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Italian soccer club picks Tysons site for first U.S. youth academy

AC Milan, the Italian soccer club, is opening a Virginia youth training academy in Tysons (courtesy AC Milan)

A top-tier Italian soccer club is making a play for Tysons.

AC Milan, which claims to be the “most popular Italian football brand” in the U.S., announced last month that it has chosen Fairfax County as the site of its first youth training academy in North America.

Offering programs for kids aged 5 to 17, AC Milan Academy Virginia will launch next spring at 8300 Boone Blvd, Suite 500.

“AC Milan Academy Virginia is another piece in the consolidation process of the AC Milan brand on a global level,” Maikel Oettle, the club’s chief commercial officer, said. “The launch of the AC Milan Academy project in the US territory attests to our commitment and our contribution to the promotion of football in North America, through which we aim to export the values of AC Milan worldwide.”

Founded in 1899 by some Englishmen living in Italy, Associazione Calcio Milan operates 16 training academies in Europe and Asia. It made its first foray into North America this summer with a series of junior camps in Canada.

To introduce itself to the area, the club is bringing a junior camp for kids aged 6 to 17 to George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. Registration is currently open for the camp, which is aimed at potential Academy players and will take place from Dec. 6-9.

Led by Davide Battistini, who has also served as head coach at the Vietnam and Saudi Arabia academies, the Virginia academy will have programs for U6 (ages 5-6) through U18 (ages 17-18). Participants will work with both specialized professionals and local technical staff who will support their “personal and sporting growth,” the club said.

The academy’s creation stems from a partnership between AC Milan and Black & Red Pumas, which is named after the club’s colors and top sponsor. Vienna resident Dario Scatena founded the company as an AC Milan fan.

“I am very pleased with this collaboration that will bring the colours and values of AC Milan and Italian traditions to the American territory,” Scatena, the CEO of Black & Red Pumas, said. “I am very confident that the excellence and the AC Milan Method will bring great benefits, firstly for the young players in their personal growth, and then for American soccer. This is a family for me, and I look forward to both girls and boys feeling part of this great family and growing in every aspect with its values.”

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