Fleetwood Town International Football Academy (FTIFA) representatives recently travelled over to the United States for a networking and player pathways trip - which was a huge success.
The first stop for was to Baltimore, Maryland, and this consisted of a three-day visit to the United Soccer Coaches Convention - an event which is one of the biggest collection of football coaches and football businesses in the world.
FTIFA explored a number of avenues relating to player engagement and touring teams back to Poolfoot Farm – Fleetwood Town’s training complex
With current links with the EPL, it led FTIFA into some excellent meetings to work with teams, colleges and players. The Fleetwood Town brand and awareness was very well received with lots of interest from across all areas of the conference.
After a successful few days in Baltimore, they linked up with RUSH Soccer Clubs – who have over 40 franchised clubs across the US and NCE Soccer programs. This will ensure that FTIFA and Fleetwood can have an impact on soccer players throughout America.
FTIFA followed up the trip with a visit to a partner Club in Washington D.C. A former Fleetwood Town goalkeeper, Peter Summerfield has developed links to several soccer clubs and education providers, which could provide a very exciting future for FTIFA.
St Andrews School was a stop for the academy, which is a top education provider in the state. The school welcomed the staff to talk to students, which helped provide links for not just players but also between themselves and Rossall School.
It wasn’t just meeting for the members of staff, so on the football front, Bethesda Soccer Club welcomed FTIFA into their sessions. The level of ability is equal to that of local MLS teams, and a number of players in the programme are in the US Olympic teams.
Rob Smith, Technical Director for FTIFA said: “Coming from a professional academy in England and working with players daily at Fleetwood Town has been great to see the levels of players out here in the States. There’s real talent out here, which hopefully can be brought into the programmes we have at ongoing at the club.”
Plans are in place to deliver a Summer Talent ID camp at Poolfoot Farm, along with a Pro Experience placement for up to five players. The link to the school in Washington will also see plans put in place for a U.K. tour supported largely by the FTIFA.
Mick Horsfall, FTIFA Operations Manager, added: “The trip was a real eye opener. The amount of potential and opportunity to work with players, clubs, and coaches is huge.
“We have some great people working on behalf of Fleetwood Town stateside. Scott Middlemas has been invaluable with his networking. The programmes and the professional environment we have created are really appealing to everyone involved in football. We now need to convert the interest into enrolments here at Fleetwood Town.”
If any coaches or clubs feel they would be able to support FTIFA programs and would like to be associated partner, please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org