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A junior football team from New York has adopted Burnley’s name after their manager was inspired by the club’s seemingly international reputation for being a family club.
The recently renamed side compete in the Downtown Soccer League, which is for kids who live in lower Manhattan.
Manager Nick Stone, an avid follower of English football, explained how the decision to use the Clarets’ name came about.
“As for choosing Burnley, it just seemed like a natural choice,” said Nick, who runs the co-educational Junior 7s team.
“Having watched broadcasts of matches at Turf Moor, I was deeply impressed by the wonderful environment, and the special bond between the supporters and the team.
“Our manager from last season moved away but I was determined to keep our team together because we had a special group of kids who really enjoyed playing together, and a special group of families that gave such positive support to the team.
“Burnley FC just seemed like the perfect model for us. I wanted the players and families to focus on that kind of connection, rather be named after one of the really big clubs and have our kids focused on pretending they were Sterling, Rooney or Hazard.”
1,700 children are currently playing in the league from the ages of five to 17, and all the teams in Junior-6 and Junior-7 are named after English clubs.
And those players are being further exposed to football from this side of the Atlantic thanks to an increase in the broadcasting of the English game.
“There has been a dramatic increase in coverage in the US,” Nick added. “From one tape-delayed match a week then, to at least half a dozen Premier League matches and two Championship matches a week now, giving fans a great opportunity to see a wide range of clubs.”
And Nick hopes to watch his club’s namesake for real in the not too distant future.
“My wife is from London, so we visit the grandparents once a year. As our sons grow older, I plan on taking them to more matches. Hopefully soon we will visit the north and make it to Turf Moor for a match!” He added.