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Orleans Native gets TFC Academy invite
January 24, 2010, 4:37 PM
Filed under: TFC Academy, Toronto FC

A good place to start with Bezick Evraire-Chance might be two pieces of art his mom and sister made.

Knowing the 16-year-old midfielder is off next week to join the Toronto FC Academy — the only player from outside the GTA — provides a rough outline. The between-the-lines gets filled by the one-foot-by-three-foot signs, “Create” and “Imagination” in cursive, hung behind the family couch in Orleans. It describes what Evraire-Chance does as a creative, attacking midfielder. It also drives home how mom Debborah Evraire and sister Sapphire Evraire-Chance have helped lead him to pro soccer’s doorstep.

“When I look at that, ‘Create,’ it reminds me that whatever you do, you always have to keep possibility alive,” says Bezick Evraire-Chance, who is relocating to Toronto as soon as he finishes exams at St. Matthew high school on Wednesday. “You have to give yourself to chance to get the most out of anything and everything, to take advantage of opportunities. As long as you put 100% effort into everything, you’ll succeed.

“My mom, she’s a businessperson, always going at all hours, being a leader. She has really passed that me.”

That fits with how Evraire-Chance comes across on a DVD of his highlights. A lithe six-footer with a 36-inch vertical leap, he makes foes look so lead-footed you’d swear they’re in on the act as he feints and flicks the ball past them. That’s all the hours practising in the park, believing a kid from Ottawa can scale the soccer ladder.

He knows the magnitude of being on a Major League Soccer club’s radar.

“I’m coming in relatively early, 16 years old, so it’s a perfect situation,” says the kid who will do a full year of Grade 11 in 4½ months, since his new school is non-semester. “MLS offers great options. It opens windows for national team, national exposure, European exposure.”

The way Evraire-Chance has tapped his family’s “full strength of each other,” in his mom’s phrase, opened the door with TFC.

“When I met him, the first thing that struck me as soon as Bezick walked through that door was his own presentation,” TFC Academy coach Stuart Neely says when asked about the three-day tryout last August at a broiling BMO Field.

“His physique was enough for me to take notice of him. What gave me a feel for who he is was in the way he responded when I was shaking his hand — the eye contact and the way he spoke and how he handled his short three-day trial.

“He conducted himself in such a professional manner. You rarely see that in boys his age. There was no sheepishness, no looking away. It’s certainly from the family that he has learned that. He exudes confidence and professionalism.

“Bezick has a lot of potential to do a lot of good things. We plan to give him tools to help him along the way. We think he’ll respond,” Neely adds.

Evraire-Chance, who helped the Ottawa Fury U16 club reach the North American finals in 2009, is not the type to look for an out in life.

“It hasn’t always been easy in our family,” he says.

“You go through financial situations, the schooling also gets more difficult, soccer equipment gets more expensive, you want what your favourite players wear, there’s pressure since my mom is a single mom.

“There are always sacrifices, my mom working two jobs, my sister giving up dance (classes) to save us money, which I know was hard for her. But we’ve managed to come out a stronger family. We’ve always been family-oriented — we have to stick together because that’s what we do.”

The bottom line is, the family makes it work. Small wonder the guest list for the send-off brunch that Debborah Evraire held at Mother Tuckers on Saturday swelled to 70 — a lot of people have pitched in and deserved to be thanked for her son’s success.

“I always tell him, ‘In anything you do, you don’t eat, you feed,’ ” she says.

That’s become family lore. Take the time Bez had the flu when he and his teammates were required to work at a waste depot. Debborah filled in, spending 10 hours in a hazmat suit on Mother’s Day.

All of that is been put toward being in a good place at a good time to be a teenaged Canadian footballer. Seeing a nephew of the former Rough Riders slotback Ken Evraire getting a look from TFC, or seeing another Ottawa player such as Abraham Donzo having a trial with Everton, show how sports in Canada are evolving.

Algonquin College men’s coach Kwesi Loney, who’s also worked with Evraire-Chance through the Fury, grew up in Toronto with Canadian pros such as Dwayne De Rosario and Adrian Serioux. He’s seen the steady growth in Canadian soccer.

“The coaching is getting better and after seeing people like De Rosario, Serioux, Julian de Guzman succeed, kids see it is possible,” Loney says. “ ‘I may have grown up in Ottawa or Toronto, but there are still opportunities to reach my goal as a professional player.’ The kids are much more in tune with following the game internationally, they’re looking to emulate their heroes at a much earlier age. The opportunity is at their doorstep now.”

Evraire-Chance — whose first call when he was accepted by TFC Academy was to his sister — knows his road in soccer will only get harder. Of course, he can’t block out the idea of being a teen soccer player training in Toronto, especially when World Cup fever will arrive in June.

“You get to be a ballboy for the home games, so you’re right in the middle of it, all that passion they have for the game, the support, the songs that they sing,” he says. “I can’t wait to be wearing a Toronto FC kit, saying ‘I’m with the academy,’ people knowing what that means, it’s going to be really cool.”

Of course, he’s there since he’s serious, eager to please, to the extent that he actually brings answers back to the example set by his mother.

Debborah Evraire smiles, touched. “I’m not joining Toronto FC.”

No, but he knows who put him on the path toward getting to create, using his imagination. What anyone wants, really.

Source: Click HereClick Here for Interview

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