West Ham United Football Club has one of the most respected youth academies in world football.
Under the direction of academy director Tony Carr, the West Ham United Academy has produced many players who have gone on to play at the very top level of professional football. The club has established the International Academy to develop partnerships and programs in the USA that can share West Ham United Academy coaching methodology to assist the long-term development of North American players.
According to Tony Carr;
"The enthusiasm with American youngsters to get better and to play the game is unquenchable at the moment. There is lots of raw talent in the US and some very good players. There is no question about that. We had a boy come to our academy who was on vacation in the UK, and he made a visit through our links in the USA. We let him join in with our under-12 squad and this player was as good as anyone we had recruited ourselves locally. We know the talent is there in the US."
When asked what academy coaches hoped to see from American players, Carr added; "We are looking for a passion and enthusiasm for the game. You have got to love the game. You have got to want the ball at your feet every minute of the day to learn and hone those techniques. As they progress and get older, the game gets faster and more physically demanding so we are trying to produce and develop a player that can cope with those demands later on. In the early years, it is just about developing skill, technique and individuality. Those are things we can encourage and the rest can come later."
When you look at the long list of players that have come through the Academy such as, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Anton Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson, you start to see the quality and standard that the Academy has produced over the years and is continuing to do so. Now they are also starting to produce the same in the women’s game as they compete in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.
Our partnership with West Ham United means that we will be able to bring in some of their Academy Staff Coaches to our ODP State Select Team training sessions as well as our College Combine Camp held at ULM. The object of the partnership is to give greater exposure for our players as well as the opportunity of possibly being invited to the West Ham United Academy National Training Camp. If the Academy Coaching Staff like what they see they may invite the player to come over to the West Ham United Academy in London, England. This past year we had Ian Bishop and Shaun Ramsden come to our College Combine Camp and were very impressed with what was on offer.
The other part of our partnership is something we have been looking to do for some time now with our program. We hope to take a couple of our age groups over to the West Ham United Academy and train for a week as well play several games against their Academy Teams as well as other Academy Programs in and around the London area. This again is a wonderful opportunity to give our players greater exposure and further their own development.
We are now looking forward to seeing where our partnership with West Ham United will take us!
This year we will be providing all of the pool selections with a training program to raise and maintain a level of fitness and keep our players at the top of their game. The program will be emailed to all of the players and it is up to them to follow it outside of their regular Club and ODP training environment.
To help with the fitness process we will be bringing in BQuick Athletic Development to assist with fitness testing and assist with our ODP player development. BQuick will come in and test our players early in the new season to give everyone an idea of where they are currently with their personal fitness. They will then return to test and see how far each individual has improved.
This is a vital part of the Louisiana Soccer Associations Olympic Development Program and our State Select Teams. In order to give our players the best opportunity to showcase themselves, the LSA has teamed up with The Sport Source who is a leader in the College Recruitment Process. Their Mission Statement: "To provide the perfect link between a student-athlete, a specialized sports program and a well-rounded college education".
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