Tuesday, August 3

Copa América: Ben Brereton, Chile’s (needed) English goal | America’s Soccer Cup 2021


Ben Brereton celebrates his first goal for Chile in the match against Bolivia on June 18.
Ben Brereton celebrates his first goal for Chile in the match against Bolivia on June 18.DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP

The hope of the goal of Chile does not speak Spanish. Ben Brereton was educated as English in the Stoke-on-Trent neighborhoods of the United Kingdom. He played for the England national team in the youth championships, but decided to wear red to play for the country of his mother and grandparents. The 22-year-old Brereton has learned some Chilean idioms and has earned a spot in La Roja in the Copa América. Chile needs its best version to surprise the favorite Brazil.

Andrea Díaz, Brereton’s mother, moved from Concepción to England when she was 14 years old. The footballer heard his grandfather talk to him about the Chilean team that was excited about Iván Zamorano. The English Football Federation targeted the young forward and made him part of a brilliant generation. He played and won the European Under 19 Championship alongside Phil Foden (Manchester City), Mason Mount and Reece James (Chelsea), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool). All starters in their clubs.

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Ben Brereton played his first professional match at the age of 18 for two-time European champions Nottingham Forest in the Second Division. He learned from the Danish Nicklas Bendtner, his teammate up front and former Arsenal player. He then emigrated to Blackburn Rovers where he has played for the last six seasons. He lost bellows, presence and his place in the youth teams of England.

A geek from scouting (recruitment of footballers) found an insignificant piece of information for many, but valuable for the Chilean team. Ricardo Garcia, Rickypeddia, detected that there was an Englishman with a Latin surname. Garcia, through an acquaintance of his in England, helped him locate Brereton, according to a reconstruction of The Mercury. The information reached the Chilean soccer federation and the then coach, Reinaldo Rueda, who met with the forward’s mother to convince him to play. The Chilean authorities managed everything so that Brereton had his Chilean passport in 2020. Rueda left for the Colombian national team without testing Brereton, but the one who called him was the current coach, Martín Lasarte. A goal bet that has worked for him in the Copa América.

Brereton’s hazing had to be in English. One of the traditions in different teams and clubs is that the new ones sing a song in front of the whole group. “The only song in Spanish that I know is Merry Christmas”. So maybe that’s it, “he told Third. So Brereton decided to sing Wonderwall of Oasis. At the time of the hymn, he prefers to hum it. You know the rhythm, but not the verses, much less the a cappella part.

Ben Brereton, and 2017, con el Nottingham Forest.
Ben Brereton, and 2017, con el Nottingham Forest.Dan Mullan / Getty Images

“The truth was we were able to adapt well with Ben, who does not know how to speak Spanish, but we understood each other very well on the pitch,” said Eduardo Vargas, Chilean scorer and reference for his country. He made his debut against Argentina, but could do little; In his second game he shone with a goal for Chile’s victory over Bolivia, where he won over the press of his country. In the draw against Uruguay (1-1) he put the pass to Vargas for the goal.

“It must be very difficult for him to play for a national team where they don’t speak the language he speaks. He is making a great effort and the group is helping him to adjust. He had his chance, his goal, he shouted it like they saw him do it and he ended up exhausted, “said Lasarte about Brereton.

Brazil represents the biggest challenge for Chile. The Chileans will face the game against Canarinha with greater rest and with a blow when losing (0-2) against Paraguay. The team hopes to have Alexis Sánchez back after an injury that sidelined him throughout the group stage. The connection of the goal will be marked by the Vargas-Brereton duo.

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