EAST PETERSBURG, Pa. - When you think of Real Madrid, you think of one of the world's biggest soccer clubs.
Through its foundation, the defending world and European club soccer champion is making its presence felt in Lancaster County by hosting a soccer training camp for about 130 boys and girls this week in partnership with Adidas and Penn Legacy Soccer Club, a Lancaster County-based club for children.
Coaches with La Fabrica, Real Madrid's youth academy, are leading the camp, providing different techniques and strategies to the children.
"They teach us different stuff and new skills than what we are learning right now, and it's just more little bit more advanced than regular practices," Brandon Yang, 14, said.
The methods are tried and true, as they have helped develop some of the world's best soccer players.
"I think the actual deeper understanding of the game," Seamus Donnelly, with Penn Legacy, said about the biggest contribution the coaches are making to young players. "They're challenging our players this week to look at the game, see things a little bit deeper."
The partnership does not end here. In August, 18 boys from Penn Legacy are traveling to Madrid to visit La Fabrica and to learn and train with young players from Real Madrid's youth academy.
"I think it's going to be a really, really fun experience with kids from there, who practice probably every day, and meet the coaches and scrimmage and see how they play soccer," Mason Orth, 13, said about the upcoming trip.
While some may be surprised that one of the world's biggest soccer clubs would make an impact in central Pennsylvania, some say it's a testament to the quality of players in the area's youth soccer ranks. Of the camps Real Madrid is hosting in the US this summer, the one here is expected to be one of the largest, Donnelly said.
"They've been impressed with the level of play," Gary Ross, with Penn Legacy, said. "They've been impressed with some individual players in the town, and collectively with a group of 130 players, I think they've been pleasantly surprised."
Given the success of the camp, Penn Legacy is looking to host additional camps annually, potentially with Real Madrid again or with other professional European soccer clubs, Ross said.