The Columbus Crew has partnered with United States World Cup goalkeeper Brad Friedel to present a new soccer-camp concept called Premier Soccer Academies.

The camps will be located in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Friedel will be a hands-on instructor at each camp.

“Involvement in these programs makes sure we put on the premier soccer academy in our country,” said Crew President and General Manager Jim Smith.

The camps will begin in 2003 and are open to boys ages 14 to 19. It will be a week long, overnight camp targeted at serious players who wish to play soccer at a high level.

The academy will help give those athletes who want the chance to play professionally the opportunity to do so.

“You can see with our recent success in the World Cup, we have a lot of exciting, young players out there that sometimes get their careers ended at the ages of 16, 17 or 18 because they feel it is a dead end street in America,” Friedel said. “We’re here to make sure that those players can continue playing somewhere.”

Another objective of the camp is to instill proper values through the process of learning how to play soccer, said a camp instructor, Desmond Armstrong.

Friedel, 31, is an Ohio native who played soccer for UCLA from 1989 to 1992, where he was a three-time All-American and the 1992 Hermann Trophy winner.

He was a member of the 1994, 1998 and 2002 U.S. World Cup teams. Friedel plays for the Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League. From 1996 to 1997, he played for the Columbus Crew and was the 1997 MLS goalkeeper of the year.

With all of his experience, Friedel is preparing to offer a dynamic new experience to young athletes around the country.