Hutchie kids take lessons before Italian job
A rugged-looking group of mini footballers are gearing up to stage their own version of the Italian Job by learning basic phrases of the language before jetting out to Italy to steal the thunder of three under-14 Italian sides in a mini-tournament in Milan in October.
But, there is no pot of gold up for grabs in this visit to Milan, it is all in good fun for the kids in the Hutchison Vale under-14 Colts squad who will be part of a 38-strong group travelling to the home of Italian giants, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
To help the squad prepare for the tough job ahead of them, team official Les Trotter has called in expert help from Pinuccia Neglia to teach the kids some basic Italian phrases although the young Italian linguist, who hails from Bari in the south of the country, promised: "No swear words!"
Ms Neglia is from the Italian Consulate and her job covers teaching students at the Italian Institute in Edinburgh, along with kids in primary and secondary schools in the Capital. The enthusiastic Trotter called in expert help in a bid to make the trip more interesting for the 14 players who will take part in a mini-tournament against Italian clubs, FC Enotria, GS Frogmontegani and Inter Milan.
Trotter said: "I established contact with the Italian authorities in Milan a couple of years ago when I took a party of kids from Stenhouse Primary School to play football against sides in Milan and Florence.
"It was a great success and this trip promises to be even better. We are going to be introduced to the top man in Italian football while we are in Milan and all three teams we are playing against are connected with top Italian clubs.
"In Italy, the soccer development of children starts in primary schools and all kids are attached to senior clubs.
"They [senior clubs] look after the development of the kids up until they are young adults. That is the way they do things in Italy and the best players always break through. Hopefully, while we are over there, we will learn if the three clubs we are playing against can pay us a visit in August next year for our own mini International Football Tournament during the Edinburgh Festival.
"A Canadian team are also coming over at the same time. This could be the start of what could develop in to a major international festival of youth football."
The players, club coaches and families will depart on Friday, October 13, and games will continue over two days. While in Italy, the Hutchison Vale players may find out their knowledge of the Italian language does not match that of the English-speaking Italian kids.
Ms Neglia added: "Children are taught languages at primary school level with English the No.1 priority. The other important languages are German and French. Most Italian kids have a good knowledge of English."
But the Scottish kids can teach the Italians a thing or two, such as "how's it gaun, Jimmy" or "get in tae thum!" These two phrases are commonly used in Edinburgh but are not in any phrase book.
In fact, the Hutchison Vale kids may indeed leave their Italian hosts utterly perplexed when they ask the famous question: "Where's the pies?"
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