Julio Arca: ‘The nearest I got to Wembley as a professional was driving past’

The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder feels the wow factor before playing for South Shields in the FA Vase final on Sunday against Cleethorpes

Four years ago Julio Arca was angry, rudderless and struggling to come to terms with the end of his professional career. Torn between two continents and unsure what to do with the rest of his life, the future seemed daunting. “I felt a bit sad,” he says.

Little did Arca know that, just over the horizon, the fulfilment of a longstanding ambition awaited. “Wembley’s always been a dream,” says South Shields’ star midfielder as he prepares for Sunday’s FA Vase final against Cleethorpes Town. “So this is one of those wonderful things that sometimes happen in your life. These unexpected things you never see coming can happen.”

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