Lukasz Piszczek to open Polish youth academy with Borussia Dortmund backing
Poland's Lukasz Piszczek has finalised plans to open a youth academy in his hometown of Goczalkowice-Zdroj, in partnership with Borussia Dortmund.
The Lukasz Piszczek BVB Academy, which includes three natural grass pitches with two stands, changing rooms, a rehabilitation and wellness area and meeting rooms, is scheduled for completion in summer 2019. Training courses are set to be offered to local children and teenagers as early as August, with Dortmund coach Michal Ziolo - a close friend of Piszczek - installed as academy director.
"I grew up here, this is where I developed into the man I am today, which is why I wanted to give something back," Dortmund defender and former Poland international Piszczek said at the project's official presentation. "We've put a lot of work into it, a lot of passion. It's been worth it."
Watch: Patrick Owomoyela meets Lukasz Piszczek
Piszczek, who set up his own foundation aimed at engaging young children in football in 2017, came up with the idea to open a youth academy three years ago, but it is only recently that he received the backing of current employers Dortmund.
"Lukasz is not a man of great words, but great deeds - an extraordinary person," explained Dortmund marketing chief Carsten Cramer, confirming BVB's plans to "actively support" the project. "The fact he has followed through on an idea he had three years go makes BVB very proud. The training of young players is very important for the success of out club. It's also in a region Dortmund feels very close to."
Dortmund's Polish connection owes much to Piszczek, who first arrived in Germany as a teenager and spent six seasons on the books of Hertha Berlin before joining BVB in 2010. He lined up alongside countrymen Jakub 'Kuba' Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski in the team that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, and has made over 300 appearances for the club.
Piszczek is under contract with five-time Bundesliga champions Dortmund until the summer of 2020, after which he expects to call time on playing at the top level in order to return to his homeland.
"I will end my career in Dortmund," the 33-year-old told German sports magazine kicker last summer. "I will return to Poland and – just for fun – play for my old club LKS Goczalkowice. It would be nothing more to do with professional football – I will only keep myself fit there."
Polish quartet Joachim Siwek, Tadeusz Krafft, Sebastian Tyrala and Ebi Smolarek - the latter scoring 25 goals in 81 Bundesliga appearances between 2005 and 2008 - have also played for Dortmund.
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