EPL legend Luis Boa Morte to coach at two DC-area summer youth soccer camps
WASHINGTON – Plenty of stars from the English Premier League’s past and present will make their way to North American shores this and every summer. Many are participants in money-spinning exhibition matches like the ones Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea FC have already scheduled. Others are entrepreneurs seeking to promote their own products and services, mostly in the field of coaching or training.
Former Fulham FC great Luís Boa Morte, on the other hand, is coming to the Washington, D.C. area to scout talent – and maybe hone his own coaching skills in the process.
The well-traveled Boa Morte, a longtime Portugal international who represented his country alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, will be spending the latter part of July in Springfield, Virginia and Frostburg, Maryland at camps run by Advance Soccer Development and the Moravek Soccer School, respectively.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of his level over to camp. We always have fantastic coaches, but Boa really is the next level that you don’t see all too often attending a camp in the USA,” MSS founder and Fulham scout Bill Moravek, whose son William played under Boa Morte during his time at Fulham, told SoccerWire.com.
“[Boa Morte] has a way about him, with his humble and warm approach that endears him to so many, I believe,” added Moravek. “But he also commands the respect from those that are also at the highest levels of the game, so he is able to communicate effectively with all levels of players.”
After a playing career that spanned nearly two decades at the highest levels in Portugal and England, the winger turned his focus to coaching last year, learning the trade in Fulham’s youth system before returning to his homeland to take charge of the U-19 program at Lisbon’s Sporting Clube Portugal.
While Boa Morte met Moravek during his time at Fulham, his relationship with Advance Soccer Development honcho Fabien Lewis was born a bit further afield. The two men crossed paths in 2012 when the tail end of their respective playing careers took them to East Asia, where Lewis, a native of Trinidad & Tobago, was plying his trade for Woodlands Wellington FC in Singapore’s S.League.
“He was a very humble guy,” recalled Lewis. “Since then we kept in touch and I always wanted to bring him over here, but when he was finishing his career I was still trying to give it another year or two, which I did. I always had him in mind to do a couple of camps.
“To have someone of this magnitude as a player come to the DMV, an area with such a big player pool with fantastic young players, good soccer coaches, great facilities, bright future, I think is a fantastic opportunity,” added Lewis, who also coaches club teams at local club VSA.
Boa Morte is just one of several experienced Europeans taking part in the Moravek Soccer School’s residential camp at Frostburg State University July 26-30. Tim Wolf and Bastiaan Riemersma, prominent coaches at respected Dutch talent factory PSV Eindhoven and holders of UEFA “A” licenses just like Boa Morte, will be crossing the Atlantic to lead sessions as well.
“PSV have a fabulous reputation of developing players that go on to have successful careers at the first team and national team levels,” said Moravek. “Our goal is to expose players and share what has been successful in Europe with youth development for so many years.”
Moravek, whose two sons continue to rise steadily through Fulham’s academy system, is also involved with day camps in Loudoun, Virginia. But the residential camp in Frostburg – chosen in part because of its cooler mountain air during the Mid-Atlantic’s peak summertime heat – is designed with ambitious, motivated players in mind.
“We don’t expect to transform players in a week, as that is not realistic, but more to show them what is possible with hard work and dedication. And when you have a top-notch staff to guide you, it certainly paints a clear picture for the students in attendance,” Moravek explained. “I think we can offer a little different perspective than what most of the players are seeing throughout the year.”
Boa Morte will lead Advance Soccer Development’s “Creativity Camp” for ages 8 and up at Newington Forest Park in Springfield, Virginia from 9 am – noon July 13-17, and an “ID Camp” July 20-24, for boys aged 14-18 with interest in pursuing a high-level college or professional career.
Lewis says the numbers at both camps will be capped in order to keep the experience “age-appropriate, level-appropriate, but in a smaller setting,” and offer exposure to the focused mindset of top European players and programs.
“I’m a strong believer in having quality over quantity. Luis Boa Morte is a serious professional and I don’t want to bring him here to waste anyone’s time, most importantly the kids’ time, because we are doing this for the kids,” sais Lewis. “My most important objective is to provide every young player with a training opportunity where they can learn from a serious professional…
“He played professionally at a very, very high level for a very long time. Money is the least of his problems,” added Lewis, noting that Boa Morte is eager to broaden his own experiences as he builds his coaching resume. “But he wants to help the players and give back to the sport. That’s the reason why we are doing this.”