Playing international soccer is nothing new for Caolan Lavery.
But getting an opportunity to compete for his country at the World Cup level would be a dream come true for the Red Deer native.
Lavery will take a major step in that direction when he competes for the Canadian national U17 team at a World Cup qualifying meet in Tijuana, Mexico.
The 16-year-old left Calgary for San Diego this morning, where the Canadian team will train for a week prior to the qualifying tournament.
Canada faces Honduras, the United States and Cuba in their pool with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals.
The top four teams advance to the World Cup in Nigeria in the late fall.
Lavery, who plays striker, found out last week he was on the national team.
“We had two exhibition tournaments (in Mexico and Costa Rica) to qualify for the Canadian team and they let me know Thursday that I made it,” he explained.
Lavery was one of two Albertans — the other was Jordan Ongaro of Edmonton — invited to attend the national team tryout camp.
The two dominated play for Team Alberta at the Canadian championships, combining to score 15 goals in five games.
But the national team isn’t the only thing Lavery is concentrating on.
He’s also preparing to leave for England July 13, to compete with the Ipswitch Town U18 academy.
“I signed a two-year contract with them,” explained Lavery, who hopes to one day compete att he senior national level.
But if he competes for Canada or Ireland is another matter.
Both his parents were born in Ireland and as a result Caolan is eligible to compete for Canada, Ireland or Northern Ireland.
“That’s something I’ll think about in the future,” he said.
“Right now I’m concentrating on qualifying for the World Cup for Canada. It’ll be fun to play for my country.”