Although it took nearly three months to find out if he made US Club Soccer’s id² National Selection Team, Mwinso Denkabe said it was well worth the wait. The payoff, after all, is a trip to Spain this week.
“I was really excited,” Mwinso said of receiving his invitation to join the team for the two-week tour. “I was jumping around and screaming.”
The Los Altos resident is one of only 18 players on the squad, comprised of 13- and 14-year-olds from throughout the country. Mwinso made the cut after participating in one of four regional camps held in December. Just three of those bids came from the 100-player camp Mwinso attended in Arizona.
So what set the Egan Junior High eighth-grader apart from the competition?
“I guess my dribbling skills,” the modest Mwinso said. “I like to dribble a lot.”
That’s a good skill for a winger, an attacking position the 13-year-old also plays on his year-round team, Juventus Sport Club of Redwood City. Mwinso has been playing the sport since he was 5, getting his start with Coach Ken Soccer in Los Altos.
“It was the only sport I knew – and it was fun,” Mwinso said of what drew him to soccer.
He added that dad Philip encouraged him, too; he grew up playing the game in Ghana.
Mwinso has dabbled in other sports – tennis, swimming and basketball – but nothing compared to soccer.
“I like to dribble and get past people,” he said when asked why it’s his favorite athletic endeavor. “It’s really cool and satisfying.”
Mwinso must have blown by a lot of defenders during his extensive tryout for the id² National Selection Team. He spent four days at the camp, training in the mornings and scrimmaging at night.
“It was really fun,” he said.
Mwinso expects the trip to Spain to be enjoyable as well. This will be his first time in the country, and there’s one city in particular he is eager to visit.
“I’m excited to go to Barcelona,” said Mwinso, who will be joined by his parents and younger brother. “I’ve always wanted to go there.”
This won’t be Mwinso’s first trip to Europe, however; he was part of a select team that toured England last year.
The tour of Spain – scheduled to begin Thursday – is highlighted by a stop in Costa Brava to compete in the 17th annual Mediterranean International Cup against the top clubs and national academy teams in the world.
“It’s going to be tough competition,” said Mwinso, who plans to attend Los Altos High next school year. “A lot of big players have played in it, and that’s cool.”