BY FERNANDO PEINADO, Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — As the U.S. appetite for soccer grows, more American kids are harboring dreams of becoming the next David Beckham or Leo Messi. Their aspirations, realistic or not, have not gone unnoticed by top international teams, which are trying to capitalize financially.
European clubs like Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal have long sent coaches to work at U.S. summer camps, but now some are opening year-round U.S. academies aimed at finding new talent while also expanding their fan bases and revenue opportunities in the states.
The expansion of such programs is part of a bigger trend, as major international clubs try to grow their brands in the U.S. to battle for the hearts and pocketbooks of Americans today and in decades to come.