Cologne - German record titleholders FC Bayern München have strengthened their presence in the Unites States by announcing a partnership with Global Premier Soccer (GPS), one of the biggest youth football organisations in the USA.
Lahm's seal of approval
The focal point of the partnership will be an exchange between the Bayern junior team and the GPS-supported 55,000 kids and their 5,000 coaches currently spread across 75 clubs in 11 states.
Children at these clubs will be assisted by the current Bundesliga champions in terms of football philosophy and coaching and will have access to official Bayern match and training equipment. Both parties hope to achieve the best possible transfer of ideas and knowledge through regular visits and a permanent exchange between their respective youth coaches.
"When I joined the FC Bayern team as an 11-year-old, everything was organised really professionally," said Bayern captain and 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Philipp Lahm. "Without the education I received here, I would never have achieved what I have done in my career."
Speaking to young people
"This agreement with GPS is massively important for FC Bayern München and is a major step in what we want to achieve in the US," explained Jörg Wacker, the club's director of internationalisation and strategy. "With this partnership we want to consolidate the work we do in North America and predominantly ensure that we are constantly speaking to one of our most important fan groups: children and young people."
Joe Bradley, CEO of GPS, was likewise only too happy to have bound his organisation to one of the world's biggest and most successful clubs, and commented: "The fact that five members of Germany's World Cup-winning squad came from Bayern's youth side speaks for itself."
Bayern also opened their first office abroad - FC Bayern Muenchen LLC - in New York City on 1 April 2014 with the aim of boosting promotion of the club brand in North America.