Wednesday 08 Aug
Updated Thursday 09 Aug 09:08
Partners

GIS & WHU in North America

Felipe Anderson

With the 2026 FIFA World Cup heading to North America, the popularity of the sport is at an all-time high on the continent, and West Ham United can look forward to expanding upon an already impressive fanbase and presence in the territory, courtesy of the great work done by the Club’s coaching staff through the partnership with Global Image Sports (GIS).

West Ham have been embedded in North America for over 12 years now, not only through the immense expansion of the Premier League’s TV audience viewing but through grassroots and elite level youth football development work.

Core to this is the work done with GIS who are responsible for connecting the club to various youth soccer institutions all over Canada, the US and Mexico. Through the careful selection criteria and creation of events, these clubs are then able to benefit from coaching expertise, education, player development models and the chance to visit London to gain an insight into the modern day requirements of youth football.

Everything is done in the way it would be done in England, with a massive emphasis on the West Ham Way. Several senior Academy staff such as Paul Heffer will visit the territory yearly to deliver the club’s philosophy, with the entire programme overseen by Academy Director Terry Westley and supported by the West Ham Foundation staff as well. 

The program has grown massively over the years and what started out as a camp and tour program now encompasses over 45 large events, several large talent ID programs as well as a series of player development trips to England each year to work with players of all ages and abilities. Regional ID camps allow coaches to identify and pool the best talent, earning these youngsters an invitation to a national camp. 

The national camp is a huge event featuring over 300 of the best players on the continent. Here they get to work with the Academy coaching staff for four days in-depth, assessing players capable of returning to England to advance into the Elite programmes that pit them against the club’s players or give them the chance to test themselves in an elite environment. Take a look here.

At any given time, the Hammers have over 100,000 connections with youth soccer players and their families in North America which has led to a huge fanbase and following. By the end of this year, there will be over 50 global events, 100+ players visiting England of elite standard and over 20 coaches trained by the Club to deliver their message overseas and in the right way. 

f you are a player, parent or coach in North America and are interested in attending one of these events then you can get in touch with GIS via info@globalimagesports.com. To see a list of the youth soccer club’s participating in the GIS/West Ham programme – have a look below.