BELGRADE — In the four years that senior Kanon Tebo has been a Belgrade Panther, his team has gone on to win two state soccer championships. But this year in the state semifinal, another was too good to be true.
“It was so exciting. Knowing that it was his last year was hard, for sure,” Tebo’s mom, Katie Brenna, said. “Exciting, but so much emotion wrapped up with that, for sure.”
“During the last 10 minutes I was on the verge of tears,” Tebo said about his final game. “I was like, ‘My season is about to end,’ but I still had 10 minutes left, so I had to keep it going. But we were all supportive of each other, and after the game we all just congratulated each other on the season.”
While many kids his age wrap up their high school sports season and move on to college or work, Tebo is taking a different route.
“I’ll be in Italy for three months training with this professional team, their academy team,” he said, adding that he will also be graduating high school early. “The exposure that I will find there, it will be pretty crazy, so I’m excited about it.”
For a star who has grown up in small-town Montana, a jump across the Atlantic Ocean is a pretty big deal.
“Since this whole Italy (thing) has come about, I’m more relaxed about it, honestly, than he is,” Brenna said. “I haven’t really felt his nervousness, so I think I’m more relaxed about it than he is. But I’m not the one flying clear across the world, either.”
The process to earn the opportunity wasn’t easy. It took two different rounds of tryouts to make the team, and he was one of only nine Americans picked for the trip.
“I was talking to one of the guys who kind of runs it and he told me, ‘These guys are seriously impressed with you,’ so as soon as I heard that, I thought maybe there is a chance I could go to Italy,” Kanon said. “I was in doubt and then my mom was like, ‘Yeah, you will. You can do anything, you can obtain any obstacle,’ so I was like, ‘OK.’ With only a month left of school, it’s crazy.”
For a mother of five to see one of her own leave the nest, one can only wonder the emotion she’s feeling.
“I don’t think proud is the word,” she started.
Then how would you describe it?
“There’s just not a word,” she paused. “There’s so much waiting for him, you know, so much.”