When you hear the name “AC Milan,” what probably comes to mind are dramatic displays of athletic prowess on far-off soccer pitches or larger-than-life personalities like Mario Balotelli with his bleached Mohawk. But did you know that AC Milan has a local connection?
Located in Newtown, GPS Milan Boston is helping young athletes improve their soccer skills, enhance their passion for the game and strengthen their ability to play as a team. But according to Mr. Cesidio Mazzola, Director of Soccer Operations, the program’s commitment to its young athletes goes much deeper than the game itself.
A native of Italy, Mr. Mazzola has had a lifelong long love affair with soccer, first as an athlete who suffered an injury that ended his career, next as a professional coach with the New England Revolution, and now as a leader in youth soccer. Devoted to developing talent, Mr. Mazzola has dedicated himself to youth soccer since 1990. Through various name changes, the club he now leads operates under the name GPS Milan Boston.
Globally, there are 40 such clubs that are associated with AC Milan. Independently run, the only support offered from the home team is technical. Sometimes coaches will be sent to provide a bit of training and insight, much to the students’ delight! Various levels of training are offered to boys and girls alike, including a junior division for 6-to-10-year-olds and a regular division for the 10-to-18 crowd.
A tryout procedure is in place and you must qualify in order to participate. Summer camps are also offered each year as well as a very active skills training group. Currently, there are 350 young participants at GPS Milan Boston. A fee is required in order to play, and all coaches are licensed and active practitioners of the sport. (http://gpsmilanboston.com/)
Participation in GPS Milan Boston is uniquely beneficial according to Mr. Mazzola, who points out that, “90 percent of these kids have a placement on college teams.” The program isn’t just training young athletes to be stars on the soccer pitch, its helping them to be stronger thinkers and prepare for the next steps in both in education and sports.
Another goal of this organization is to showcase the talents of these young players. As they improve and progress, GPS Milan Boston works to establish relationships with coaches and colleges in order to assist with pursuing academic goals.
Mr. Mazzola is proud of the fact that some kids have gone on to play for the U.S. National Team, but GPS Milan Boston aims even higher than that. The ultimate goal is to help young athletes build skills that reach far beyond the pitch. Well-rounded individual who perform both on and off the field are being coached here. Continuous improvement, in soccer as well as life, is central to the success of the club and its athletes!