Winnipeg teen turns heads

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

A young Winnipegger's soccer career is starting to take off in Europe.

Andrew Kliment, a 17-year-old midfielder, was the merchandise moved in a player transfer last week between a pair of soccer organizations in the Czech Republic.

Kliment played for FC Hradec Kralove's under-18 team last fall, but was approached by officials from FC Bohemian Prague on the eve of this year's spring season.

The Bohemian Prague brass liked Kliment's skills so much that last Thursday they paid an undisclosed amount of money and 40% of future transfers involving the youngster in exchange for his playing rights.

Kliment played his first game for Bohemian's under-19 team on Saturday, a 3-1 victory.

"He was pretty excited," Kliment's dad, Miro, said over the weekend.

Andrew, who helped Manitoba win gold at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2007, is practising and playing with the under-23 squad as well.

The kicker, however, is that he also gets to practise three times a week with Bohemian Prague's pro team, which plays in the Czech Republic's top league.

Soccer buffs might recognize Marek Kincl as the most famous player on Bohemian Prague's pro team.

"Just to practise with them and be in the environement is very useful for a 17-year-old kid," Miro said. "They really like him there. I don't hear any complaints."

Miro is a native Czechoslovakian, so his son, who was born in Edmonton, enjoys dual citizenship between Canada and the Czech Republic. Having a Czech passport means Andrew doesn't take up a valuable import position, giving him a better chance of staying on Bohemian Prague's roster.

Andrew is taking online courses through Winnipeg's Louis Riel School Division, but his dad said he plans to put off graduation until June 2010 to focus on soccer.

Miro noted that playing in Prague will only help Andrew's chances of advancing his playing career. There are six major soccer organizations in the city, so Andrew has a chance "to be seen by the right people," he said.


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