Premier League side Stoke City have announced a unique initiative in North America, as the Potters will link up with several youth sides in the USA and Canada.
Releasing a statement on their website, Stoke revealed they will partner with Global Image Sports to launch what they call an “International Academy.”
With U.S. national team players Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea already on board at Stoke, the English side are looking to grow their brand in North America.
Initially the team will hand over their expertise to several teams in the USA and Canada, giving advice and sharing their ideas on elite player development.
Speaking about the deal, Stoke’s chief executive Tony Scholes had the following to say.
“The partnership is a fantastic opportunity for us to raise the club’s profile in North America, where football is becoming increasingly popular and where we already have strong links thanks to having the likes of Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea on our books.”
What remains to be seen is how big this partnership will become as Stoke aim to be one of the first teams that aspiring soccer players hear about at a young age in North America. They certainly have an advantage with Cameron and Shea on board, however after their relatively up and down start to the season, they may need to focus on securing their PL status first before growing their brand in North America.
That said, it is wonderful to see Premier League teams taking such a proactive approach in player development in the U.S. Other teams such as Manchester City, with their links to New York City FC, have set up and support youth teams in the NYC area but Stoke’s remit for this project seems to be wide-ranging.
Who knows, in 10 years time there could be a ton of Stoke fans across North America if this initiative comes off.