Manitoba's 16U male soccer team for the North American Indigenous Game (NAIG) will see four Portagers in action. Of the four who made it, one of the most unlikely of the bunch is Luca Tornato, who says he actually hasn't played competitive soccer outside of school.
"I don't play organized soccer usually. I just play in this house league in Portage. I went out to the tryouts because my parents kind of pushed me to do it," Tornato continues. "After the first one, I quit. At that first practice, I did really well, so they ended up calling me back. I ended up agreeing to it because it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Tornato was stunned when he got the call. He notes it didn't take a lot of convincing to get him back on board.
"It was just about getting the call and realizing that I did good at the tryouts. I just initially quit because I didn't think I was made to do this, but I'm very grateful to have this second opportunity."
The centre-back says this has done wonders for his confidence. Since making the team, Tornato has already decided that he will be playing competitive soccer next season.
Tornato believes having a few fellow Portagers (Addison Page, Connor Melnic, and Tyler Huber) around will make him less nervous.
"I've played with all of them before. It's going to help a bunch. It's always good to have a couple of people that you know on the team to kind of ease into things."
Tornato plans to help Team Manitoba win as much as possible from July 17-22 at the NAIG.
"I don't want to let anyone past me because I'm the last man back. And I would be nice to pop one or two in the net."