Approximately 2,835 miles separates Edmonton, Alberta in Canada from IMG Academy, but for one group of girls, what IMG Academy soccer program offers was well worth the journey.
Nine days ago, the Green & Gold Soccer Academy in Edmonton sent a group of U17 girls to IMG in order to utilize the IMG Academy soccer program's coaches and facilities, attempting to improve their individual and team skills. The Green & Gold Academy similarly develops youth soccer talent in conjunction with the University of Alberta philosophy and coaches.
From the Green and Gold Soccer Academy website:
[The Green and Gold Academy serves to provide> a first class soccer development program intended for highly motivated players in grades 7 - 12 who wish to significantly advance their soccer skills and knowledge of the game while achieving a high level of academic success.
So why would a team from Canada choose to make the trip to train at IMG Academy?
"To be quite honest we looked at what was available in terms of other places in North America and our possibilities in Europe," said Green & Gold coach M.P Duxbury. "We found IMG Academy to be the best opportunity for the girls in terms of development and an opportunity to be in a professional environment. There were opportunities in Europe, but not like this to get the setting, the atmosphere, and the competition."
Green and Gold Academy's team-leader Alysha Elyk noted how IMG Academy has helped improve her team during their stay:
"Being here has helped us prepare for our outdoor season because we don't really get to play at facilities like this, even when we're in mid-season. I think we will be further ahead of some of the teams back home. It has also been good for the team, and has helped bring us girls together."
The Green & Gold Academy will face the University of Tampa in a scrimmage this afternoon at 3 p.m. prior to heading back to Alberta tomorrow morning.