MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Jorge Ruiz started playing soccer when he was seven years old, and it wasn’t long before those around him realized that he was extremely talented.
“I’ve had a few coaches and they like to see things in me,” Jorge said. “Not trying to say that I’m really good and stuff, but they were like looking at me and like, ‘Oh, he’s going somewhere.’ So I realized that I should like to exercise more. “
As his star was rising, an incredible opportunity presented itself last summer. He was selected to attend the US Soccer Camp hosted by Juventus, one of the most prestigious Italian soccer teams, after his essay was selected as part of a competition.
After his performance at that camp, Jorge was invited by Juventus to Italy to showcase his skills as part of the USA program. The only problem was the cost.
Jorge’s middle school coach and 6th grade math teacher Nicholas Tilley stepped in to help.
“When we found out that Jorge had this opportunity, we wanted to do everything we could to help Jorge and make this opportunity a reality,” Tilley said.
Tilley started a GoFundMe with a goal of $4,500, and that mark was cleared within two weeks. Jorge’s dream trip is to go to Italy.
“I’m really excited because it’s a different place I’ve never been before,” Jorge said. “So I think I’ll just play a few games and travel to Italy and meet the Juventus people.”
“He will be training with UEFA-licensed coaches, which is probably the best license in football in the world,” Tilley said.
Jorge does this more than himself. His parents immigrated to the US from Honduras about 20 years ago.
Their eldest son, for whom his parents have made all the sacrifices, is well aware that he has experienced unimaginable rights, the purpose of which is to provide a good life for his family.
“They’re really proud,” Jorge said. “Because they wanted me to succeed, because we don’t come from a very rich family, so they want me to succeed for them and for the rest of my family.”
He has all the possibilities for this.
“I’ve been around football my whole life and I’ve worked with a lot of very talented kids and been around some very talented players,” Tilley said. “For his age, I struggle to think of anyone who reads the game better than him.”
Jorge will travel to Italy to participate in the Juventus program in March.
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