Chartiers Valley 7th grader selected for international tour

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Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 1:44 PM


Suzanne and Brian Krug remember when their son John was just a young boy.

They would take him to his older brother’s soccer game and while Joseph was playing on the field, John would play in the sand or occupy his attention in other ways — anything that wasn’t soccer.

“John just didn’t have any interest,” Suzanne said. “He would be playing in the sand box area the entire time. Then, one day when he was old enough, all of a sudden he said he wanted to play.”

Now, as a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Chartiers Valley, that same kid has received an opportunity to travel to England to play the sport he once didn’t want anything to do with.

Earlier this month, John received an invitation to play for U.S. Soccer’s 2020 id2 National Selection International Tour boys team.

The team, made up of 18 players from across the United States, will travel to England and Scotland between March 13-24 and will compete against some of the top academy clubs that the country has to offer.

“It’s insane really,” John said. “I never thought this would become a reality really.”

In 2011, the same team also traveled to England and Scotland and played academy teams from Celtic, Everton and Manchester City. Players on past tours include Christian Pulisic, Jonathan Gonzalez, Tyler Adams, Corey Baird, Collin Fernandez, Matthew Olosunde and Timothy Weah, who have gone on to play the sport at the highest level.

In order to qualify for the team, John had to compete at two ID camps, which he was nominated for by his Beadling SC soccer coach.

The first one took place in Austin, Texas, between Sept. 26-29. John went up against some of the best players from around the country, but when the four-day camp had finished, he felt like his chances of making the international tour team were finished.

“I didn’t think I really did good,” John said. “So I was really fortunate for them to invite me back. I was super grateful. I didn’t think I was going to come back.”

Krug was invited back for the second camp in December, which took place in Chula Vista, Calif. This time around, Krug felt like he did much better.

“I thought I played a lot better at the second camp over the four-day stretch,” John said.

Then, Suzanne received the email that John had been waiting for. He and has dad were at a soccer tournament so she immediately called them to inform them of the news.

“I was in the car, driving to another game and I started screaming into the back,” Brian said. “John, you made the team!”

John has traveled all over the country for soccer, but his trip in March will be the first time that he’ll have the opportunity to travel out of the country to play the game that he loves.

“I think it’s going to be really fun,” John said. “I think I’m going to love it over there.”

Besides his trip overseas, John’s future looks bright in soccer. Just a few weeks ago, John tried out for a spot in Philadelphia Union’s academy and Beadling coach Rob Eldridge, who is also the head coach for South Fayette’s boys soccer team, believes that John has what it takes to go far in the sport.

“I think Johnny is on a pro track,” Eldridge said. “If things go well, he’s probably not going to play college soccer. He’ll probably just go straight to the pros. If he can maintain his health, the sky is the limit. I’ve been really impressed by him, and I told him I’m really proud of him.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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