Burnley strike exciting US academy partnership
English Championship club Burnley have struck a deal with a US college club. The Clarets yesterday announced a formal partnership with Cary U23 PDL team - who are to be re-branded as Cary Clarets - and Next Level Academy from North Carolina.
An initial two-year deal is aimed at developing Academy-based and first-team players for Burnley, who in turn have pledged to provide full backing to the Cary Clarets in the shape of sharing training methods, aiding youth development and helping to establish the Cary brand.
Martin Dobson, Burnley's Head of Youth Development, told the Lancashire Telegraph: "I've coached in America and the talent is there. Football is getting stronger all the time.
"American sports are very aggressive, but football is more to do with skill and that's what more kids are interested in.
"They want to play football and more parents are encouraging them to play football.
"In America, the foundations are in place for kids to play football at every age group, from eight upwards to 19.
"But the problem is in the upper scene - getting into the professional game. Whereas we have a strong system in England, it is quite weak in America. That's where we are looking to benefit."
It is not the first instance that an English club have forged links with a US-based 'feeder club', with Stoke City affiliated with USL First Division outfit Austin Aztecs.
And Burnley's operational director Brendan Flood is confident that the club's cross-Atlantic partnership will bear fruits over the coming years.
"There is no doubt that Cary has an exceptional college set-up in the United States that we can hopefully tap into," said Flood.
"The standard of players their Academy produces is high and we hope that working with Cary we can help both organisations to prosper."