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Italian soccer ace about to share the passion

Gianpiero Battista is excited to present Andrea Icardi, who will coach a camp at the Asia Pacific Football Institute at Southern Cross University.
Gianpiero Battista is excited to present Andrea Icardi, who will coach a camp at the Asia Pacific Football Institute at Southern Cross University. Marc Stapelberg

At a glance

The A.C. Milan Soccer School will be run from September 22-24 at the APFI fields in East Lismore.

It's for anyone aged 6-16 and cost $325.

For registration go to www.acmilansoccerschool. com.au/JuniorCamp/Overview

ANDREA Icardi played against the world's best, including Diego Maradona during his eight seasons with Italy's A.C. Milan.

Now he is coming to Lismore to share his football skills and passion as part of a three-day coaching clinic.

It has been organised by Lismore councillor Gianpiero Battista, who grew up in Italy and used to watch Icardi playing all the time.

"I've been an A.C. Milan fan all my life and I saw an opportunity to make contact (with Icardi) to see if he wanted to come up here," he said.

Lismore businessman John Patterson had a connection and Cr Battista, who also works at SCU in the School of Tourism, thought it would be an ideal way to utilise the new artificial grass fields at the Asia Pacific Football Institute, recently built by SCU.

"It's great that we can use it as no one has ever played on the field and its one of only two similar fields in Australia," Cr Battista said.

Andrea Icardi coaches with the A.C. Milan Soccer School, which has three centres in Sydney and 300 players aged six to 16 in their development programs.

He said the aim of the school is "to find really good players" that can then be funnelled towards A.C. Milan's European development programs.

"There are players who want to stay in Australia and others who want to go to Europe for more of a challenge ... We try to adapt them to that European mentality," he said.

Icardi first came to Australia in 1980 with a World CupYouth team and then again in the mid-1990s when he played and coached for Marconi.

In 2007, he came back to Australia and thought the time was right to start a football academy, and with the backing of A.C. Milan, it became a reality in 2009. The Lismore clinic will be the first outside of Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide.



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