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Celtic to Open 30 Youth Academies in U.S. and Canada

Yep, you read that right: Scottish giant Celtic plans to open no less than 30 youth academies in the U.S. and Canada over the next five years. Why, you ask? Like other major clubs -- Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chivas de Guadalajara, Atletico Paranaense and Atletico Mineiro all have partnerships of some kind with Major League Soccer clubs -- Celtic smells opportunity in America. In this case, the Scottish champ wants to capitalize on the fact that the U.S. has millions of registered soccer players.

Celtic's plan is to develop 30 community soccer academies in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Toronto and Cleveland, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, that would be open to up to 30,000 kids, free of charge. The late Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, left some $1.7 billion to be poured into community centers aimed towards under-privileged kids in the country's biggest cities and operated by the Salvation Army.

"This is a long-term program and will ultimately see Celtic coaching delivered all year round in communities throughout North America and Canada," Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell said. "The program has also been very successful in promoting Scottish football in general, as well as the country of Scotland, to an American audience." As part of that broader campaign, the Scottish champs will next month return to the U.S. to play the MLS All-Stars in Commerce City, Colo.

Read the whole story at Daily Record »

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