Burnley partners with Cary
Next Level Academy PDL side to take on name Cary Clarets

Cary Clarets News Release

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CARY, NC -- North Carolina based Next Level Academy’s PDL team, formerly known as Cary RailHawks U23’s, will be re-branded as the Cary Clarets as part of an initial two-year formal partnership deal Burnley Football Club aimed at developing Academy-based and first team players for Burnley FC.

In return, Burnley FC has pledged to provide full backing to the Cary Clarets in terms of aiding youth development, sharing training methods and helping to establish the Cary brand.

The partnership follows a successful tour to the United States of America in the summer of 2008, when Burnley played Cary in North Carolina in a pre-season friendly.

Burnley FC Operational Director Mr Brendan Flood said: “We are delighted to welcome Cary as a club partner.

“The seeds of this burgeoning relationship were sown last summer and there is no doubt that Cary has an exceptional college set-up in the United States that we can hopefully tap into. The standard of players their Academy produces is high and we hope that working with Cary we can help both organisations to prosper.”

Burnley FC Manager Mr Owen Coyle added: “We thoroughly enjoyed spending time in North Carolina last summer and the facilities and friendship were second to none. Cary has an exceptionally high standard of college players, as we discovered when we played the PDL team in a challenge match. I now look forward to working with the Academy to hopefully nurture future players capable of tasking the next step in their careers.”

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the appointment in October of Mr Martin Dobson as Burnley FC Director of Youth Development. He said: “I welcome this special partnership between Burnley Football Club and the soon-to-be-named Cary Clarets. I met Cary Director Damon Nahas recently and was impressed by his enthusiasm for this exciting project. It not only offers a healthy relationship where each party can benefit, but also it provides an opportunity to increase the stature and image of both organizations in North American soccer. We look forward to developing further the concept and hope that in time it proves very successful.”

Mr Nahas added: “Hopefully we see this as a relationship that will help both clubs, but initially we aim to identify American players that have the potential to play in the English game. At Cary we feel we have a proud tradition of developing young talent, as was seen when Cary hosted Burnley in a pre-season game in July 2008. Since then the two organisations have been in constant dialogue as we have similar philosophies and interests to look towards developing young players. Hopefully, the tie-in will prove to be a fruitful one and both Burnley and the Cary Clarets can enjoy a long and prosperous working relationship.”

Mr Nahas, owner of the Next Level Academy in North Carolina, took charge of Cary’s PDL team in 2005. The U23 team, which plays at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, has since worked towards becoming a reputable organisation with its own strong identity, helping to provide a vision of opportunity for our young players.

The Next Level Academy’s three-stage development model will now incorporate the existing 7-14 age range of youngsters developing their skills, a PDL squad continuing to compete at a national level and the new opportunity for players to pursue a professional career in England.

Burnley Football Club, nicknamed the Clarets, currently plays in the Coca Cola Championship in England, where they lie in fourth place. The club was a founding member of the Football League in 1888 and the stadium, named Turf Moor, is the third oldest venue in English football.

Burnley, currently managed by former professional footballer Owen Coyle, last week made national and international headlines by defeating Premier League Chelsea in the Carling (League) Cup, which earned the club a quarter final place for the first time in 25 years.

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