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Chelsea's Academy side will be heading stateside later this month to compete in Disney's Soccer Showcase, America's most prestigious youth soccer tournament, which features some 400 clubs.

The under16 team will compete against local youth clubs from the Chicago, Atlanta and New York areas beginning on December 27 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

The announcement follows the long-term partnership between Chelsea and Disney's Wide World of Sports which was announced earlier this year to help promote soccer at all levels in the United States. Under the terms of the four-year agreement, we are the Official Professional Soccer Club of Disney's Wide World of Sports and presenting sponsor of Disney's Soccer Showcase Series.

'Giving our Academy players an opportunity to come to the US to compete against some of the best American teams, helps each individual player learn and develop,' said Academy manager Neil Bath.

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'Our goal at Chelsea is not only to hopefully produce some of the best young players in the UK and the world but also produce ambassadors for Chelsea off the field. Participating in programmes like Disney's Soccer Showcase will help us achieve success and also increase their experience of cultures and societies outside the UK,' he added.

'Chelsea's world class Academy structure helps players maximise their potential and drives self-sufficiency for the club. It also promotes long-term loyalty and commitment to Chelsea among those who eventually make it as a professional,' Bath said.

'Our partnership is a natural fit, aligning the world's foremost soccer club with the leading youth soccer tournament in America. Through this new relationship, we hope to expand the visibility of the sport for young soccer players in the United States and internationally,' said Mike Millay, director of sports events for Disney Sports Attractions.

We have also been to the USA for our pre-season preparations in the last four seasons, continuing our commitment to the growth of Chelsea Football Club as a global brand.

Chelsea Academy scheduled matches at Disney's Soccer Showcase:

Thursday, December 27 at 6:30 p.m., Chelsea Football Academy v Sockers FC Chicago

Friday, December 28 at 2:30 p.m., Chelsea Football Academy v Concorde Fire Elite (Atlanta)

Saturday, December 29 at 8:30 a.m., Chelsea Football Academy v NY Hota Academy 91 (New York)

Source: Chelsea FC

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Doubtless primarily a marketing motive, now we're twinned with Disney. Disneys a good choice, in case any of the academy make it, they'll be used to Grant

Of course it is a marketing move, put for the U16's it will be a great trip for them and they will enjoy playing against their American counterparts. The Disney Sports complex in Orlando is f**king massive and if we can get more of a presence over there that is only a good thing. But the boys will need to win the games to get the desired impact, but we have some good players at U16's level.

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Of course it is a marketing move, put for the U16's it will be a great trip for them and they will enjoy playing against their American counterparts. The Disney Sports complex in Orlando is f**king massive and if we can get more of a presence over there that is only a good thing. But the boys will need to win the games to get the desired impact, but we have some good players at U16's level.

Definitely an experience for any Yoot, and motivation to 'make it'. Conversely, it gives our scouts a chance to sus any likely Yanks.

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Definitely an experience for any Yoot, and motivation to 'make it'. Conversely, it gives our scouts a chance to sus any likely Yanks.

Good point, with something like 400 teams taking part we should be sending a strong scouting team over there for sure. Although i am not too sure on the rules of signing young american players, i would assume as they are non EU there would be the same work permit problems as you get with South American players.

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