Date: 17th April 2007 at 12:48am
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Don`t think for one minute that because the Dons had a weekend off that the management team would be taking it easy. Far from it, Jimmy and his men have been scouring the hotbeds of talent on both sides of the Atlantic and getting his youth team sorted for next year.

Jimmy`s links with Holland are well documented and went over there to cast a first hand eye on some players who could be within Aberdeen`s reach but more surprising is the news that America could be the place where he uncovers his next gem.

After a tip off from Dons legend Bobby Clark, who is head coach of The University of Notre Dame men`s team, 20 year old Joseph Lapira could be the first American to sign for the Dons and the first of many if the link with Clark can keep turning out quality players who`d be eligible to play in the UK.

The youngster was the first ever to be named USA Player of the Year which was earned by netting 22 goals for his college Notre Dame last season and interestingly has a Scottish parent.

Aberdeen`s head of youth coaching Lenny Taylor spoke of his new talent pool in the USA and of the Dons hopes of establishing a rich vein of untapped talent coming to Pittodrie.

Lenny said of his connection with the ex-Dons goalkeeper, ‘Bobby has agreed to give us first shout on any players who impress and would be able to get a British passport.

‘Lapira will be here at the end of July and we hope to bring in at least one other lad. It has been difficult to get players over from the USA in the past because of work permit problems.

‘But with Bobby’s help we are hoping to get the first option on any who would be able to overcome that problem through their family history.’

Lapira is one of the top USA prospects at the moment and could be a real find for Calderwood but he`s not forgot his roots and this weekend saw him in Holland with his staff of Jimmy Nicholl and Sandy Clark who combined watched a total of twelve matches.

Jimmy gave the lowdown on this weekend`s activity, ‘We have good contacts in North America through Bobby Clark and I know Lenny was across in the states recently visiting Bobby. I’m also aware of the standards as I used to coach over in the U.S. The biggest problem in the past has been trying to secure a work permit for potential players but it’s only one of the options available to us.

‘We were in Holland over the weekend and took in a total of twelve games between the three of us from our base in Amsterdam. It has been well documented that we are looking for wide players and one or two had been recommended to me. It also gave us a chance to see what is out there.’

Calderwood said of his intentions as far as player intake is concerned, ‘We will be out and about regularly over the next few weeks looking at players who have been recommended to us. I’ve already stated I want to sign a quality wide player and that is part of that process, although we haven’t identified a specific target at this stage.’

Whilst it`s great to see Aberdeen casting the net far and wide for new faces and hopefully progressing the current standard of player at the club, it`s more pleasing to see that the youth academies are apparently churning out some excellent new Scottish talent who the coaches see as becoming the future of the club and the blueprint for the next new phase in the club`s development.

Aberdeen must have a solid foundation of Scottish lads at the heart of the team if we are to progress and it`s reassuring to note that home grown talent seems to be the managements primary concern.

America is however a growing football playing nation and it would be serious neglect of Aberdeen FC to ignore it especially as they have considerable contacts. As the fastest growing football playing nation in the world, undoubtedly some new talents will arise as kids snub the traditional American sports of baseball, basketball, ice hockey and NFL football.

America has of course produced some notable players and as the nation gets to grips with “sawker”, the Dons could just unearth a new Brad Friedel, Claudio Reyna or, ehm…Alexei Lalas!