July 2, 2014 8:32 pm

WATCH: Young Kelowna Soccer Star Off to Italy

While World Cup soccer action is well underway, for one Kelowna player, the tournament is just beginning.

13 year old Hunter Blucke is traveling to San Marino, Italy to compete in the San Marino Cup, an international youth soccer tournament.

The talented young player says he has always had a big passion for the game.

“I love just playing the games. I’ve always liked it. It’s always brought me encouragement to just continue to play.”

Hunter’s father, Kevin Blucke, says he saw his son’s talent from a very early age.

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“We’d take the ball out in the backyard at about two and he’d kick it around and there was wow, sometimes. But then about four and he could do it equally with both feet and the power behind it at as well.”

The San Marino Cup will host over 2,000 players from around the world. It is the largest youth Italian soccer tournament for boys and girls. The tournament will feature 75 teams from countries across Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

Hunter has spent 2 years training with the Excel Soccer Academy. Because the team is based out of Vancouver, the Blucke family commute to the Lower Mainland every weekend to make their son’s soccer dreams come true.

Hunter’s dad says despite all the success is son has had as a player; the reason he is most proud of him has nothing to do with soccer.

“He is very humble. He’s a strong leader, he knows what he wants, very driven, self-motivated. He’s an amazing kid.”

Hunter has aspirations to, one day, play soccer for an Ivy League University and from there, be scouted for the major leagues.

This tournament will be the second time the youngster will compete on an international stage.

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