A new youth soccer academy, owned by New York City Football Club captain David Villa, is adding a highly anticipated location in Queens this fall.
The new Astoria arm is part of the DV7 Soccer Academy, an international network of clubs that already has one location in Manhattan. The program will give youth a chance to receive intensive instruction from veterans of “the beautiful game.”
The decision to place the club in Astoria was due in part to the fact that the neighborhood offers little-to-no soccer opportunities.
“Astoria is a very underserved community in terms of soccer,” said Evan Rosenthal, the president of the program in Manhattan. “There’s not much green space, so there’s not a lot of spots. With the building of the new field, it was a good opportunity to start a new club altogether.”
The club starts in September at the Upper 90 Soccer Center, a new soccer-specific facility on 38th Street. Tryouts will be held throughout June for kids born between 2007 and 2012. Although the yearlong program costs $2,400, the academy offers scholarships for families who need financial assistance.
The academy specializes in what is known as the “Spanish soccer methodology,” which Marc Sabate, the director of coaching at DV7 in Astoria, described as a combination of physical training and mental preparedness.
“We want to transmit them personal values,” Sabate said. “And one of the key points in our methodology is that we always work with the ball. We don’t do anything without the ball on the field.”
Rosenthal added that though the year-old Manhattan club is not involved in the expansion, all the clubs share a similar approach to coaching.
“The idea is that not only do the clubs have the same coaching methodology, but then also the clubs interact through social media and videos, and some international travel with tournaments,” he said.
To launch the Manhattan club, DV7 teamed up with the Manhattan Kickers Football Club, an existing youth soccer team with infrastructure in place. DV7 also offers supplemental training for beginners whose skills need polishing.
Villa has slowly been expanding his network of soccer academies across New York. Last year, DV7 partnered with Queens College to offer a summer camp for kids ages 8 through 16, and also lent their training methodology to New York Force, a soccer program for kids in the Bronx.