Elite XI Soccer

CTV News Featured Story – U16 Boys Capture Gold at Disney

“We worked hard, played five games in four days, and it all came down to the final.

Ethan Bettridge has returned to Heidelberg from Orlando, Florida, triumphant in a prestigious soccer tournament where he faced off against some of the top young soccer talents in the continent.

Read the full article here: https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/heidelberg-soccer-star-brings-back-gold-after-big-win-in-orlando-1.6712056

The 15-year-old, hailing from Heidelberg, was a key player among the 16 who clinched gold in the U16 boys division of the 2023 Disney Showcase, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This four-day tournament concluded on New Year’s Eve.

Ethan, part of the Elite XI Canada team comprising over a dozen mostly Canadian players, described the challenging journey to victory. “We worked hard, played five games in four days, and it all came down to the final. We won 2-0,” he shared. The post-final celebration was nothing short of exhilarating, with the team huddling together, chanting in sheer happiness.

The Disney Showcase featured 124 North American teams on fields adjacent to Disney World. Elite XI Canada’s U16 team was the sole Canadian representative in their division. The organization also fielded two other Canadian teams in U17 and U18, both reaching the finals and earning silver medals.

Ethan Bettridge, seen holding the Disney Cup with his coaches from Elite XI Canada, received praise from his father, Kevin Bettridge. Kevin expressed pride in his son’s performance, highlighting Ethan’s pivotal role, including scoring a crucial penalty shot in the semifinals.

Beyond the competitive aspect, the tournament provided players with an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of college coaches and recruiters. Robby Toor, the head coach for Canada’s U16 team, emphasized the significance of these years in terms of potential post-secondary opportunities.

Elite XI Canada, which facilitates participation in major tournaments across North America, recognized the value of the Disney Showcase. Toor emphasized the event’s magnitude, with over 29 soccer fields making it one of the largest on the east coast.

Looking ahead, Ethan remains uncertain about his plans after high school but is keeping his focus on the broader goal. “Of course, the dream is to go professional and get paid to play,” he expressed.

Soccer prowess runs in the Bettridge family, as highlighted by a previous CTV News interview with Ethan’s younger brother, Erik, who escorted Wayne Rooney onto the field in 2019.