Universal Soccer Academy Students Recently Trained at Madrid’s AD Alcorcón
Several Universal Soccer Academy students had the opportunity of a lifetime when they were recently invited to spend their spring break in Spain training with Agrupación Deportiva Alcorcón. The four young men - Jacob Chatten, Astin Galanis, Michael Paznokas, and Alex Turnkienicz – are all members of Universal’s Senior Development Program and play with the Medford Strikers Soccer Club on its Academy Boys U16 team. For two weeks, they trained with AD Alcorcón trainers at its facility in Madrid. A La Liga 2 soccer club, AD Alcorcón has continued to move up the ranks in the Spanish league since the club’s start in 1971.
Universal Soccer Academy is well-respected by European clubs, and as a result, has implemented development initiatives that offer its students opportunities to train with European development programs. In the Spring of 2017, UCAM Murcia CF invited Astin Galanis to train at its academy for a month. Universal’s Director of Soccer Operations, James Galanis, recognizes the value in exposing his students to the style of soccer only found in the European leagues, particularly in Spain. “Spain leads the world in player development. Playing with and against the players in the Spanish development programs will help our students gauge their progress in comparison to their Spanish piers and inspire them to elevate their game,” says Coach Galanis. Mike Paznokas agrees: “The Spanish league players were phenomenal, and it motivated me to take my game to the next level.”
Coach Galanis plans on expanding Universal’s development initiatives each year to include more students, both male and female. In addition to great soccer, this opportunity will give young soccer players an experience they won’t soon forget. As for his own time at AD Alcorcón, Paznokas appreciates everything about the experience and realizes that “while the soccer training was amazing, being there with my coach and some of my team mates and fellow Universal students made it even more meaningful – these are memories we will share forever.”
Watch a video of boy’s time at AD Alcorcón.