Will Recupero is the latest in his soccer-crazed family to make a huge mark in the sport they all love. The 13-year-old Hopkinton resident recently earned a spot on the U15 national soccer team, and he will be heading to Portugal later this month for international competition.
Recupero advanced through multiple rounds of tryouts and outlasted hundreds of other players to earn a spot as one of only 18 field players on the team.
“I was super grateful and super excited,” he said. “I know this is not an opportunity everyone gets.”
The entire process took over a year. Recupero started out competing against talented players in the region before heading to camp in Chula Vista, California. He said he was able to get to know more players at the national level and made a number of new friends.
“Everyone is kind of getting to know each other and, as camp goes on, you see kids start to open up to each other,” Recupero said. “At the end of camp, we felt like a real team, which was great.”
Recupero is scheduled to leave for Lisbon on Nov. 25 and will be there until Dec. 6. The U.S. team will take on Portugal, Italy and Scotland in a trio of friendly matches.
“I am excited to go to Portugal,” Recupero said. “I think it’s going to be nice weather there, and we are going to be in Lisbon. We will probably go on day trips. They want to make sure we are having fun, not just soccer-wise. They want to make sure we have a great time.”
Recupero is the only player from New England, but he is not the only one in his family achieving great things on the soccer pitch. His sister Madison was one of the leading scorers on a Hillers team that rolled through the regular season undefeated, and she has committed to play at Princeton. His other sister, Sophia, is playing for an unbeaten Buckingham Browne and Nichols team and will head to Duke to play soccer.
“They have been super supportive, and they’ve helped me a lot,” Recupero said of his sisters. “They come to the field with me to work on stuff, and I help them out with their game, too. I think it’s really helpful that they play.”
The siblings spend as much time as they can at one another’s games. Their mother, Stephanie, is a bit hoarse from all the cheering she has been doing.
“It’s all soccer, all the time,” Will Recupero said.
Recupero is a center attacking midfielder, and he is hoping to bring his skills on both offense and defense to the national team.
“I like that I get to create chances, score goals and get assists, but I also have a defensive role,” he said. “You don’t want to get beat in the middle, that’s a huge problem for your team, so I have to be focused defensively.”
Recupero has big dreams when it comes to soccer. He envisions himself playing professionally in Europe with tens of thousands of fans in the stands like his favorite player, Jude Bellingham, a midfielder for Real Madrid and England’s national team.
Even before Recupero jets off across the pond, soccer already has afforded him the chance to travel. He’s played in Canada, California, Las Vegas, Kansas City and the Carolinas, among other locations. But soccer has been an escape for him in more ways than one. It also has been a way to unwind.
“When I play soccer, I am not thinking about anything else,” Recupero said. “I just have fun with my teammates and my friends.”