Carlton Fairweather

Academy forging links in Canada

by Stuart Vose

Power Soccer partnership going from strength to strength.

Sunderland are helping football to gain popularity in Canada through a continuing link-up with the Power Soccer Academy in Toronto.

Coaches from the club’s Academy have made a number of trips over the Atlantic, including youth development coach Carlton Fairweather (pictured), who visited back in August.

Academy manager Ged McNamee has also made a number of visits to the facility, which puts on football schools for youngsters across Canada’s biggest city, which is home to around 2.6m people.

“A number of our coaches have been over to work with youngsters and older groups, anywhere from under-8s to under-16s,” explained Fairweather, who counts Wimbledon amongst his former clubs as a player.

“We show them some of the things we do here to give them a snapshot of what we do and the way we go about things.

“It’s a true intercontinental link – they have sent teams over here to play against our Academy boys and they have some decent players.”

The Power Soccer Academy operates year-round, working with thousands of young people each year.

They are at the forefront of developing the game in Canada and Sunderland’s Academy staff are more than happy to lend some transatlantic support.

“It’s just a case of us imparting some of our knowledge and experiences in football to help them,” Fairweather added.

“It’s not necessarily the right or wrong way – we’re just giving them an understanding of how we develop our Academy players here to play and understand the game.”

The top league in the US, Major League Soccer, has increased its presence north of the border of late, with top-flight teams now situated in Vancouver and Montreal as well as Toronto.

Canada’s sporting landscape remains dominated by ice hockey, although Fairweather believes football is carving out an increasing niche.

“I think they’re going about things in the right way and the interest in football is growing in Canada,” he said.

“They’ve got a few teams involved in the MLS now and it’s moving in the right direction.

“The situation is similar to America where a number of other sports dominate and football has to compete against them.

“In Canada the main sport is ice hockey, which is a big part of the Canadian culture.

“But things are going well and the link is good.”