After months of planning, fundraising, meeting — and lots of soccer — reality finally settled in. The exact timing of such realization happened a few weeks ago when Diego Gattesco sent a message to our group on “WhatsApp.” It was an audio-filerecording from Cadena 3, the most popular radio station in Cordoba, Argentina (population 1.5 million). In what seems like a recap of the coming news and events of the next few weeks, highlighted was the upcoming visit from the “Ninos (boys) de (of) Wheeeeeeeeeling (Wheeling, West Virginia).” In that moment we switched from fundraiser mode to, “Wait, where are we going again exactly? How long is the flight? What should we pack?“
Listen closely at 47 seconds…
The “we” involved here is the FC Wheeling United Under-14 Boys Soccer team and parents, coaches and ambassadors; the “what” is a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Gattesco’shomeland of Argentina. (Read a previous Weelunk story here.)
For over six months we have worked toward raising nearly $40,000, which enables all 14 boys the opportunity to have the trip completely paid for. From selling candles and Super Bowl squares to hosting an Argentina themed dinner complete with dancing lessons and homemade empanadas. We have so many people and organizations to thank for the support of the trip and today we would especially like to thank Stratford Springs, who as our title sponsor, is supporting this series, “Our South American Odyssey”.
“Our South American Odyssey” will be a journal-style daily piece, documenting the trip, andwritten by the boys themselves. Each day one to two boys will don “Weelunk Press” badges (literally), and will be charged with capturing the essence of their day by taking pictures and video with their phones, conducting interviews with fellow players and parents, as well as people that we will meet.
There will be no shortage of story ideas in this trip, as Diego has used his resources well and has delivered a trip of epic proportions.
This series is sponsored by the generous support of