Learn from the Pros: 10 Great Soccer Schools Abroad
In the fiercely competitive world of club soccer, talented players (and their parents) are always on the lookout for anything that may give them that extra edge on the field and, indeed, in the way they approach the game in general.
There are many excellent programs in the United States, the reason I believe it is only a matter of time before the country has its own bona fide superstar. Too many gifted kids are growing through the system for the search for a Ronaldo or a Messi to continue much longer.
Development is defined by the coaches, the clubs and even the regional organizations a youth player is lucky - or unlucky - enough to work with.
But many parents tell me it has been an enormous benefit to their children to play abroad in tournaments or camps where they get a first hand view of a different side of the soccer coin.
It is costly; the travel and accommodation alone are going to strain the purse strings. But the experience of playing at academies run by the big clubs like Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Arsenal could well be priceless.
Some clubs now have branches of their academies in the United States and they can be very good, but it isn’t necessarily the same as living and breathing the soccer culture abroad.
It is no surprise to anybody that the passing drills at Barcelona - the same that the likes of Messi, Neymar and Suarez practice every day - are awesome. One parent who sent his son to train with West Ham United in East London was surprised at the physicality of the play, even in scrimmages, that required some dramatic - and successful - changes in style and speed.
There are camps of all types in many countries, some just a few days, others a couple of weeks or even a year-long course. The location and the cost are obviously going to be key components for any family considering widening their soccer horizons.
Parents have the option of checking out the camps themselves online and dealing with them direct including currency payment challenges, required documentation, paper registration and medical forms along with the travel arrangements or utilize the services of an agency dedicated to European Team Soccer Sports Camps for youth.
One leading such soccer sports agency is California-based 'Soccer Camps International’ which, through special arrangements with many of the top soccer camps in Europe, has assisted thousands of families enroll their children into the independently-run camps across Europe, including England, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. There are dozens of famous soccer camps in Europe and making ‘the’ right choice for your child can be difficult. Soccer Camps International provides individualized counsel on the specific camps then assists with the payment process with their online registration system and serves as a great resource and contact for parents.
“We have been in business for 17 years and have built long term relationships with the camp coaches, administrators, directors and staff” said Stephane Moreau, President of Soccer Camps International. “We diligently work to support each child having an incredible experience. We are proud that families we assist come back to us each year and refer our services to their friends. They know that each year, we personally tour camps to ensure that our information is current and we are in the position to provide them with useful information.”
Anyone interested can check out the website (http://soccercampsinternational.com/) which features some of the clubs listed below.
To help give you an idea of what’s out there, Football.com has compiled a list of 10 soccer schools abroad offering a starting point to what could be an amazing soccer adventure.
1) Arsenal Soccer Schools, England
Arsenal Soccer Schools have been running programs since 1985, starting in the club's local community in north London, giving boys and girls of all ability levels the opportunity to learn to play football the Arsenal way wherever they are.
CONTACT DETAILS: Arsenal Football Club, Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, London N5 1BU, England
Phone: 011 44 207 619 5000 - select option 2
2) i2i International Soccer Academy College, England
The i2i College ID Clinics are open to players who are looking to improve themselves on the soccer pitch, whilst having the appetite to achieve an internationally recognized degree in either International Business Management or Sports Science.
CONTACT DETAILS: i2i International Soccer Academy, Independence House, Millfield Lane,Nether Poppleton, York YO26 6PH, England.
Phone: +44 (0)1904 606000
3) Real Madrid, Spain
Through soccer and a varied program of fun and innovative educational activities, participants will learn important values from Real Madrid such as leadership, effort, teamwork, self-control and respect for others.
CONTACT DETAILS: 2854 Habersham Road, Atlanta, GA 30305, USA
4) FC Barcelona, Spain
The ultimate FC Barcelona soccer experience in one of the Camp’s locations in Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marbella, Spain, London, England or at FC Barcelona’s official training ground the Ciutat Esportiva in Barcelona, Spain.
CONTACT DETAILS: 19 West 21st Street, #702, New York, NY 10010 United States
Phone: +1 212 796 8351 (USA)
5) AC Milan, Italy
At Milan, youth has always been the center of many activities in the belief that the practice of sport and football can offer important opportunities in terms of education and mental well-being. To pursue this goal more effectively the club started the Milan Junior project in 1999, with a set of initiatives and educational activities aimed at the active involvement of young people and their families, in Italy and throughout the world.
CONTACT DETAILS: AC Milan, Via Aldo Rossi 8, 20149 Milano, Italy
Phone: +39 0262281
Email: Form link at http://www.acmilan.com/en/contacts
6) Juventus, Italy
Created to give students the opportunity to experience a week (or two) full of fun and sport. Days are spent playing much soccer, as well as other sports, living get-together and entertainment moments and obviously enjoying deserved moments of relaxation.
CONTACT DETAILS: Corso Gaetano Scirea, 50, Torino, Italy.
7) FC Girondins of Bordeaux, France
The official course of FC Girondins de Bordeaux has been running for more than 30 years and has become an international benchmark in football training. Open during school holidays (winter, Easter, summer and All Saints), Cap Girondins is a resort specializing in football and approved by France’s Departmental Directorate of Youth, Sports and Social Cohesion.
CONTACT DETAILS: Rue Joliot-Curie, 33187 Le Haillan Cedex
Phone: 05 56 16 11 16
8) Paris Saint Germain, France
The Paris Saint-Germain Academy has camps all over the world and offers youth training programs with the aim of getting excellent results quickly.
CONTACT DETAILS: Paris Saint-Germain, 24 rue du Commandant Guilbaud, 75781 Paris Cedex 16, France
Phone: 0 811 09 10 87
9) Benfica, Portugal
Founded on February 28th, 1904, Sport Lisboa e Benfica is the one of the biggest Clubs in the World. With 14 million fans around the world, it is present across 70 countries. For its majestic nature, and representing strength, protection, magnificence and bravery, the Eagle is Benfica’s symbol.
CONTACT DETAILS: Club Benfica, Benfica Stadium Stadium Sport Lisboa e Benfica - Gate 18, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, 1500-313 LISBON:. PORTUGAL
Phone: 707 200 100
Email: Contact form at http://www.slbenfica.pt/pt-pt/contactos.aspx
10) Ajax, Netherlands
State of the art training at one of the world’s most consistently progressive clubs.
CONTACT DETAILS: Ajax Amsterdam, Amsterdam ArenA, Arena Boulevard 29, 1101 AX Amsterdam Zuidoost, The Netherlands