50 UK players set for US trip
7 Elite Academy will send over 50 grassroots footballers from Merseyside to play in one of the biggest youth football events in the United States later this month.
The youngsters, who train at Litherland Sports Park in Sefton, will fly out to Las Vegas on January 31st, before travelling to Southern Utah for the 7 Elite Academy International Tournament.
It is the largest ever travelling contingent of players, staff and parents to travel to the United States as part of 7 Elite Academy’s Player Pathway programme since it was formed in 2017.
The tournament will feature 500 teams from across the world, including leading youth football players from Australia, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States.
As well as the tournament, the group of players – aged 14 to 19 – will tour colleges and professional clubs in Nevada, and play challenge games against local teams.
7 Elite Academy is a worldwide grassroots football organisation, running training programmes, education courses and community facilities for thousands of players in Liverpool, the USA and Africa.
Anthony Godfrey, 7 Elite Academy Director, believes the tour is a “life-changing” opportunity for youngsters to gain experience of football in a new environment.
He said: “This trip is a massively exciting chance for the players to see how football is played in one of the most competitive youth tournaments in the United States.
“They will be facing some of the best teams in the country, as well as players who have travelled from Europe, Australia and beyond. There will also be teams from Steven Gerrard Academy and AFC Liverpool.
“Each and every player will have the chance to link up with colleges and local professional clubs, as well as playing challenge games against the best youth teams in the region.
“The trip is part of 7 Elite Academy’s Global Player Pathway, which seeks to use football to create life-changing opportunities for players from all corners of the world.
“We’ve seen numerous players join professional academies, with many going on to play first-team senior football on a regular basis. Some have also gained college scholarships in the United States.
“We also help our players from the United States join academies here in Liverpool. Last year alone, five players from Utah were recruited to train and live in the UK.”
The youngsters making the trip this month have all worked to raise funds through a series of community initiatives, including charity work and the Liverpool Santa Dash in December.
Anthony added: “The fact that each player has had to raise money to pay for this trip sends out a hugely important message about the requirement for hard work in football and life itself.
“The reward for that hard work will come during ten fantastic days in the United States. The players will make connections and friendships that will last them a lifetime.
“This is something we demand of all our players, be that here in the UK or anywhere else in the world. It is essential for anyone who wants to progress within our academy.”