American talent given a chance

Academy director Tony Carr will be casting his eye over young American talent around West Ham United's high-profile trip to the United States and Canada in July.

Over the past 12 months, the West Ham United Football Academy USA has put forward 16 talented teenagers to train and be evaluated by the club's youth coaches as they look for the next Freddie Sears or Mark Noble. Carr and colleague Paul Heffer are now planning to identify a further ten players to visit the Academy at Little Heath to complement the commitment to local youngsters. They are staging a series of training camps featuring coaching sessions and full-scale trial matches in Georgia, Illinois and Indiana as well as around the first-team's pre-season matches in North America.

Carr has spoken about the potential he sees in young talent on the other side of the Atlantic. "The enthusiasm with American youngsters to get better and to play the game is unquenchable at the moment. There is lots of raw talent in the US and some very good players. There is no question about that. We had a boy come to our Academy who was on a European break and he made a visit through our links in the US. We let him join in with our Under-12 squad and this player was as good as anyone we had recruited ourselves locally. We know the talent is there in the US.

"We are looking for a passion and enthusiasm of the game," Carr added when asked what the Academy coaches are hoping to spot during their summer programme. "You have got to love the game. You have got to want the football at your feet every minute of the day to learn and hone those techniques. As they progress and get older, the game gets faster and more physically demanding so we are trying to produce and develop a player that can cope with those demands later on. In the early years, it is just about developing skill, technique and individuality. Those are things we can encourage and the rest can come later."

For more information about the North American training camps, click here