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Dons help American dream

3 October 2014

Letter praises the Dons academy

Highly-rated American prospect Jamie Di Luzio is hoping that a summer training spell with AFC Wimbledon will help him achieve his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

The 14-year-old plays for Blau Weiss Gottschee U15s, a side based in Queens, New York, and a club affiliated to the United States Development Academy (USDA) programme.

Jamie (pictured third from bottom right in the above team photograph) is now back playing in America after featuring in games for the Dons Under-16s against Fulham, Tromso and Crystal Palace.

Full-back Jamie because had heard all about the Wimbledon story from his uncle Robert, who is a Dons Trust member.

Jamie says that he has widened his football skills and experience by spending time with Wimbledon Under-16s, who are coached by Michael Hamilton.

After concluding his spell with Wimbledon, Jamie sent a thank-you letter to the academy, which is reproduced below:

Surprisingly, they responded by generously making me an offer to come and train during my school holiday. “I got the opportunity to train at Wimbledon because my uncle Robert, who has been a Wimbledon supporter since moving to London in the mid-1980s, arranged it with my parents and the club’s academy management.

“The experience was fantastic. Having an opportunity to play in pre-season friendly matches against teams like Fulham, Tromso and Crystal Palace, and getting a significant amount of playing time in each match, has been the experience of a lifetime. Each match helped me learn ways to get better as a player. I know that in the short time at the Wimbledon academy I have greatly improved.

They have also worked with me technically and tactically in a manner that will help me to be a better player. The coaches have worked with me to overcome this obstacle and be stronger in the air. “The coaching was excellent and has further increased my knowledge about how I could improve in the future. For example, I’m only 5 ft 4 inches tall and that’s a disadvantage when trying to win aerial balls.

There is nothing more I could have asked for and I say a big thank you to AFC Wimbledon.” That attitude was certainly demonstrated by the boys I have been training with as well. Male footballers in America dream of coming to train in England with a professional academy and I've been fortunate to accomplish that. I know that this experience will help me achieve my dream of becoming a professional footballer. The club and coaches have been great to me and treated me as a full member of the team. “I know that this experience has been a benefit to me in many ways and AFC Wimbledon made it happen.

If Jamie continues his progress then perhaps an AFC Wimbledon return may not be out of the question in the future.

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