David Villa, a World Cup champion from Spain and current captain of the New York City Football Club (NYCFC), is bringing his DV7 Soccer Academy to the Upper 90 Soccer Store in Astoria.
He practiced with a group of young participants on a small soccer pitch inside the store last Wednesday, when he announced the partnership.
“I’m always happy when I come here to play with the kids,” he said. “It’s a great experience for me, and I think it’s a great experience for them.
“We want to bring our culture to the most kids possible in Astoria,” Villa added. “It’s a really good location because Queens has a lot of people passionate about soccer. We are happy to be here.”
The program teaches children to play soccer using the “DV7 method,” which involves developing talent while fostering personal values. Participants will learn to run with the ball, control passing, dribble, shoot and make decisions.
Villa started his youth program to promote soccer in the United States. His first academy opened in 2015 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
“Soccer is growing a lot, day by day, in this country,” he said. “I’m so happy because I love this sport.”
Wednesday’s announcement wasn’t Villa’s first visit to the borough. Last year, Villa also brought his youth academy to Queens College, where he ran the summer soccer camp for two weeks.
Villa came to the United States as the first player to sign with NYCFC in 2014. He holds the record for most international goals scored for the Spanish National Team and boasts 14 titles in total. In the 2010 World Cup, he was the tournament’s top scorer, notching five goals.
He hopes the camps, along with his presence, will help inspire the next generation of soccer players from this country.
“My feeling is they love soccer,” Villa said. “This sport is amazing and they need to play well and grow day by day.”