USL / West Ham United News Release
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
TAMPA, FL -- West Ham United of the English Premier League and United Soccer Leagues (USL) today announced a major development partnership. The joint announcement was made today in London, England and Tampa, Florida by West Ham CEO Scott Duxbury and USL’s President Francisco Marcos.
West Ham United is one of the premier development clubs in Europe and United Soccer Leagues provides the second and third division of professional soccer in the United States, as well as Under-23, Under-20, youth and women’s leagues with clubs across the United States, Canada and Caribbean
The partnership entails a number of player identification, player exchange, coaching and club development initiatives. Future initiatives include a West Ham United USA youth academy and professional franchise competing within the USL system to provide North, Central and South American players a corridor to Europe.
“The West Ham USA initiatives are designed to maintain the great traditions of the academy ‘state-side’. The partnership with the USL provides an excellent platform for the development of the program and the West Ham United presence in the United States,” said West Ham United CEO, Scott Duxbury.
Long a proponent of establishing strong international relationships to help develop North American players, USL Founder and President Francisco Marcos said, “This represents a watershed moment in the development of international relationships between USL and international organizations of renowned credibility. West Ham United has a reputation among the best clubs for developing world class players and we believe that this partnership will aid the development of USL and afford aspiring North American players the opportunity to reach Europe earlier in their careers, which I believe is absolutely critical to develop world-class North American players.”
A sample of the development partnership details include West Ham identifying up to twenty youth players from the USL Super Y-League and Super-20 League to attend the West Ham United Academy in London for training and evaluation. West Ham United will also work with USL to place players on loan or in permanent contracts with USL First Division teams. Selected USL coaches will gain a unique opportunity to participate in an unprecedented, behind the scenes technical symposium at West Ham United. West Ham United will actively work with select USL clubs on academy and coaching best practices methodology and select USL youth club teams will be provided access to the West Ham youth academy on official player and coaching development tours.
About West Ham United and Quotes
West Ham United are poised for an exciting season in the English Premier League having added international players Scott Parker (England), Richard Wright (England), Craig Bellamy (Wales), Freddie Ljungberg (Sweden) and Julien Faubert (France) to their squad for the new season. The West Ham United youth academy is recognized one of the most successful youth soccer programs in the world. Three West Ham players were in the England under-21 team that reached the semi-finals of the 2007 UEFA Under-21 championship this summer. West Ham Academy Director Tony Carr has been central to the success of the academy since 1973 and will lead the implementation of his system with USL.
Scott Duxbury, West Ham United CEO
“The West Ham USA initiatives are designed to maintain the great traditions of the academy ‘state-side’. The partnership with the USL provides an excellent platform for the development of the program and the West Ham United presence in the US.”
Alan Curbishley, West Ham United First Team Manager
“As someone who progressed through the youth ranks at West Ham United, I am delighted that the Club is taking steps to expand the development of young players and the opportunities available to them. I look forward to the benefits that the West Ham United USA Academy will hopefully provide, and will take a keen interest in the growth and progress of this exciting project.”
Tony Carr, West Ham United Academy Director
“We are excited to bring the West Ham Academy model to the United States and to share some of our ideas and information with USL players, coaches, and clubs. We recognize the potential pool of talented players available through the USL network and look forward to working with them in our academy in London.”
Jonathan Spector, the USA international is a current member of the West Ham United first-team squad and a former player in the USL Super Y-League
“This is a great move to share the West Ham United Academy system with clubs throughout the USA through the USL. I look forward to welcoming American teams, coaches and players to Upton Park and the training ground.”
About United Soccer Leagues and Quotes
As United Soccer Leagues starts its third decade of operation, soccer at all levels continues to grow in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean. The largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America, containing over 200 clubs, United Soccer Leagues is dedicated to growing the sport at the grassroots level in every community. The USL First Division and Second Division (North American men’s professional soccer), the USL Premier Development League (U23 North American men’s amateur), the USL W-League (North American women’s amateur), the USL Super-20 League (U20 North American men’s and women’s amateur) and the USL Super Y-League (North American boy’s and girl’s elite youth amateur) have provided a platform for thousands of players to reach their dreams since 1986. This vision and commitment to develop a soccer nation by fans, investors, administrators, coaches, and players has created the foundation for the growth of the sport, while presenting affordable, exciting family entertainment in over 100 cities and towns on the continent.
USL President and Founder, Francisco Marcos
“This represents a watershed moment in the development of international relationships between USL and international organizations of renowned credibility. West Ham United has a reputation among the best clubs for developing world class players and we believe that this partnership will aid the development of USL and afford aspiring North American players the opportunity to reach Europe earlier in their careers, which I believe is absolutely critical to develop world-class North American players.”
Martin Prothero, Senior Vice President of Football for UMBRO and Chairman of USL
“I am delighted to see this partnership between two of UMBRO’s strongest brands. West Ham United’s unique record in developing young players, combined with the USL network of clubs in the United States, Canada and Caribbean can provide very exciting programs and outcomes for both organizations. UMBRO has a considerable investment in the USL property and we believe that this partnership will be the first of many successful international ventures between USL and prominent foreign clubs. UMBRO is very pleased to be partners with both organizations and looks forward to being an active partner in the West Ham United’s initiatives in the United States.”
For further information contact:
West Ham United
Jon Conway, West Ham USA – 770 876 0917 (USA)
Ben Illingworth, West Ham United Football Club – 020 8586 8062 (UK)
United Soccer Leagues
Matt Weibe, United Soccer Leagues – 813 963 3909 (USA)