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Everton Welcomes FC Highland as Club Partner

FC Highland, a thriving youth soccer Academy in Florida, is to join forces with Everton Football Club in an exciting new partnership.

The Orlando-based club will become a part of Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Programme (EIAAP), with the two clubs working together on curriculum sharing, player development and coach education, among other ventures.

The link-up follows initial talks during the summer of 2021, when Everton visited the US for the Florida Cup and met with officials from FC Highland to discuss joint club values and a shared vision.

The EIAAP initiative provides clubs at all tiers of the game with access to the finest coaching knowledge from Everton’s renowned Academy to support the growth of each club – a level of support that sets it apart from more traditional models.

These include:

  • Full access to the Everton Academy curriculum
  • Weekly support from a dedicated Everton Academy coach
  • Holistic approach to player, coach and club development, offering technical support from USM Finch Farm and Business and marketing support from the Royal Liver Building.

Everton International Technical Lead, Paddy Byrne, will visit FC Highland later this year to assist in sharing the Everton Academy curriculum and teaching methods used at USM Finch Farm along with working with the Club closely to develop both player and coaching skills.

In turn, this provides FC Highland further knowledge and resources to assist with the Club’s goal to develop the stars of tomorrow in Florida and the United States of America.

Staff from FC Highland, which is already affiliated with Florida Youth Soccer Association and US Club Soccer, will have the opportunity to visit to Everton’s state-of-the-art USM Finch Farm complex – the home of Everton men, women and academy teams – for education and training.

Formed in 2020 and led by current and ex professional and international players, FC Highland’s development programme works with promising young players across Florida between the ages of five and 18.

CEO and former New Zealand international Jeremy Christie, who represented his country in the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup both in South Africa, heads up the team, which includes ex-Jamaican international Giles Barnes, who enjoyed spells in England with Derby County and West Bromwich Albion, Toni Pressley of Orlando Pride and fellow NWSL star Kristen Edmonds, who plays for Kansas City Current.

The Academy also boasts several high-profile club ambassadors, including Brazilian legend Marta and current MLS player Dom Dwyer.

FC Highland’s affiliation marks the next phase in their growth and ambition to produce the next generation of US stars.

CEO Jeremy Christie said: “I’m extremely excited for us to become an affiliate partner of the Everton international Academy.

“They are one of the most storied clubs in the history of English football and the resources they use on developing players makes their academy one of the best in the world and we can’t wait to learn from them, so that we can provide the same development experience for our players.

“Having access to Everton’s training methods and curriculum, coupled with the coaches we have at our club – a number of who have played, or are playing professionally – and having the exclusive use of the best soccer facility in central Orlando at Trotters Park, is going to allow us to provide the best environment for young players to develop and reach their potential. We can’t wait to get started!”

Everton International Technical Lead, Paddy Byrne, added “We are delighted to welcome FC Highland as a partner club to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate programme.

“I’m excited to work alongside Jeremy and his coaching team, many of whom have had long professional careers.

“By sharing our values and coaching methods we will further enhance both our affiliate programme and FC Highland, all while strengthening Everton’s bond within Central Florida.  

“I am sure this will prove a fruitful partnership for both clubs going forwards and we can’t wait to get started.”

Known by its passionate US fanbase as ‘America’s Team,’ Everton is one of the most followed Premier League clubs in the USA.

As part of its international strategy, Everton has expanded its Official Supporters’ Club programme and now has more than 55 supporters’ clubs across the US – meaning there is at least one Everton supporters’ club in every city state in the US.

Everton has had a number of former US stars as part of their roster of the years, including Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, Joe Max-Moore and former USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard, a legend of the Club from 2007-2016 and Everton’s record Premier League appearance holder. Howard is now Everton’s official Everton in the USA ambassador.  

The Everton International Academy Affiliate Programme (EIAAP) is available to grassroots teams, professional sides, youth academies, girls’ and women’s teams, as well as colleges and universities.

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