For The First Time, Young Athletes From Chicago Travel To Cuba To Play Soccer

CHICAGO (CBS) — Some young Chicago soccer players are getting the chance to make history with a big road trip – and they might have picked the perfect time to do it.

CBS 2’s Sandra Torres tells us why.

Young athletes held a send off party on Wednesday to celebrate the unique chance to travel to Cuba and do what they love most – play soccer.

For 11-year-old Cayden and 13-year-old Brody, soccer is their passion, so when they heard about the opportunity to travel to Cuba to play soccer there they where thrilled.

“I just can’t wait to get there its going to be so much fun!” said Cayden Hanlon.

“I’m excited to play soccer there. I think it’s going to be great, just empowering, like global unity, and playing with people who have such a different past form us,” said Brody Hanlon.

The two brothers play with the organization Soccer Kiks in Chicago and they will be making history along with 23 other young players.

“This is the first time that youth soccer [players] from Chicago have ever gone to Cuba,” said Tina Feldstein, Chicago Kiks Community Academy. “Now we are wondering if its going to be the last time.”

The group was concerned after President Trump’s Administration unveiled new restrictions on travel and business with Cuba last week.

“We we weren’t sure what would happen,” Feldstein said. “The message was that if we already booked the trip, were fine. Definitely a deep breathe on that one.”

And while the kids are mostly looking forward to play their favorite sport in a different country, parents say the cultural exchange is what is most important.

“A great opportunity for them to see a part of the world most Americans don’t have a chance to see…get to see it differently than just a tourist,” said William Smith, who is traveling to Cuba with his son.

A total of 60 people, including the young players and parents, are traveling from Chicago to Cuba on Monday. They will be staying in Varadera and Habana for an entire week.

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