In 2016, Matthew and Patrick Leal, 14-year-old twins from Newton, Mass., competed in the IberCup, an international tournament featuring top club sides from throughout the world.
“We watched Sevilla and PSG, and the level of play those kids had was amazing,” said Matthew, a holding midfielder. “Everyone had a great understanding of the game the speed was fast, because the training they receive is the best.”
That experience gave them a taste of European soccer, where many of the world’s top academies are situated. So when July 2017 rolled around, the Leal twins had a tryout organized with C.F. Os Belenenses, a club that plays in the Primeira Liga, Portugal’s top division.