Oakdale High School sophomore Dylan Krause got to experience the trip – and tournament – of a lifetime recently, as he traveled to Portugal to play soccer.
Krause plays for the Turlock Sports Park’s U16 team, the TSP FC 2007 squad, and went with the team to Portugal in April to take part in the IberCup tournament. The international youth tournament was hosted in the city of Cascais and takes place each year in a different country.
“I have been a part of Turlock-based TSP FC for almost three years now. I play as a center midfielder but I occasionally get put up as a forward,” said Krause. “My favorite part of the game is just having the soccer ball at my feet, as I have trained for countless hours with the ball just to perfect every aspect of my game, and to be able to incorporate that training into the game to help my team is all I could ever ask for.”
The TSP FC 2007 squad has a winning history already, as they won the 2022 National Premier League title, took fourth place in the California State Cup, and for their age group, were ranked as the #1 team in Northern California, #2 team in the state and were in the top 15 in the entire nation in GotSoccer.com rankings.
TSP FC plays in the top State Cup U16 bracket in NorCal Soccer, and recently advanced to the State Cup Final game. The battle for the state championship is scheduled for Sunday, June 4 at Cosumnes River College against Clovis Crossfire.
Regarding the trip to Portugal, it was an idea put forth by Fred Rasuli, who is the CEO and president of Turlock Sports Park as well as the head coach of the 2007 team.
“Part of my job here with the kids playing soccer is development while also creating pathways and creating experiences,” Rasuli said. “If I were to look at pathways and experiences, there’s nothing better than going overseas and looking at European style soccer.”
Rasuli said the trip provided a unique opportunity to have his players test their skills against the European talent while being able to learn from their style of play at the same time.
The team didn’t earn a medal in Portugal but they played extremely well, completing the tournament with a record of three wins, one draw and one loss, bowing out in the quarterfinals. They traveled with 19 players, five staff members and 16 family members to the tournament.
“About a year ago my coach had suggested that we go overseas to play soccer, but it just seemed way too crazy. However, after our coaches saw us winning numerous leagues and tournaments, they decided this would be something our team was up for, and only after a lot of planning and preparation was this eventually made possible,” the OHS sophomore said. “We just kept counting the days we had until we left and the time seemed to fly by, before I knew it, I was on a flight headed to Portugal. Even then it didn’t feel real until I first stepped on the pitch in Portugal to play the sport I love.”
Krause said he has been playing soccer since he was about three-years-old, following in the footsteps of his older brother, who had picked up the sport.
“I also played travel baseball up until high school, where I decided to play tennis for the high school, as it was a lot easier on my schedule while also playing soccer with TSP,” he said.
He also plays soccer for the varsity Mustangs at OHS.
For Krause, traveling with his team to the overseas venue and playing soccer on an international stage is something he will always remember.
“We arrived at the fields in our warm-ups, and on those warm-ups, we have flags representing where our families are from. However, when we take those warm-ups off, we all have the American flag on the shoulder of our jerseys, and it was such a cool experience representing America in a foreign country against teams from all over,” he explained. “Besides for the IberCup we participated in, we were able to do a bunch of other things in Portugal. We went sightseeing around the city a couple times, we got a tour of professional team Benfica’s stadium, we got to go to one of Benfica’s games, and we got to have a training session with some of Benfica’s trainers.”
The trip also allowed players to be observed by coaches from teams and programs throughout the world.
“The most memorable part of my trip was just being with my team playing European soccer, we did everything together and I could feel such a strong brotherhood on the field when we played,” Krause added. “After high school I hope to pursue soccer, and I’m thankful my coaches and team have already given me so much exposure and so many opportunities to do so. What that path looks like and where it will take me, I do not know, but what I do know is that I will do everything I can to eventually make it to the professional level of soccer.”
Reporter Christopher Correa of affiliated paper The Turlock Journal contributed to this story.