This week, Liverpool FC entered a long-term agreement for a South Florida academy focused on developing a base of American talent.
The LFC International Academy South Florida is in Palm Beach Gardens. Liverpool has another international academy in central Florida, known as the LFC IA Central Florida. However, South Florida provides opportunities to hundreds and thousands of different young soccer players.
The area serves as one of the most critical soccer markets in the United States. Plus, Liverpool’s higher-ups have a connection to the area. LFC Principal Owner John Henry was a longtime resident of Palm Beach County, and he continues to have holdings in the area.
Liverpool FC’s partnership for an international academy in South Florida comes in an agreement with Palm Beach Soccer Academy. Former English professional player Gary Walker founded the academy in 1996. This agreement gives players the ability to train under the tutelage of LFC International Academy coaches. These coaches teach directly from curriculum developed at Liverpool. Therefore, it mirrors the principles and methodologies at the center at LFC’s teachings at its Academy in Liverpool.
The year-round academy consists of multiple teams. Also, it incorporates league and tournament play, as well as operating camps during the holidays. Coaches benefit from a comprehensive coach education curriculum. This includes the LFC International Academy global accreditation.
LFC International Academy South Florida operates on both the boys and girls side, aged 5 to 18. The first season of the LFC IA South Florida kicks off in August with initial tryouts in late May.
Reactions to Liverpool’s South Florida academy
Gary Walker, Palm Beach Soccer Academy (PBSA) founder, is proud to welcome Liverpool into a partnership.
“We have been working closely with LFC for some time to formulate this arrangement. We are honored and excited that LFC has chosen PBSA to be their partner in South Florida. This coaching program will truly be a game-changer for youth players in this area. They will have the opportunity to benefit from the LFC coaching curriculum, as well as many other advantages.”
Ian Rush, Reds legend and LFC International Academy ambassador, recognizes the importance of the South Florida community in the soccer world. “We can’t wait to get started in South Florida, an area that is very passionate about its soccer. We’re excited to kick the program off and to see it develop over the coming years, offering the best LFC coaching possible to youngsters from across the region.”
Liverpool’s South Florida academy appointed Ian Bishop as Technical Director. Bishop featured for Manchester City, West Ham United and Miami Fusion during his playing days.
Bishop said “as a native of Liverpool and former Premier League player, I am extremely excited about the LFC partnership. It will be invaluable to give access to the curriculum of one of the world’s best clubs. Our players will benefit immensely.”
Walker and Bishop are both former professional players. Consequently, both bring extensive experience of the game from the biggest stage. Moreover, they combine for over 50 years of local coaching and experience. Both played professionally locally and have a unique sense of the players that are present in South Florida.
Other local coaches with experience will be added in the near future to the roster for the academy.