Twardek has busy summer lined up

LYNNE BERMEL

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Kristopher Twardek hasn't been short on invitations lately.

The 12-year-old striker with Ottawa South United was handpicked from among 6,000 players from across the country to represent Eastern Canada in the Canadian final of the Danone Nations Cup on June 20 in Toronto.

If his team wins, he'll be rewarded with a ticket to the world's biggest soccer tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil in October.

He's off to Copenhagen and Gothenburg, Sweden, this July on the heels of an invite to take part in the Tivoli and Gothia Cups, also considered among the most prestigious international soccer tournaments for young players.

In August, he's off to Liverpool, England, after being scouted by Everton of the English Premier League. He'll spend a week in Everton's academy program, where he is being looked at for future consideration with the club.

"It's been a dream year for Kristopher," said dad, Yirka. "Who knows where all of this will lead, but he's going to give it his best shot."

"He picked up the game the first time he touched a soccer ball," added Yirka, who introduced his son to soccer six years ago and coached him for several years.

Only 24 players made the final cut (12 on Canada East; 12 on Canada West) after taking part in 10 Danone Nations Cup camps and four provincial selection camps across Canada.

Now in its eighth year, the world finals of the Danone Cup brings together some 3 million competitors from 40 countries.

"To make it to Brazil would be a dream come true," said Kristopher. "But right now, I'm concentrating on the game in Toronto.

"It'll be nerve-wracking, but it'll be awesome."

Around the scene

Ottawa's Willie Albert, 28, squatted 540 lbs. and deadlifted 683 lbs. to walk away with two world records in winning the Canadian powerlifting championships in Mississauga. He did it under the "raw division," meaning he used no equipment such as squat suits, belts, or knee wraps to assist him with the lifts.

Diving champs

Brennan Villemaire of the Ottawa National Diving Club won five medals at the Ontario diving championships: Gold on one-metre; silver on three-metre; and bronze on platform in the boys' 16-18 age class. He added silver on platform and bronze on three-metre in open senior. Villemaire will represent Ontario at the Canada Summer Games.In the girls' 14-15 glass, Paige Sawyer, also from the Ottawa club, was fourth on three-metre and fifth on platform.

Maccabiah Games

Ten area athletes made the national team for the Maccabiah Games, which will be held in Israel from July 12-24. They include: Spencer Asch-Jones (soccer); Michael Calof (soccer); Jonathan Cohen (soccer); Eytan Fiszman (rugby); Elizabeth Foody (soccer); Russell Garber (soccer); Mitchell Huberman (soccer); Jeremy Izso (baseball); Naomi Kirshenblatt (swimming); Anna Nativ (soccer); and Adam Wolff (baseball).

LYNNEBERMEL@ROGERS.COM


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