Derby County has now confirmed its full timetable for preparation for the 2019-20 season.

The Rams will play five friendlies before the Sky Bet Championship season begins in early August.

Two of these games take place as part of a training camp on the Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States of America.

An opponent is well known to Derby fans – the rival of Bristol City championship – and perhaps less to others.

They meet local team Sarasota Metropolis on Wednesday 10th July. It is the first game since the final defeat against Aston Villa at Wembley.

So, what do we know about them? Below we will take a closer look …

Who are you?

Well, they are a brand new team that was founded in January of this year.

In fact, the Blue Dragons played their first competitive game just last month (May).

The club was founded by local entrepreneur Victor Young.

"I founded the team because I wanted to use the passion of football and use it as a tool to help others," said Young.

"Sarasota has earned its own home team, and now we finally have it. We have big plans for the club in the future and we are curious about what lies ahead.

"I also want to provide player development opportunities to people on Florida's west coast who have been overlooked or need additional coaching.

"The Sarasota-Bradenton area is full of football talents who deserve to play football at the highest level, and I plan to support them there."

Young has also sworn to donate part of the club's profits to charity.

"For me, it's not just about football," he added. "I plan to donate some of the profits the team makes to cancer research.

"I think it's very important to give something back to our local community, especially those who need it most."

Young said the team's name choice was based on his vision of uniting the football community in the Sarasota and Manatee counties.

"A metropolis is the mother city of a huge region," he said. "The name was just perfect.

"The Sarasota metro has a lot of talent that will benefit greatly from the path to professional football that is now available."

In which league do you play?

Sarasota Metropolis became the region's first football franchise when it joined the United Soccer League this year.

They joined League Two, the fourth league in the US Football Pyramid, Major League Soccer, the USL Championship and the USL League One.

The Blue Dragons compete against each other in the Southeast Division of the Southern Conference.

Jack Marriott, Jayden Bogle and George Evans model Derby County's new home jersey for the 2019-20 season

There are seven other teams in the division – Tritons, FC Miami City, The Villages SC, Florida Elite, Daytona SC, Lakeland Tropics and Weston FC.

"We are pleased that Sarasota completes the Southeast Division for the 2019 season," said Joel Nash, vice president of USL League Two.

"Victor has a clear vision for this club and his plans on and off the pitch are equally impressive."

How did you get along?

It is still very early.

They won their first league game 1-0 against Weston FC thanks to a strike by striker Rolando Garcia Perez.

At the time of writing, they had taken eight points from their first seven league games – two wins, two draws and three defeats.

This puts them in second place, but only five points behind leaders Triton.

The IMG Academy in Florida, where Derby County will compete against Sarasota Metropolis and Bristol City during their training camp for the 2019-20 season.
The IMG Academy in Florida

Who is your manager?

Former Italian international Massimo Marazzina was named head coach and football director when the club was founded.

The 44-year-old played for his country three caps – ironically, he made his debut against the US – during a playing career in which he played, inter alia, at Inter Milan, Chievo, Bologna and Turin.

Where do you play?

The Blues Dragons play their home games at the Robert Taylor Sports Complex in Sarasota and at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

They will face Derby in the IMG Academy – "the world's largest and most modern multisport training and education facility".

The IMG Academy in Florida, where Derby County will compete against Sarasota Metropolis and Bristol City during their training camp for the 2019-20 season.
Aerial view of the IMG Academy

Founded in 1978 by legendary coach Nick Bollettieri as a tennis academy, the venue has since offered a wide range of sporting facilities, including baseball, basketball, American football, golf, lacrosse, track and field football.

Among the top athletes who trained here are tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, former Manchester United and Everton goalkeepers Tim Howard, and current US international Jozy Altidore.

The multi-sport stadium can accommodate up to 5,000 spectators.

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