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Cugini Soccer International

The AC Cugini Story

Based in Florence, Italy and St. Paul, MN

Unique USA Programming

As the first official Italian academy in North America AC Cugini offers a unique and exceptional training environment for American and Canadian players. Our goal has always been to develop players over the long term and nurture passion for the game, in keeping with the long tradition and history of success of the Italian academy program model. Our uniqueness also stems from being an academy/school first and then a club; being an official Italian soccer academy, a rarity in the United States; and having had the distinction of being the first youth soccer academy in North America sanctioned by the Italian National Olympic Committee and the Italian Soccer Federation.

AC Cugini offers a full complement of licensed coaches and trainers that allows us to bring additional UEFA licensed coaches from Italy to the United States; take teams to Italy for tournaments; offer training for coaches and players year round in Italy; and arrange tryouts for talented players - both male and female - with professional Italian clubs.

Knowledge Sharing

To further the growth of a “soccer academy” environment throughout the United States, AC Cugini opened its training programs in the United States and Italy to non-member coaches and players. This sharing of knowledge with other US-based soccer organizations is a strong component of AC Cugini’s philosophy that everyone in the soccer community can benefit from a soccer academy model, which, in turn, strengthens American soccer players, whether they choose to play in the United States or overseas.

From the Beginning

After coaching youth soccer in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia, AC Cugini Founder and President Fabio Diletti, an Italian native who played goalkeeper for professional Italian club Ascoli Calcio (founded in 1898), started his own summer soccer training program in 1999 in Great Falls, VA, that was followed by a winter program. The success of those programs and continued interest from players and their parents led Fabio to establish an Italian soccer academy and club modeled after the soccer academies he grew up with and trained at in Italy. In 2000, AC Cugini became a member of VYSA, US Youth Soccer, the US Soccer Federation, ODSL, and SFL. In  2002, AC Cugini affiliated with professional Italian club AC Perugia - an Italian premier league Serie A club. In 2005, the NCSL and WAGS accepted AC Cugini as a member.

Italian National Olympic Committee Award

AC Cugini conducted its 1st annual Play Soccer in Italy training and tournament play in June 2001 as part of the academy’s growing cross-cultural international programming. While conducting the 4th annual Play Soccer in Italy program in June 2004, AC Cugini received special recognition from the Italian National Olympic Committee for excellence in international programming and for advancing Italian player development and the "scuola calcio" program in the United States.

During Summer 2003, AC Cugini offered its first annual guest trainer from Italy program in Virginia with an AC Perugia talent scout, who selected three Cugini players to try out for AC Perugia in Italy,  two of whom were selected for AC Perugia’s U13 youth team. In 2004, AC Cugini conducted its 2nd guest trainer program in Virginia with Armando Ciarrocchi, a UEFA-licensed instructor from Rome and professional scout. After the training, four Cugini players, whom Ciarrocchi had previously reviewed in Italy, were selected to try out with professional clubs in Rome. One player was invited to join Italian professional club Cisco Lodigiani’s youth program.

Continued Growth & Success

During AC Cugini’s 5th annual Play Soccer in Italy program in 2005, AC Cugini’s U10 boys team (with three female players) came away tournament champions in their division playing against all Italian teams. That same year,  two AC Cugini female players were accepted by professional Italian women’s teams.  In 2006, AC Cugini affiliated with ASD-COR 2005 of Rome, Italy, to add to its facilities and enhance training opportunities overseas. During AC Cugini’s 2007 Play Soccer in Italy tournament, an AC Cugini U16 female player received the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Award - out of all the players on 8 boys teams in the division.  In 2008, AC Cugini President Fabio Diletti traveled to Florence, Italy, to sign a formal affiliation with Italian premier league club ACF Fiorentina and in June the same year, AC Cugini players participated in their first ACF Fiorentina training camp in Italy. In 2009, a Cugini Play Soccer in Italy participant was selected by professional club FC Esperia Viareggio, based in Viareggio, Italy, where he went to live and play for the club.

Affiliation with RES Roma Calcio Femminile

In 2012, Italian professional women’s club RES Roma Calcio Femminile (the women’s side of powerhouse AS Roma), approached AC Cugini President Fabio Diletti to develop an all girls soccer academy in the United States and serve as its Technical Director to further the advancement of Italian player development methodology. In 2013, AC Cugini opened an office in Florence, Italy, and launched RES Roma USA, the first youth organization in America to be affiliated with a professional Italian women’s club. The objective of the all girls academy is to strengthen female player development to prepare athletes for high school play, college level play, or play at the professional level in the United States or Italy. All players receive guidance on retaining U.S. college/university athletic scholarship status.

Florence, Italy Office - Affiliation with Professional Italian Men's Club Brescia Calcio

AC Cugini expanded its overseas operations by opening an office in Florence, Italy, in August 2013, headed by its International Programs Coordinator affiliated with Italian professional men’s club Brescia Calcio to enhance its the player development methodology of its  boys academy program. The affiliation offers AC Cugini boys team members the opportunity to train in Italy with Brescia Calcio's youth team instructors and be reviewed by professional scouts.

Italian National Olympic Committee Appointment

In 2013, the Italian National Olympic Committee appointed AC Cugini President Fabio Diletti as international representative of its newly created CONI Servizi division. This rare distinction allows AC Cugini to bring its youth athletes (as well as athletes in other sports) to train and stay at the Italian Olympic Athletes Training Center in Rome. As before, all AC Cugini members will have the opportunity to participate in exceptional international programming in Italy, including tournament play against Italian teams and review by talent scouts from numerous Italian and European professional soccer clubs - both men’s and women’s, as well as CONI-sponsored coach education and sports management programs.

Women’s Premier Soccer League Head Coach & ACF Torino USA Partnership

In 2014, AC Cugini President Fabio Diletti was appointed head coach of the Maryland-based ACF Torino USA women’s team playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). At the same time, AC Cugini joined ACF Torino USA as a provider of coaching and training for adult and youth players and source of scholarships for youth players from low-income families.

Unique Soccer Across America Status

Since its inception in 2000, AC Cugini has been committed to never turning away a player wishing to enroll in AC Cugini’s recreational house league or 11-month travel academy program due to limited family income. In 2014, US Youth Soccer and VYSA granted AC Cugini “Soccer Across America” status due to AC Cugini’s long history of outreach to and support of children from low-income families. AC Cugini is committed to promoting the SAA program throughout Virginia and the United States. The same year, AC Cugini joined ACF Torino USA as a provider of coaching and training for adult and youth players and source of scholarships for youth players from low-income families.

Italy 2014 Programming Highlights 

AC Cugini’s Play Soccer in Italy program hosted a U14 boys team at the Italian Olympic Athletes Training Center in Rome where the team trained with FIGC instructors and played friendly matches.

Virginia and Maryland Expansion: “Sports Culture” Project

In 2016, AC Cugini opened the Roma Academy Maryland for elite male and female players and recreational players in the Frederick, MD, area. With the opening of the Roma Academy Maryland, AC Cugini created a new project, “Sports Culture”, in collaboration with the teaching staff from FIGC and CONI Servizi, which aims to promote Italian player development, language, and culture to youth players. Providing a friendly environment for all, AC Cugini’s Sports Culture program’s focus is on developing young players so they may reach their highest potential and goals, whether at the professional or college level (in the United States or in Italy), or just for fun. The project also provides unique international cross-cultural opportunities, training and playing with the best clubs in Italy, and exposure to a new language.

Enhanced International Programming & External Training Services 

In 2019, AC Cugini began providing training and consultation services to soccer organizations in the United States and enhanced its international programming in Italy and elsewhere in Europe by offering playing and cross-cultural opportunities in Italy to older US players in addition to youth older players. In 2019, AC Cugini designed its first international program for adult players, age 21 and older, in Florence, Italy, July 21-28 in collaboration with ZogSports, based in New York City with 120,000 members playing in ZogSports adult sports leagues in 7 US cities. 

Exciting New Programming Direction
In 2020, AC Cugini paused its U.S. programming due to the COVID pandemic. In 2021, we redirected our focus to assisting local clubs in Virginia with player development and planning youth and coach tours to Italy. In 2023, we completed our programming transition to only focus on adding to our award-winning international programming in Italy where U.S. and Canadian youth teams can experience unique cultural and athletic opportunities in Italy with review by professional Italian player scouts.