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Former resident signs for Southampton FC juniors in the UK

“My immediate goal is to win the player of the season award and then make my senior team debut and win the Premier League.”

Former Parkrand resident Rafael Dalla Venezia revealed that his immediate goal is to win the player of the season award for the Southampton juniors’ team.

Dalla Venezia achieved his dream of playing football in the UK after being offered a spot in the Southampton Academy, where he plays for the U8 team.

The eight-year-old said he’s thrilled to be part of The Saints academy, which has produced players like their former captain and current West Ham midfielder James Ward Prowse, former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale and Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw.

“It means a lot to me and my family. I’m happy to be at one of the top academies in Europe. The Southampton Academy has produced several players, including Gareth Bale and Luke Shaw. Hopefully, I will be the next star,” he said.

Rafael Dalla Venezia and his teammates with the Manchester Easter Cup trophy.

He lived at the Piazza Del Campo Estate. He attended St Dominic’s aged three and then moved to CBC Boksburg when he was four before leaving for the UK.

The youngster has already featured for the Southampton juniors in several matches, including a win over Liverpool in his debut.

“My first tournament was the Manchester Easter Cup. We won the tournament after beating difficult teams like Newcastle United and Manchester United.”

Dalla Venezia, stating he’s committed to the Hampshire side, lauded football clubs in the UK for their strong grassroots development programmes.

“In England, clubs are much more focused on developing talent from a young age and they have many resources. Last year, I trained and played matches seven days a week with different clubs. Now that I have committed to Southampton, I train and play four times a week.”

The utility defender said he would like to go through the ranks and eventually break into the Southampton senior team. However, he admitted it would give him a massive headache if he had to choose between The Saints and his favourite club, Chelsea.

The Southampton juniors celebrate after winning the Manchester Easter Cup.

“My immediate goal is to win the player of the season award and then make my senior team debut and win the Premier League,” he said.

“It would be a dream to represent Southampton. I would like that very much. However, it would give me a headache if my favourite team, Chelsea, came calling.”

The footballer would like to forge a long and successful football career in Europe, and due to his Italian citizenship, he’s eligible to play for the Italy national team.

“Football is something I’d like to pursue. I want to thank God for my talent and make my families in SA and Italy proud. I want to give them hope that they can achieve anything if they believe.”

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