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  • Thursday January 6th, 2022 @ 15:30

St Pat's & GSV Kick Off Pakistan's 'Next Gen Football Stars'

Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) and St Patrick's Athletic Football Club sign a 3 year deal to create the feeder club system for Pakistani players into Europe with Michael Owen as the Ambassador.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision to nurture and develop youth football within Pakistan can now be realised by this ambitious and exciting partnership between GSV and Irish Premier Division club, St Patrick's Athletic FC.

St Patrick's Athletic UEFA Pro licensed coaching staff will kick off the nationwide coaching and talent hunt programme in Pakistan under the watchful eye of Michael Owen. The road trip begins with a train-the-trainer master-class delivered by St Pat's UEFA Pro license staff. The sessions are designed to up-skill and transfer football coaching knowledge to Pakistan's coaching staff meeting international UEFA standards.

Initially, the team will explore talent in the 9 cities of Islamabad-Muzaffarabad-Peshwar-Lahore-Multan-Gujranwala-Faisalabad-Quetta-Sukkur-Karachi. This will conclude with up to 20 players aged from 18-21 years old being given the opportunity of travelling to Dublin, Ireland to train and play with the Academy and potentially First Team of St Patrick's Athletic.

From 17-January to 2 February, 2022, the opportunity to rise and shine in football will be available all over Pakistan. UEFA licensed coaching staff Karel Fraeye (Belgium) and Sandro Gianisella (Italy), under the St Patrick's Athletic banner, will arrive in Islamabad to kick off the national trials. The nation will witness the first ever structured international football player development programme designed to create a regular feeder system into Europe through the UK & Ireland. The master plan provides a soft landing for Pakistani players into Europe where they will be nurtured, developed and climatised to meet European playing conditions.

Former Ireland and St Patrick's Athletic Manager Brian Kerr, ex St Pat's player and manager Johnny McDonnell, current Academy Director and former league and cup winning captain Ger O'Brien (All UEFA Pro Licence) and Assistant Academy Director Jamie Moore (UEFA A Licence and UEFA Elite Youth A Licence) will travel to Pakistan as part of the St Patrick's Athletic coaching team.

St Patrick's have been crowned League Champions 9 times and have competed in 58 UEFA Champions League and Europa League games. The Irish club has a well renowned reputation for developing talented young football players, with many having hugely successful careers in European football. Irish football icon Paul McGrath transferred from 'The Saints' to Manchester United FC and went to have a hugely successful career there, as well as star in two World Cups for Ireland.

The Dublin club's youth academy offers a springboard for players into top flight English Premier League clubs and beyond. Liverpool's goalkeeping sensation Vitezslav Jaros (20) is a prime example on how St Pat's have youth career development expertise, with Jurgen Klopp hailing the Czech Republic youth international after a brilliant loan spell at St Pat's.

Garrett Kelleher, Chairman of St Pat's said:

"The Prime Minister's ambition to further develop football across the 5th most populous nation in the World is exciting. If St Patrick's Athletic can in some way be a platform for this to happen and enable talented young footballers to achieve their dreams, it very much aligns with the club's domestic aspiration. St Pat's is privileged to have been retained by Pakistan to design a program with Red Strike and GSV to develop players further and potentially explore pro-contract opportunities."

Brian Kerr, former Republic of Ireland and Faroe Islands senior international manager, and manager of Ireland's U16 and U18 European champions in 1998 said:

"When I first heard about this project through St Pat's I was excited and eager to be involved. I have no doubt that there is a lot of untapped talent in Pakistan and we are hoping to find, nurture and develop that talent with a view to benefitting the players and ultimately the footballing nation of Pakistan."

Michael Owen said:

"It is a great privilege to be working with Pakistani talent and offering a professional talent ID programme in Pakistan for the very first time. This will be the first ever national talent hunt programme meeting UEFA player evaluation standards which offers a gateway into Europe. I look forward to seeing you in Ireland",

Karel Fraeye, UEFA licensed coach said:

"Pakistan is a tremendous nation with huge talent for football. We are excited to be working with Brian Kerr and Ger O'Brien of St Pat's. It's a matter of discovering raw talent and adapting them to new playing conditions and becoming physically stronger athletes to meet the demands of the modern game of football",

Zabe Khan, CEO of GSV said:

"As a former player in Pakistan all I wanted was a professional opportunity to play regular football and find a way to further my professional career in football. This is now a realistic ambition for Pakistan's football where emerging talent will be developed in international facilities and play in a different terrain."

Ger O'Brien, Director of St Pat's Academy said:

"We are delighted to be involved in this project with GSV. We at St Pat's put a huge emphasis on ensuring that there is a proper player pathway for players to develop and we take get pride in giving young players the chance to develop. Providing the same opportunity for some of the brightest talent in Pakistan is something we are proud to participate in."

Yasir Mehmood, Chairman of GSV said:

"Our talent ID programme will provide the hope for talent and take them to the right destination to develop our youth in the home of football. I am excited by the relationship GSV has forged with St Patrick's Athletic Football Club and is a stepping stone in unchartered territories in the world of football for Pakistan".

Trial Registrations, Terms and Conditions

The minimum entry age for trials is 16+ yrs and to be eligible to travel to Dublin the players must be 18+ yrs. You must have a valid passport. To find your nearest trial venues, dates, times and to sign up please click link to external website, opens new tab: HERE

About Global Soccer Ventures (GSV)

Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) is a versatile sports management agency with a wealth of experience spanning over 40 years. GSV creates fresh and exciting football concepts ranging from sporting events to building dynamic football stadium infrastructures. We seek to change the landscape of football in emerging markets in a sustainable manner. We thrive on creating the first-ever football marketing Tricon strategy. Our football Tricon elements include infrastructure, league and international collaborations. Our focus remains on emerging markets devising commercially prudent football strategy that contributes towards the 4 billion dollar global market. For further information visit globalsoccerventures.com For GSV media enquiries please contact Zain Shaban, Syntax Communications, Mob. +92 333 3000 436 and by email zain.shaban@syntaxcommunications.com

About St Patrick's Athletic Football Club

St Patrick's Athletic Football Club is a professional Irish Association Football Club based in Inchicore, Dublin that plays in the Irish Premier Division. Founded in May 1929, 'The Saints' played originally in Phoenix Park but moved to what is their current ground Richmond Park in 1930.

St Patrick's Athletic have won many trophies in Irish Club Football, including nine League Titles, the fifth most in Irish Football, as well as four FAI Cups. The most recent of these came in November 2021.

The club's current first team manager is Tim Clancy, who took charge in December 2021. The club's most famous manager to date was Brian Kerr. Kerr managed the club to two league titles in 1990 and 1996, before leaving the club to go on to manage the Republic of Ireland at underage level achieving successes such as finishing third in the FIFA U20 World Cup in Malaysia, and leading the Republic of Ireland to European titles at both U16 and U18 level in 1998. Kerr would go on to manage the Republic of Ireland senior team from 2003 to 2005, and later manage the Faroe Islands for a successful spell from 2009 to 2011.

Former St Patrick's Athletic players include Gordon Banks and Terry Venables who featured as guest players for the Saints in the 1970s, while the club's most famous former player is Paul McGrath. Transferring from the Saints to Manchester United in 1982, McGrath would go on to become one of the most iconic players for his country of all time, starring in two World Cups and going on to have a hugely successful career in the English Premier League.

For further information about St Patrick's Athletic, visit stpatsfc.com

For St Pat's media enquiries please contact Jamie Moore, St Pat's Media Manager, +353 85 866 8598 or email jamie.moore@stpatsfc.com

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Founded in 1929 the 'Saints' play in the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League at Richmond Park, in Inchicore Dublin 8, Ireland.

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