As the CEO and co-founder of the Urban Soccer 5 Center, 41-year-old Yacine Bouharkat has managed to bring the stars of soccer to a small suburb in Los Angeles called Norwalk, taking the world by a storm in sport.
Even early on in his career, this Frenchman always had visions for success alongside a keen entrepreneurial mindset. After working 11 years for the biggest French energy company, ambition drove Yacine Bouharkat forward to develop a 5-a-side soccer center in the USA. Always having dreamed of living abroad and being encouraged by his brother’s move to Hawaii, Yacine started travelling to the USA in 2002. He observed a growing passion for soccer across the country with increases in soccer advertisements and people playing soccer in the parks. Subsequently, it was in 2013 that he thought it was the right moment to bring his soccer business to the USA, working hard on a business plan and connections to kickstart this driving dream. Yacine was intrigued to see how this concept would develop in North America after being very widespread in Europe.
The company was created in 2014, with the entrepreneur travelling to the USA to find the perfect spot for his center, which was located next to the highways. A whopping 10 outdoor 5-a-side football pitches were installed over 4 acres, with matches being broadcasted live in the center’s main hall. Yacine had considered everything to make this an instant success. With the space being carefully thought through, a boxing gym, CrossFit space, and a Jiu-jitsu gym were added to the center, with the boxing gym quickly emerging as one of the best in the whole of the United States.
With the academy bringing people of all ages together to engage in what they love doing, training sessions are offered to encourage people to stay fit both physically and mentally. There’s something for everyone in this center, entertaining the whole family with a range of activities and hosting around 5,000 to 7,000 footballers a week. But the presence of certain soccer stars amongst the public must be noted. A long list of famous soccer players including Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Samir Nasri, Moussa Sissoko, and even Adil Rami have come to check out
what the Urban Soccer 5 Center has to offer! Furthermore, stars like Andy Ruiz notably trained in this location before becoming the heavyweight world champion, as well as Rudi Garcia. The presence of these hugely successful celebrities certainly mirrors the success of the center itself.
Yacine most recently went on to construct a 2-story gym in 2020, allowing the soccer center to emerge as the place for soccer stars in LA to play. Voted as Norwalk’s Best Business of 2016, the 2 million euros put into Urban Soccer 5 can certainly be said to be a good investment! With the Parisian entrepreneur having plans to open more centers across the US, it’s clear that we can expect more and more to come from Yacine Bouharkat.
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