America Soccer Club — America SC, for short — is playing its home games in the UPSL at West Orange High School after joining the league in April. The team is expected to be the foundation of what will become a soccer academy.
The players for America Soccer Club — America SC, for short — are from a variety of places.
Brazil, Haiti, Colombia and the United States all are represented when the team takes the field for games, as it did April 28 at West Orange High School for a match it won 4-0.
The new professional development club joined the United Premier Soccer League this spring and began playing games at the beginning of April. America SC is playing its home games at Raymond Screws Field, and the West Orange Warriors’ home facility figures prominently into what team owner and chief operating officer Patrick Azor believes is the start of something big.
“It started with an idea that there is no academy truly forming players (in Central Florida) — one that will open the door for them to be on big teams,” Azor said. “So we said, ‘Let’s open an academy and bring in professionals that have already done this (trained professional players) before and get them to work.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”
The America SC team competing in the UPSL and playing its home games in Winter Garden is the first part of what Azor envisions as an academy that will be based in Jacksonville, where he resides, and in West Orange. The club brought in Sergio Baresi to head the academy and Marcos Borges to coach the UPSL club. Combined, the two boast decades of experience as professional players and coaches, both domestically and abroad.
The UPSL team currently consists primarily of players between the ages of 17 and 23, but the academy that Azor envisions will work for players as young as 4 years old.
Azor owns a company that manages and maintains shopping centers throughout Florida, and his success in that arena has afforded him the ability to pursue his vision in soccer. Of Brazilian and Lebanese descent, Azor travels throughout the state for work, which alerted him to the opportunity.
“It was so obvious, in front of me,” Azor said. “So when I had the financial stability to do this, I went ahead and initiated it.”
The America SC Academy, for youth ages 4 to 16, is expected to launch this month, and Azor has his sights set on building soccer players of out of local youth.
“We’re here for the neighborhood; we’re here for Winter Garden — we want parents to come and see what this academy is about,” Azor said. “The big picture is forming players. The first player that we contract into a major club, that is really our goal.”
As for the UPSL team, its current goal is to get its roster full of players ready for the next step of their careers.
“We’re preparing them to grow and to be highly competitive players,” said Borges, who played professionally in Brazil, Argentina and locally for the now-defunct Orlando Sundogs. “It’s preparation for them to be professionals.”
America SC is 2-1-2 so far in the spring season of UPSL’s Southeast Conference, and Borges and Azor are pleased with the team’s progress.
The staff behind America SC is excited to launch its academy this month. A soccer facility is also to be constructed soon in Jacksonville. In the meantime, the coaches are focused on molding elite soccer players.
“We are going to produce some players out of this area,” Azor said. “We insist on that.”
For more information, visit AmericaSoccerClub.net.