The world of soccer is changing, and clubs in the United States should look to international partnerships to stay ahead of the curve. Recently, LAFC announced a joint venture with Bayern Munich, one of the top clubs in Germany, with the aim of talent development. The program, titled “Red&Gold Football,” provides young talents with a pathway to first-team play and a place to combine ideas from both clubs.
The partnership is a win-win for both sides. LAFC can unlock a scouting network with Bayern Munich, one that is among the top in the world. Meanwhile, Bayern has a pathway to the largely untapped talent pool in the United States. With the player development venture, both clubs can grow and develop the next generation of soccer players.
As LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington told ESPN, the goal of the partnership is vertical integration. “I think it enables us to go after a more mature player, but then when you back that all the way down into our academy it essentially widens our funnel and then also gives us far more opportunities to place players globally.”
The partnership is not just about player development, but also about the transfer market. Thorrington notes that Bayern Munich sees great potential in MLS and LAFC, and the pipeline of talent they can provide. The player development venture can help both clubs identify and develop players that can make an impact on the field, and in turn, help drive revenue and growth for the clubs.
The breakdown and functionality of the partnership is fairly simple. Players can move from the LAFC academy to Munich to get more European training. Players not ready for first-team action in the Bundesliga can develop at a top level in MLS with LAFC. The hub and crux of the partnership, though, remains in Munich. Bayern Munich and LAFC are also open to adding more clubs to the player development venture, further enhancing the capability of player development growth.
In a way, the partnership between Bayern Munich and LAFC is similar to other clubs that are connected under one umbrella, like the City Football Group or the Red Bull Group. Each of those groups regularly exchanges players, coaches, and ideas between countries and continents. Even Chelsea owner Todd Boehly looked into making Chelsea into more of a group like that. He recently looked into buying Strasbourg in France.
The player development venture between Bayern Munich and LAFC is not quite on that level, but there is reason to believe the relationship between the two entities can grow further. As Thorrington notes, “I think there are a lot of different ways that we can work together, whether it’s on the player side or on the commercial side.”
Partnering with international clubs can help US soccer clubs stay ahead of the curve and develop the next generation of soccer players. The United States has a vast pool of talent that is largely untapped, and international clubs like Bayern Munich can help unlock that potential. At the same time, US clubs can provide international clubs with a pathway to the lucrative US market.
The partnership between Bayern Munich and LAFC is just the beginning. With more clubs looking to expand their global reach, partnerships like this one are becoming increasingly important. US soccer clubs should look to partner with international clubs to unlock new opportunities and grow the sport both domestically and globally.
In conclusion, the partnership between Bayern Munich and LAFC is an exciting development for soccer fans around the world. It shows that clubs are starting to think outside the box and look for new ways to grow and develop the sport. As more clubs look to expand their reach and tap into new markets, partnerships like this one will become increasingly important. US soccer clubs should look to partner with international clubs to unlock new opportunities and develop the next generation of soccer players.