Friday, 07 May 2010 00:00
The Rough Riders, Long Island’s premier soccer franchise located in Plainview, is proud to announce an official partnership with West Ham United International Academy.
The Rough Riders will be the exclusive affiliate for West Ham United on Long Island. The partnership initially entails player identification and developmental at the youth level.
West Ham United youth development system has produced such players as Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee and Paul Ince. More recently, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Frank Lampardhave begun their careers at West Ham.
“West Ham is renowned for their development of players,” said Mike Kelleher, West Ham United International Academy manager. “Potentially six former West Ham United players will be playing for the English National Team this World Cup.”
“European clubs are gaining more interest in American players, due to the growth of American soccer,” said Flavio Ferri, Rough Riders general manager. “A prime example is the recent success of former Rough Riders player Mike Grella, who is now playing with Leeds United.”
Rough Riders President, Peter Zaratin, recently returned from a five-day visit with West Ham United to finalize this exciting venture for both clubs. “This partnership is based on player identification and finding the next Michael Grella on Long Island who can play in England,” said Zaratin. “All too often, professional European clubs focus only on brand expansion in North America. After meeting with Tony Carr and Paul Heffer from West Ham United, I am confident the club’s intentions are pure – produce top level soccer players!”
To identify talented American players, Tony Carr and the West Ham United Academy coaches will conduct a National Player Identification Camp from July 21 to the 24th in Northern Virginia. As part of the West Ham United and Rough Riders partnership, 20 players from the Juniors Rough Riders will be selected for the national ID camp.
The best players from the identification camp will be invited to attend the West Ham United Academy in London.
For additional information on the West Ham United Academy partnership please continue to check www.liroughriders.com or call the Rough Riders corporate office at 622.3900, ext. 13.
The Rough Riders have been part of the Long Island soccer landscape since their inception in 1994. In 1995, both the Rough Riders Men’s and Women’s teams won their first United Soccer League (USL) National Championship. Since their initial success, the Rough Riders Men’s team has gone on to win the 2nd Division National Championship in 2002 while the Rough Riders Women’s team qualified for the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008.
The Rough Riders are known for developing players including former U.S. National Team members Chris Armas, Tony Meola, and MLS All Star Giovanni Savarese and Jimmy Rooney along with US Olympic Team Member and current Junior Rough Riders Coaching Director, John Diffley.
More recently the Rough Riders helped jumpstart the careers of Mike Grella who is currently playing at Leeds United in England, Mike Palacio at FK Radnicki Obrenovac in Serbia, Gina DiMartino-Philadelphia Independence in the Women’s Professional Soccer league and Sue Weber, who has just returned to the Rough Riders after being drafted by the Boston Breakers in 2009.
The Rough Riders are also comprised of a Junior Rough Riders program, featuring elite level players from 8 to 17 years of age. Junior Rough Riders teams compete in regional and national tournaments while teams from 13 to 17 years old participate in the Super Y-League (SYL), the youth component of the United Soccer Leagues.