Academy teams up

Local championship soccer club FC LONDON confirmed (as of Dec. 1) that their youth academy program will be heavily affiliated with the MLS champions, Toronto FC, and will in turn rebrand to the ‘London TFC Academy.’ The rebrand will include new colours, which will change to Toronto FC’s red, grey and white colour scheme along with a clothing manufacture change to soccer giant Adidas.

“This is exciting for London, as we are truly now offering a pathway for male players to pro,” said FC LONDON founder Ian Campbell. “We’ve spent several months negotiating a deal with Toronto FC president Bill Manning and GM Tim Bezbatchenko, and we’re thrilled with the results.”

Those results include ongoing trials for players at TFC’s state of the art KIA Training Centre, which is only a two-hour drive from London. Many players within the club have already played exhibition games, toured the pro team’s facilities, and attended evaluations with Toronto FC coaching staff. The TFC staff will be tracking all London TFC Academy players in a master database for ongoing assessment and evaluation. Toronto FC will also be sharing player recruiting, coaching, training and curriculum resources with London TFC Academy, as well as running camps, training and evaluation sessions in London.

Toronto FC’s GM is excited to leverage their recent MLS Championship win into even more opportunities going forward.

“With the introduction of London TFC, we’re excited to uniformly, across our player pathway, be able to teach not only in the GTA, but to work with coaches and players and technical staff to identify players and to help players realize their potential so that one day players from London TFC will be players at BMO field,” said Bezbatchenko.

All materials shared by Toronto FC will be shared with partner clubs of FC LONDON.

“This is the real deal,” said Mike Marcoccia, FC LONDON’s head coach. “The combination of this affiliation with our established U21 and League1 program now gives us a legitimate pathway from U8 right through to professional opportunities. On the girls side of things, they’ll also get exposure to curriculum and coaching from TFC staff which will enhance their ability to work toward scholarship and professional opportunities.”

FC LONDON will continue to be the brand for the League1 and U21 teams as players graduate from youth soccer to the next playing level.

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Submitted by London TFC Academy