Chelsea FC have announced their plan to build a network of top youth clubs across America to develop Chelsea Soccer Schools, a new Tournament called the Chelsea Sevens, coaching clinics and exchange programmes.
Chelsea FC Chief Executive Peter Kenyon:
“Our new Chelsea youth super club network is the latest of many strategic projects Chelsea have in the U.S.
They are all designed to assist the growth and development of US soccer at the grass roots as well as the top level. The youth movement in the United States is a massive part of that.”
Individual Chelsea first team players are likely to serve as special ambassadors to each youth club in the programme along with Chelsea Ladies midfielder and former U.S. World Cup winner Lorrie Fair also representing the programme.
The first relationship is with one of the largest and most successful youth football clubs in the U.S, the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) of North Carolina.
CASL is hosting three Chelsea Soccer Schools featuring courses from Chelsea Academy coaches from in late June in North Carolina. CASL will also plan an inaugural Chelsea Sevens tournament at the WRAL Soccer Center in North Carolina. The 7 v 7 tournament will be for boys and girls U-10 to U-18.
“CASL is clearly one of the leading American youth football clubs and I am delighted they are the first to become part of this project.
We will be working with them to support player coaching and development and this will be beneficial for both organisations.
In addition to our new partnership with CASL and continued support from key partners like adidas and Disney in the U.S Chelsea’s work should positively impact youth soccer and the wider game in the US.
This holistic approach is central to Chelsea’s philosophy as a club and a business.”
CASL Chief Executive Charlie Slagle:
“From their young Academy player to the first team super stars, Chelsea are one of the elite clubs in international soccer. For them to devote time, resources and energy to our young players and dedicated coaching staff truly shows their commitment to the game here in the U.S.
We work very hard to be one of the top full-service clubs in the country and to be selected to form an affiliation with a club of Chelsea’s standard is very gratifying to understand what we are doing is having an impact beyond our local community.”
Chelsea encountered the CASL organisation recently after the Chelsea Academy U-16 team lost to the CASL U-16 Academy team in the Final at Disney’s Soccer Showcase in Orlando in December 2007.
CASL includes approximately 9,000 registered youth soccer players, making up nearly 800 teams, totalling 20,000 players, coaches, officials, parents, volunteers and supporters.
The American youth club includes girls and boys ages 4 to 19 in the greater Raleigh, North Carolina area and hosts multiple tournaments throughout the year.
The 2008 CASL Shootout and Showcase Tournaments in November and December will be presented by Chelsea FC. These tournaments feature 1,000 U.S. youth soccer teams and have a regional annual economic impact of nearly 9 million dollars.
CASL Director of Coaching Jay Howell:
“Chelsea are already providing us with an insider’s look at their coaching philosophy and training techniques.
When we are dealing with young, elite players — both boys and girls — we have to expose them to higher levels of training and new approaches. Chelsea clearly have a genuine interest in the game and player development because they are working with players from all over the world and yet the U.S. is an untapped market.”
The Chelsea youth super club network will comprise top regional clubs across America, affiliated with U.S. soccer organisations like U.S. Youth Soccer, U.S. Soccer Club, Super Y-League and the U.S. Development Academy.
The American youth club initiative will lead to the first Chelsea association with the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy. The current U-16 and U-18 CASL Academy teams now will be featured as the CASL Chelsea FC Academy Teams and will wear official Chelsea kits and training gear.
In addition to becoming the presenting sponsor of CASL’s Shootout and Showcase Tournaments, Chelsea are also the presenting sponsor of Disney’s Soccer Showcase Series, another of America’s most prestigious youth soccer tournament.