‘I don’t think the boys really understand how sick I am’: Coach leads his under-14 team to Soccer nationals after deadly cancer diagnosis
A year ago, they were 13 years old. A year ago, they were the Bad News Bears of Manitoba minor soccer, a motley band of serial losers who would put on their soccer boots and head out onto the pitch praying for a tie, praying for anything other than another 13-0 whooping.
Winnipeg South End United (WSEU) went from not being able to win to never losing, to capturing a city — and then a provincial championship — and earning a trip to Ontario to compete for the national prize.
Julian Avila credits their coach, Riccardo De Thomasis.
“With Riccardo’s help every one of us stepped up our game,” he says. “With Riccardo’s help, we all came together. Riccardo believed in us.” (Peter J. Thompson/National Post)