Puma and The FIGC Want to Know If You Have What It Takes To #BeTheNext
Do you have what it takes to play football against some of the best in the game? Do you want the opportunity to play against an Italian Youth National Team on their turf? Il Viaggio provides youth players of all backgrounds in the U.S. and Canada a chance to earn a spot on an all-expense-paid trip to Italy to learn from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).
Soccer News: The Italian Football Association (FIGC) and PUMA® have announced a new program named Il Viaggio, Italian for The Journey. This program gives U.S. and Canadian male and female players born in 2000 and 2001 the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn and play football the Italian way in Italy.
In 2016, PUMA will host trials for male players in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto that call on soccer playing Italy fans to #BeTheNext and participate for the chance to meet with Gianluigi Buffon, Marco Verratti and the rest of the Italian Football National Team. Female trials will take place in 2017.
Under the observation of Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) coaches, PUMA will host local tryouts and the top performers will be invited to a National Trial at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, FL. From there, 16 players will be selected to #BeTheNext and participate in an all-expense paid trip to Italy.
Representatives from the FIGC will attend the trials to select the players they feel will most benefit from the opportunity. The head coaches of the FIGC will be on-site to select the final group of 16 players who will then be sent on an all-expense paid trip to Italy.
What does the experience in Italy include?
The group of players selected to travel to Italy over the first weekend of September 2016 will get the opportunity to meet members of the senior national team and attend an international friendly. Players will then stay at the FIGC training center, Coverciano, in Florence. While there, players will train with FIGC coaches and staff in preparation for a match against a youth Italian National Team.
Il Viaggio Overview
- 2000 & 2001 boys program starts this month with three markets hosting Regional Trials: LA, NY, and Toronto
- The girls identification trials and tip will be held in 2017
- Players may apply online at www.soccer.com/ilviaggio; only players who apply will be considered for selection
- Open to all players, not just those with Italian lineage
3 Regional Trials: From those who apply online, sixty-six players will be invited to participate in the trials conducted by the FIGC staff.
- LA- Saturday, April 9th | Ranch Soccer Complex, San Juan Capistrano
- Registration closes Wednesday, March 9th
- NY- Saturday, April 23rd | Calvert Vaux Park, Brooklyn
- Registration closes Wednesday, March 16th
- TOR- Saturday, April 30th | Ontario Soccer Centre, Canada
- Registration closes Wednesday, March 23rd
How will players be selected?
Every player’s online application will be reviewed by PUMA/Il Viaggio staff. A player’s playing history, achievements, and soccer story/passion will all be factors considered. They are looking for the most talented players that have a desire and passion to #BeTheNext and take the Italian journey. Applying players will be notified whether they have been selected to attend the Regional Trial after Registration has closed.
National Trial: The top 30 players will be chosen from the three Regional Trials and invited to attend the National Trial held in Orlando, Florida at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex on August 5-7th. Once again, FIGC staff will be on-hand to conduct and supervise the trial.
Italy Trip: 16 players will be chosen at the end of the National Trial for the amazing all-expense-paid trip to Italy which will include the chance to meet the Italian National Team and watch them play in an International friendly match. In addition, the elite players will have the opportunity to train at Coverciano, the FIGC’s training center in Florence and prepare to play against the U15 Italian Youth National Team.
- Departing from New York City, the team will enjoy travel to various locations in Italy
- Players will depart on Aug. 31 and return back on Sept. 5
- All costs associated with the trip to Italy for those lucky participants will be paid for by PUMA including all flights, accommodations, meals, and on-the-ground experiences.
“Soccer participation in the youth levels is growing in the U.S., this program will give sixteen kids with the prospect of an excellent future the chance to experience soccer at the highest level”, said Filip Trulsson, General Manager of the Teamsport Business Unit at PUMA.
Important Questions and Answers about Il Viaggio:
Do I need to let my youth soccer coach know I am participating in Il Viaggio?
- If applicable, the applying player is responsible for informing their coach (high school and/or club) of their participation in the Regional Trials. For those players selected for the National Trial or Italy Trip, the same applies.
What will happen at the Regional Trial?
Each Regional Trial will be a one-day event run by PUMA/Il Viaggio coaches, as well as FIGC representatives. The timeline of each trial will be slightly different, but for example, players will arrive and check-in at 8:30am and will be dismissed at 4pm. Players will be on their own for a lunch break between 12:00 – 1:30pm. The trial experience will look and feel like an FIGC training session. We want the players to feel like they are actually a part of the Azzurri, so FIGC training methods will be implemented during warm-ups, small-sided games, etc.
Players do not need to bring soccer balls and drinks, they will be provided throughout the day.
What does it cost to participate in Il Viaggio?
There is no application cost associated with Il Viaggio. Selected players are responsible for any local travel costs associated with attending the Regional Trial. Players selected to attend the National Final at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex will be responsible for their own air transportation to and from Orlando, FL.
All other costs associated with the National Trial, including transportation from airport, lodging, and meals, will be paid by PUMA.
Do I need a passport to participate?
You do not need a passport to apply for Il Viaggio selection and attend the Regional Trials. However, Canadian players selected to participate in the National Trial in Florida will need a passport to participate. Every player should also be aware that if selected for the Italy trip, they will need a passport (U.S., Canadian, Italian, etc.) valid through 2016 in order to travel to Italy.
Michele Uva, CEO of the FIGC added, “Youth soccer development is key among the FIGC’s strategy as well as the Football family world-wide. This initiative we made in partnership with PUMA in the USA and Canada we hope will be functional to the growth of the game around the world. Il Viaggio aims to spread the Italian football values among youth generations and is a great opportunity to promote our brand. I believe this experience at FIGC’s Technical Center in Coverciano will give promising footballers the right motivation to boost their passion for soccer and to build up talent.”
The trial dates and locations are posted on Soccer.com/IlViaggio where players can register online for the opportunity to be selected to attend their regional trial.
The final roster of players selected for each regional trial will also be posted on Soccer.com/IlViaggio. Players of the Italian National Team, including Giorgio Chiellini and Davide Astori are encouraging soccer players based in the U.S. and Canada to #BeTheNext and bring their talents to the pitch in 2016 through this registration.
PUMA and the FIGC will open this program up to female soccer players beginning in 2017 and encourage those players to keep an eye out for future program announcements.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about PUMA’s Il Viaggio program.
Source: Puma, Photo Credit: Gianluigi Buffon – YiAN Kourt (Shutterstock.com)