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Moravek family return to U.S. after Fulham stint, join Bethesda-Olney (Md.) academy

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WASHINGTON – After several years of immersion in Fulham FC’s world-class academy, young talents William and Michael Moravek have returned to the United States and have transferred to Bethesda-Olney Soccer Academy in suburban Maryland to continue their youth careers in their native country.

Bill and Cheryl, the boys’ parents, relocated the family to south London nearly five years ago in search of the optimal development environment for their sons, and found just that at FFC, where both boys progressed steadily through the ranks.

But earlier this year they decided to return stateside after a visit reminded them of the lifestyle they’d left behind on this side of the Atlantic. While a move to California was on their radar, they eventually elected to resettle in the Washington, D.C. region they’d previously called home. And both the children and their father – a respected coach and scout in his own right – have rejoined Bethesda, their former club.

+READ: American brothers William, Michael Moravek continue progress at Fulham FC youth academy

“Bethesda are a good club and the lines of communication were maintained even though we were at Fulham thru the years,” Bill told, “so if we were going to come back to this area, it was always going to be Bethesda. They have been fantastic in helping the boys adjust back to life in the USA.”

“We have moved into an area where we are close to the schools and club training grounds. That was by design. We are within five miles of everything. We wanted to mirror the environment, the urban feel, as much as possible from over there [in London].”

While the Moraveks – who all hold dual U.S. and U.K. citizenship by virtue of Bill and Cheryl’s American and English roots, respectively – were across the pond, Bethesda SC took a major step forward into U.S. Soccer Development Academy membership via BOSA, the joint venture with Olney Boys & Girls Club which debuted in 2013.

Bill Moravek 2“From what I have seen attending their residential camps every year since we have left, the quality has gotten better and better. There are some very good players here,” said Bill, who has joined BSC’s staff as an assistant with the academy teams and head coach with the U15 pre-academy team. He will also maintain a scouting role with Fulham, and continue to run his own Moravek Soccer School project.

Older brother William has joined BOSA’s Under-14 DA team this season, while Michael has caught on with Bethesda’s top U-12 team. Both are playing up, against older, stronger counterparts, but do so with a well-honed set of technical and tactical abilities.

“That will present a unique set of challenges, especially with William, as those boys he will be playing with and against are so big,” said Bill. “It will be an interesting season.”

William has quickly found his feet in Development Academy play, slotting into a regular central midfield role at the heart of BOSA’s 4-3-3 completing over 90 percent of his passes in his first three matches. He scored a well-taken goal as well as provided an assist in a 3-2 win over Baltimore Armour, in his first official match for the club on Sept. 12. and assisted on the lone goal scored in BOSA’s draw with Richmond United the following week.

The BOSA U-14s have raced out to a 3-0-1 start, though October presents several tough matches against the likes of D.C. United, Philadelphia Union and Lehigh Valley United.

+READ: Ben Lederman leaves FC Barcelona as Euro opportunities fade for young Americans

The family’s current plan is to return to England when the boys reach the latter stages of their youth soccer careers, though a future move to continental Europe is not out of the question.

William MoravekAt this point, FIFA’s restrictive Article 19 (of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players) means that even with their European Union citizenship, the boys cannot relocate to another country in Europe as minors, unless the move can be proven to be for a parent’s new job outside the soccer industry.

“Fulham treated us very well, but we thought after such a long period at one club it was time for a change,” said Bill. “We were not interested in going to another English club and Article 19 made it impossible for us to take up opportunities offered to the boys in continental Europe. The plan is for them to return when they are 16, either to England or Europe, should they stay on their current development trajectory.”

In the meantime, the Moravek boys will experience a U.S.-style adolescence as they continue their upbringing – and in the short term, their biggest learning curve is the adaptation back to the muggy D.C. weather and stiff Beltway traffic.

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