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Saints to launch American "soccer schools"

Ralph Krueger has made breaking into the North American market a priority and the initiative is set to begin in January.

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Southampton are set to announce a major initiative that will see them coach and teach more than 100,000 players a year in North America.

Ever since Ralph Krueger joined the Saints in 2014, he has made it a priority to take the Southampton brand to North America.

Saints are set to announce the launch of their initiative that will start in the new year in Baltimore, Maryland.

"We just love to teach the game," Saints chairman Ralph Krueger said.

"Nobody in England outside of Hampshire wants to learn from us but in the US they are very interested and we'll jump into that opportunity.

"If you do any market research on the Premier League we are near the top, if not at the top, when it comes to teaching the game."

Many Premier Clubs are aiming to target the North American market which has seen rapid growth and development in recent years. Krueger is keen to increase Southampton's reputation for developing players by branching out into the North American market.

"James Ward-Prowse comes as a child and is now captain of the England Under-21 team, Morgan Schneiderlin plays a decade with us and is now the centrepiece of the Manchester United team and Graziano Pelle comes at 29 and he's the lead striker for Italy.

"It's not about age, it's about teaching. So we want to come to the US with a clear development model that we're going to bring to academies and development centres that have over 6,000 kids in them."

The Canadian chairman stated that a team of people at St. Mary's have been dedicated to work on this project for more than a year and believes the US is going to benefit from Southampton's methods and coaching.

"It will be a win win for soccer here in the US and Southampton as a brand. We are at the top when it comes to teaching the game. That is where we will concentrate here."

But Krueger has not let this exciting news distract the club from their on-field goals.

"We cannot claim to be a top club right now but we're working hard on that - our goal is to be in the Champions League one day, that is our dream, and we will not let go of that"