Dundee are planning to plunder the United States for top young talent to bolster their improving youth set-up.
The Dundee Juniors of Central Texas has been a project running since American owner Tim Keyes and managing director John Nelms took control of the club.
The set-up in Austin has been steadily growing and Dark Blues coach and former skipper James McPake is out there right now working with the youngsters.
Speaking to the Tele, McPake admits he’ll be “outside his comfort zone” as he puts the kids through their paces in the strong Texan sun.
He is tasked with heading a training camp over there as well as picking out some players good enough to come across and join his U/18 squad over in Dundee.
He said: “Last year I spent some time over here with Tim Keyes and John Nelms just having a look at things.
“The club have held camps over here every year, certainly since Tim and John have been at the club.
“This time it’s a bit different because it’s an ID camp – I’ll be doing some training sessions and, hopefully, we can pick a couple to come across to Dundee and train with our U/18s.
“I went last year just to have a look at what goes on but this time I’ll be coaching.
“The facilities are great over there, too, it’s a great place to go to – though I’ll be needing to put on factor 500 with the heat!
“We’ll be coaching in about 42 degrees instead of the minus two at Riverside with the wind in your face.”
It might seem strange to some to see a whole squad of youngsters all training in Dundee kit in the middle of Texas but McPake is delighted to help “spread the name” of the club as much as possible.
“The kids are all kitted out in Dundee gear and they love it,” he added.
“Being part of a big club like Dundee is something they really enjoy and the club have done it really well. It’s great for them to have the affiliation but it’s also great for the club to be able to spread the name of Dundee.
“You see Celtic and Man U shirts all over so it’s good to see some Dundee ones as well.”
McPake accepts this week will be a challenge for him to test his skills as a young coach – particularly his communication skills.
“You couldn’t say football, or soccer as they call it, is the biggest sport out here but it is really growing,” he said.
“The MLS is getting bigger all the time and the national team has been quite successful, though they’re not at the World Cup this year.
“The kids who are starting to choose football as their sport really take it seriously and they are desperate to learn.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It is a challenge for me to get the kids to understand what I’m trying to tell them.
“It’s the same language – though I struggle to speak English sometimes! – but there’s a lot of different words and sayings.
“It will be a wee test for me to get my point across and then see how the players react. I’ll be out of my comfort zone and that’ll be a challenge.
“Last year, we went and watched some of the age groups in training and I was really impressed with the standard of players.
“As a coach, its great to work with kids like this because they are so keen to learn.”