LONDON, ONT -- London-St. Thomas Croatia Soccer Club (LS Croatia S.C.) signed an affiliation agreement with the European soccer academy, Saturday morning.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., at the BMO soccor facility, the local soccer community announced their new agreement with the GNK Dinamo Zagreb Academy who are the youth team of Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb.

The European academy joined the announced by Zoom.

The academy was founded in 1967 and is currently ranked the second best youth soccer academy in Europe and ranked 13th in the world.

There is a total of ten age categories in the academy, aged eight to 19.

It all began when LS Croatia S.C. coaches had the opportunity to participate in a training course in Chicago, hosted by the GNK Dinamo Zagreb Academy back in 2019.

LS Croatia S.C. then signed with a new Technical Director in 2020, Mladen Vugrinicek of Toronto. Coach Mladen brings many years of experience and connections with the Academy.

The LS Croatia S.C. affiliation agreement with GNK Dinamo Zagreb Academy includes:

• Assisting in the development of LS Croatia S.C’s technical plan and programming

• Provide LS Croatia S.C. coaches with training and education for improvement via the Dinamo program

• Providing a Player Pathway by inviting talented LS Croatia S.C. youth soccer players to open trials for Dinamo

• Invitations for selected LS Croatia S.C. teams to participate in tournaments in Croatia

In addition, the GNK Dinamo Zagreb Academy will organize summer camps for young talented players. These camps will include bringing academy coaches to London Ont., to train local youth players, educate coaches and provide select players with the opportunity to train in Croatia.

LS Croatia S.C. officials say, they are excited to provide players and coaches with these opportunities and is working on plans to ensure that these opportunities are affordable and accessible to all.