able to do some sight-seeing with me and my mom who is also going with us when he is not playing and practicing.”
Meyer was chosen by the Rush coordinator to try out in Arizona for the right to attend the pro tour in Italy.
“There were about 64 players from across the United States and 21 were selected,” Meyer said. “It was a three-day training, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We trained all day doing small side activities, and at night there were games.”
When Meyer goes he will represent the state of Wisconsin as that is the location of his Rush team.
“I’m excited to play,” he said. “But I’m a little bit nervous being so far away from home.”
Meyer, who will turn 13 during the nine day trip, said he’s looking most forward to the food.
“I love Italian,” he smiled.
Part of the itinerary includes lunch at the famous Luini Panzerotti and cake shop.
The group will tour the cathedral and visit the Milan Galleria.
“We will also be given a tour of AC Milan’s stadium,” Meyer said.
While Meyer is training with the other RUSH players, his mother and grandmother are expected to do some sight-seeing.
The pair will be part of a group of “supporters,” parents and guardians who accompany their children who will be going to Lugano Lake in Switzerland.
On the way to Florence, the group will stop and tour Tuscany.
During the matches, the adults will also get to visit Fattoria il Poggio for a guided tour and local food and wine tasting.
Meyer said he is looking forward to learning from and competing against the best competition.
He’s been playing soccer since he was five and plays year round.
“My mom said she always loved watching my uncle play so she signed me up,” he said.
Meyer likes to play midfield and forward.
“It’s an honor to be selected,” he said. “I’m thankful to my family and all of my coaches for the support they’ve given me.”
Austin is the son of Darin and Stacie and his brothers Miles and Landon think the honor is pretty cool, too.