Emma Felgner with her Albion FC coach Steve Pena. Contributed

Emma Felgner with her Albion FC coach Steve Pena. Contributed

Playing against Euros

Maple Ridge player Emma Felgner gets the soccer trip of a lifetime this month, as her club team does a European tour.

Felgner, 15, has played for the local soccer associations and for Port Coquitlam at the Metro level, and for the past four years has also belonged to the European Football School. The academy program operates on the North Shore, and has helped numerous players to win college scholarships.

Two years ago she went to California, and on this trip, she will play nine games in Germany, France and Switzerland.

“It’s going to be interesting, and the girls we will be playing are all good players,” she said. “It’s definitely a growing experience.”

Although there will be opportunities to play tourist, the trip is about playing high-level soccer, with nine games and practice times scheduled.

Felgner plays fullback, and is a dedicated defender.

“I just try to keep the ball up with our forwards the entire time.”

Her family felt learning the game from an experienced professional coach would give Emma a leg up.

“I wanted her to experience soccer outside of our community, with European coaches,” said her mother, Heather Neill.

The club’s head coach is Saibo Talic whose experience includes training and experience in both Yugoslavia and Canada, from the professional ranks to Capilano College.

Her coach with the Albion FC Division 1A team has been impressed with Felgner’s play this year. Steve Pena said she is a year younger than her teammates, but she is still one of the best players on the team.

“She’s excellent, a real solid defender,” he said. “It’s her toughness – she doesn’t lose any battles, she’s strong and fast and durable. I take all my players off, but she can play 90 minutes.”

Pena said she has definite scholarship potential if that’s what she choses to pursue.

Felgner leaves for the trip in a week, returning on April 26.