BANGOR (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- With the World Cup final fast approaching, many sports fans have succumbed to soccer fever, and Maine is not immune.
A few young players the in Bangor area are channeling their inner soccer star this week and practicing in front of a coach from an English Premiere League team. If their skills are top notch, it could take them across the pond and beyond.
Oliver Pannell is a coach with the Wolverhampton Wanderers' North American Development Academy. He travels the U.S. teaching and identifying young talent.
"This is our first partner Club in Maine, so we're all excited to be here, it's a new place for us," says Pannell.
The new partnership with River City Athletics is open to boys and girls ages nine to nineteen. Kids are put through drills and taught new moves. If they show a lot of promise, they might be asked to attend the team's development academy in Atlanta. If they shine there, they're invited to Wolverhampton's program in England.
"It's a little nerve wracking and I'm in an older group," says Bella Tanis of Brewer. "I'm just excited to have the further development and hopefully improve my skills."
It's a win-win for the kids and the team. The kids get out and play soccer in the summer sun while learning from a coach with a professional team, and the team gets a chance to identify talent early, and possibly find the next international soccer star.
"There's obviously the numbers here and we know there is talent," says Pannell. "I think the kids just need the chance for the exposure."