Presenting a United front
March 29, 2011
Fabian Banchiero and Facundo Alfaro want the game of soccer to touch every corner of the world.
Within the next couple weeks, the Argentinean co-directors of the World Football United nonprofit soccer camp organization will make their way to snowy Park City, where they, along with other coaches involved in the organization, will lead a camp for local kids looking to extend the depth of their knowledge of soccer.
"Not everybody can do camps overseas or travel places," Banchiero said from his office in Long Island, N.Y. "So why not bring the trainers to them? Our objective is to see the best way to bring different parts of our country and the different methodologies from different pro clubs from around the world.
"We coordinate our curriculum to make sure all players can benefit from different coaches."
The camp in Park City will start April 11 at the Basin Fieldhouse.
Alfaro, who lives in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires, has a personal stake in this upcoming clinic; from 2001 to 2006, he was a resident of Park City and began his coaching career in town.
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A former youth division player in Argentina, Alfaro said he always hoped one day to try his hand at coaching, knowing he had the potential to make an impact on the soccer IQ of young players.
"I started liking coaching and helping develop the kids," Alfaro said.
He got his start coaching with Bob Martin, a pioneer in Park City soccer, and eventually became coach of the Park City Extreme Club and then as a local ODP (Olympic Developmental Program) coach.
He still has his national youth coaching license in the U.S. and, having coached a youth division of Argentina powerhouse club River Plate, Alfaro wanted to come back and make a splash with the community that took him in 10 years ago.
"One of my dreams was to give back to my second home, which will always be Park City," he said. "To be able to give back all the things they gave to me, I think it’s a great opportunity."
The inaugural year for World Football United will take the group of coaches up and down the East Coast before making a trip to Utah for clinics and engagements in both Salt Lake and Park City. There is also a clinic scheduled in Green River, Wyo., next week.
Banchiero said he was glad Alfaro was adamant in making a stop in Utah because, as in his home country of Argentina, the soccer stars don’t necessarily come from major metropolitan areas; there are always a few diamonds in the rough.
"It’s been something we kept talking about," he said of finding the world’s next soccer star. "It doesn’t have to be L.A. or Miami. We’re trying to reach the whole soccer communities. There are a lot of pockets across the country that are developing interest in soccer.
"That’s the kind of areas that we need to concentrate on."
The organization will land in Salt Lake City next week and will be conducting charity events and free clinics for underprivileged children interested in the sport and learning more.
They will also be hosting a coaching clinic for potential Latin coaches, hoping to further the outstretched arm of soccer in the United States. Coaches from countries such as Brazil, Spain and the Netherlands will join Banchiero and Alfaro during their camp’s tour.
The focus of the camp is on allowing children to further their skill and familiarity of the game through different styles and approaches.
"It’s more about knowledge and knowing where these players are coming from," Banchiero said. "Our objective is always to get fundamentals across to the youth players, that is what we feel is missing about many camps."
On Saturday, Banchiero was invited to attend a coaching symposium prior to a friendly match between the United States and Argentina in New Jersey. He said he was able to meet U.S. head coach Bob Bradley and his staff, and was even able to chat with a few players on each side prior to the eventual 1-1 draw.
"I took a few notes," he joked.
In order to learn more about World Football United or sign up for the Park City camp on April 11, go to http://www.worldfootballunited.org , click the "Clinic" tab and choose Park City.