When asked about 16-year-old Calgary Foothills FC prospect Jacob Angelozzi, club head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. is quick to emphasize the young attacker’s eagerness.
“Hungry, he’s hungry,” says Wheeldon, speaking after a pre-season victory over FC Edmonton’s academy March 10. “He’s fast. He likes to score goals. He comes to work every single day and he wants to improve his game. And that you can’t teach a kid. He has that work ethic.”
Angelozzi is currently challenging for a spot on the Calgary Foothills FC U-23 roster that will compete this summer in the 2018 Premier Development League season. And the teenager says there’s little else on his mind.
“(I want to) get signed in the summer,” says Angelozzi, who lives in Airdrie, north of Calgary. “And then just try and get as many minutes as possible…score some goals.”
The 16-year-old spent last year at the Vancouver Whitecaps academy where he says his overall game improved, despite the understandable challenges that come with leaving home at such a young age.
“It was definitely hard, leaving the family,” he admits. “Moving out there was hard, but it was good.”
“Positionally wise, I got moved around a lot over there….just being a very diverse player,” he says. “Being able to play any position the coach needs or wants – I can do that.”
His Calgary coach agrees and has seen fit to put Angelozzi in with the more experienced big boys, despite his young age.
“We sent him to Whitecaps for a year and he’s come back and he’s embraced this challenge with both hands,” says Wheeldon. “So he’s now training with Canadian internationals like Nik Ledgerwood, Marco Carducci and he’s embracing it.”
UK tour and upcoming PDL season
Calgary Foothills FC are heading to the United Kingdom for a two-week pre-season tour at the end of March where they’ll play against various U-23 English teams, including Swansea, Exeter and Reading. And Angelozzi’s recent performances have earned him a flight across the pond.
“I think he’s scored about four or five goals already this pre-season,” says Wheeldon. “And we’re going to take him to England, because he’s learning his game, and it is up to us as coaches to keep teaching him.”
The teenager’s accomplishments so far this year are all the more impressive, considering he’s competing along side and against players whose ages average in the early 20s.
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So, will Angelozzi be playing for Foothills FC this summer? It’s possible, according to Wheeldon.
“That’s up to him,” says the coach. “He’s just earned the plane ticket to England. And what he does in England will reflect on what he does for the rest of the season.”
As for long-term goals, Angelozzi has one aim – the soon-to-launch Canadian Premier League (CPL), which is rumoured to have a team coming to Calgary.
“Definitely CPL,” he says, when asked about his future. “It’s coming up soon – gotta prove myself worthy. And hopefully get signed when the time comes.”