Meet the Partners Taking Youth Soccer to Next Level
(BEAVERTON, Ore.) – Club soccer is changing for good.
Among about a dozen new and prospective partners, US Club Soccer launched its ambitious “Players First” initiative, Aug. 8-9, at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
Players First is a holistic club soccer experience for parents and players, which emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential, and helps parents make better choices about where their children should play. This is accomplished by providing a suite of resources geared towards clubs, coaches, parents and players. Players First encompasses the beautiful game through its five founding pillars:
- Club Development
- Coaching Development
- Player Development
- Parent Engagement & Education
- Player Health & Safety
The platform is able to reach a global audience through its best-in-class partnerships, engaging digital presence and future seminars. More details about regional and national Players First seminars will be coming soon.
At Nike World Headquarters this past weekend, an exclusive group of some of the country’s top youth soccer leaders were given a glimpse of various Players First partnerships through presentations and field sessions. US Club Soccer’s CEO Kevin Payne and Executive Vice President Christian Lavers led the event with visionary messages to inspire an effective youth soccer environment that empowers clubs, coaches and players.
“We’re on a mission to change the sport,” Payne told the crowd. “In order to achieve our mission to change the sport, we need a vision, courage, enthusiasm, resilience and a plan.”
“The reason we should be attempting to embrace a Players First philosophy is not because it will be easy, but because it will be hard,” Payne added. “I believe with a shared mission, we can accomplish this.”
Among the milestone offerings of Players First to the sport is through a long-term, technical partnership with La Liga, which came into effect Saturday at a signing ceremony. Fernando Sanz, General Director of La Liga Middle East and North Africa, brings La Liga’s global resources to the United States. Complete details of the comprehensive partnership – which advances the Players First pillars of club, coaching and player development – will be announced soon.
Colleen Hacker, a Mental Skills Coach and Performance Psychology Specialist of the United States Olympic coaching staff, delivered a keynote speech Saturday night that served as one of the highlights of the event. “You have to inspire others to do more, care more, be more passionate and push the limits,” Hacker challenged the group. “Even the expert was once a beginner… Challenge the status quo. Take risks. That’s what Players First is all about.”
At this time, the following Players First partners are helping to advance the five founding pillars. Additional partnerships will continually be added to the impressive Players First portfolio.
- La Liga - Introduced by Nike, US Club Soccer’s long-term technical partnership with the renowned Spanish professional league is a staple of the Players First initiative. La Liga’s intentions of advancing soccer in the United States finds a logical fit with the forward thinking of Players First.
- Beast Mode Soccer - US Club Soccer and Beast Mode Soccer have launched the Players First Video Training Series as a way to inspire players via digital and social channels to effectively train on their own. The first video installment features New Zealand women’s national team Emma Kete demonstrating footwork drills.
- FIFA 11+ - US Club Soccer encourages members to take advantage of the FIFA 11+ complete warm-up program as an injury prevention method.
- Fit for 90 - As the Official Player Monitoring System of US Club Soccer, Fit for 90 helps coaches and players optimize performance while minimizing injury risks.
- KYCK Registration - KYCK Registration is a tool for clubs to reach parents and take administrative burdens off club volunteers and staff.
- Positive Coaching Alliance - Positive Coaching Alliance has a mission of developing better people through athletics. This Players First partnership provides resources and materials for coaching development and parent engagement & education.
- SoccerPrep - As the exclusive College Planning and Test Prep partner of US Club Soccer, members and parents have special access to a platform offering academic and athletic guidance.
- SportSessionPlanner - US Club Soccer member clubs enjoy special access to an internal sessions library, as well as insider access to id² Program and Player Development Program curriculum.
- Sports Leadership Program - US Club Soccer will be introducing a Sports Leadership Program as part of Players First in order to develop the next generation of youth soccer leaders.
- TopYa! - The TopYa!-powered mobile app “My Soccer Moves” provides an interactive environment where players can challenge other players around the world at any time with skills challenges.
For more information on Players First, please visit usclubsoccer.org/playersfirst.
Join the social conversation by following @USClubSoccer and using #P1soccer on Twitter and Instagram.
About US Club Soccer
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer is an organization committed to the development and support of soccer clubs in the United States.
US Club Soccer offers youth and adult registration, league and cup-based competition platforms at the recreational and competitive levels, as well as a variety of other programming, including the Olympic Development Program-sanctioned id² Program and Player Development Programs.
Through US Club Soccer, all of a club's programs – recreational, competitive and adult – are able to unite under one organizational umbrella, creating a "members for life" culture within each club.
More information: usclubsoccer.org, 843.614.4140.