The Italian Football Association (FIGC) and PUMA® have announced a new program named Il Viaggio, Italian for The Journey. This program gives U.S. and Canadian male and female soccer players (2000 and 2001 birth year) the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn and play football the Italian way in Italy. In 2016, PUMA will host trials for male players in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto that call on soccer playing Italy fans to #BeTheNext and participate for the chance to meet with Gianluigi Buffon, Marco Verratti and the rest of the Italian Football National Team. Female trials will take place in 2017.
Representatives from the FIGC will attend the trials to select the players they feel will most benefit from the opportunity. Those chosen will participate in the National Trials, hosted at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, FL. There the head coaches of the FIGC will be on-site to select the final group of 16 players who will then be sent on an all-expense paid trip to Italy.
“Soccer participation in the youth levels is growing in the U.S., this program will give sixteen kids with the prospect of an excellent future the chance to experience soccer at the highest level”, said Filip Trulsson, General Manager of the Teamsport Business Unit at PUMA.
Michele Uva, CEO of the FIGC added, “Youth soccer development is key among the FIGC’s strategy as well as the Football family world-wide. This initiative we made in partnership with PUMA in the USA and Canada we hope will be functional to the growth of the game around the world. Il Viaggio aims to spread the Italian football values among youth generations and is a great opportunity to promote our brand. I believe this experience at FIGC’s Technical Center in Coverciano will give promising footballers the right motivation to boost their passion for soccer and to build up talent.”
Invited players will begin their journey with a regional trial opportunity to prove their skill and desire to #BeTheNext player to wear the Azzurri blue. From there, those players who turned heads and made an impression will join us for our national trial at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. A select team of 16 players will ultimately be chosen to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime Italian experience with the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) in Italy.
What is the PUMA Il Viaggio program?
Il Viaggio “The Journey” provides an opportunity for talented male soccer players with 2000 and 2001 birth years to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime training experience with the Italian National Team. Under the observation of Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) coaches, PUMA will host local tryouts in Los
Angeles, New York, and Toronto. Top performers will be invited to a National Trial at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, FL. From there, 16 players will be selected to #BeTheNext and participate in an all-expense paid trip to Italy.
What does the experience in Italy include?
The group of players selected to travel to Italy over the first weekend of September 2016 will get the opportunity to meet members of the senior national team and attend an international friendly on September 1st or 2nd. Players will then stay at the FIGC training center, Coverciano, in Florence. While there, players will train with FIGC coaches and staff in preparation for a match against a youth Italian National Team.
Who can apply for Il Viaggio?
Male players with 2000 or 2001 birth years are eligible to apply for Il Viaggio. PUMA and the FIGC will open this program up to female soccer players beginning in 2017 and encourage those players to keep an eye out for future program announcements.
Where will Il Viaggio Regional Trials be held?
Regional Trials will be held at the following locations:
• Los Angeles – April 9th, 2016 – Ranch Soccer Complex, San Juan Capistrano, CA
• New York – April 23rd, 2016 – Calvert Vaux Park, Brooklyn, NY
• Toronto – April 30th, 2016 – Ontario Soccer Centre, Vaughan, ON
How do I sign up to participate in Il Viaggio?
Ill Viaggio is not an open-tryout event. Interested players must complete an application process from which approximately 60 players per market will be invited to attend a Regional Trial. To apply for consideration players must complete an online registration at ilviaggiotrials.com. All interested players must complete this registration, but a completed registration does not guarantee Program inclusion. Players may only register for one (1) trial.
How will players be selected?
Every player application will be reviewed by PUMA/Il Viaggio staff. A player’s playing history, achievements, and soccer story/passion will all be factors considered. We are looking for the most talented players that have a desire and passion to #BeTheNext and take the Italian journey with us. Applying players will be notified whether they have been selected to attend the Regional Trial by the dates below.
***The selection of players to participate in all stages of Il Viaggio is fully at the
discretion of PUMA and its affiliated parties. The selections will be based on the
criteria found in entry fields in the Il Viaggio registration and those players who
meet the qualifications established by PUMA most accurately will be invited to
participate in the program.***
Summary of key Il Viaggio dates for the program?
• Registration/Player Selection: February-April, 2016
• Regional Trials:
o Los Angeles – April 9th, 2016
o New York – April 23rd, 2016
o Toronto – April 30th, 2016
• National Trial – Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL
o August 5th-7th, 2016
• Italy Trip – Florence, IT
o September 1st-5th, 2016 – exact dates TBD