Geoff Cameorn

Stoke City launch initiative to set up academies across North America

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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.

Stoke want to keep USA’s Geoff Cameron, Southampton in the hunt

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On ‘Transfer Deadline Day’ U.S. national team player Geoff Cameron is in the midst of a tug of war.

ProSoccerTalk can confirm that Cameron, 29, was being chased by Premier League duo Sunderland and Southampton, while Serie A outfit Lazio were also interested, but Stoke City have blocked any potential switch. Sunderland have since signed Sebastian Coates from Liverpool on loan and Lazio are said to be out of the running.

[RELATED: Summer transfer window news]

[WATCH: Deadline Day special on NBCSN, 6-8 p.m. ET]

Southampton are the only team left in the hunt for Cameron’s services, with PST’s source stating Saints have been in talks over the player all day and could make a last-gasp move for the American. PST have contacted both teams, who are staying tight-lipped on any potential deal for the U.S. international.

The versatile player, who has operated at right back for the Potters over the past two seasons, played at center back and center midfield for the USA at the World Cup this summer and it is believed that Cameron will be given the chance to play in a central role at Saints.

However, the man Stoke signed from the Houston Dynamo back in 2012 could remain at the Britannia Stadium past the transfer deadline at 6 p.m. ET on Monday. Last week we revealed that Italian side Lazio, plus Hull City, Swansea, Sunderland and Southampton were in for Cameron and the U.S. international was said to be keen for a move. Cameron has yet to feature in the PL for Stoke this campaign and suffered a groin injury in the Potters’ League Cup win over Portsmouth last week.

With the final few hours of the window ticking away, time is running out for Cameron to find a new club as Mark Hughes and Stoke dig in their heels to keep him with the Potters. Southampton are the last club in the running but this deal is set to go down to the wire as the U.S. international could remain at Stoke City for the foreseeable future.

Don’t forget to tune in to the “Transfer Deadline Day Show” on NBCSN (Monday, 6-8 p.m. ET).