BOYDS, MD (Via Washington Spirit) – Fairfax based Gunston Soccer Club has become the second Virginia youth soccer club to sign on as a U.S. Soccer Development Academy Partner of the Washington Spirit. In addition to providing Gunston’s older female players with a direct pathway to the professional game, the partnership will see both clubs’ coaching staffs working together on several new player development initiatives at all ages.
The addition of Gunston to the Spirit’s previously announced partnership with Reston Soccer Association extends the reach of the region’s only professional women’s throughout Fairfax County, which is a major hotbed of youth soccer talent.
“The addition of Gunston to our youth academy structure will help us reach and help develop thousands more players in southern Fairfax and surrounding areas,” said Jim Gabarra, Washington Spirit general manager and professional team head coach. “While we’ve only just announced this today, Tom [Torres] and Vicky [Hall] have already been working behind the scenes to be sure we hit the ground running. We can assure any young talented players in the region that joining a Guston travel team will provide them many additional opportunities to develop and be seen.”
The partnership will see several Gunston coaches take the helm of Spirit teams in this summer’s USL Super Y League. Spirit Academy Director for Virginia Tom Torres and Gunston Technical Director Vicky Hall will also work closely on providing enhanced levels of training within the players’ current team environments, while also offering supplemental training opportunities for players with full Development Academy ambitions.
“We are thrilled to work with Gunston Soccer Club to offer players within the club a development pathway that aligns with the Spirit VA Development Academy program,” said Torres, a nine year veteran of the D.C. United Development Academy prior to joining the Spirit last month. “We are looking forward to working closely with Gunston Soccer Club leadership to identify and schedule events that will add development opportunities for their players and coaches.”
Gunston Soccer has also recently joined the Virginia Premier League, and will be fielding travel teams in the highly competitive environment this fall. Technical Director Vicky Hall, who has been a fixture in the Northern Virginia youth soccer scene for over a decade, could hardly be more excited about providing the VPL and opportunities with the Spirit Academy to the many talented players already within the club, as well as those considering joining during the upcoming tryout season.
“GSC is ecstatic to be partnering with the Spirit and the DA,” Hall said. “This gives Gunston Soccer’s female players a pathway to the elite level. Being affiliated with the Spirit organization is not only a huge honor it also demonstrates the commitment of GSC’s players, parents and staff in elevating our program to an elite level.”
The Spirit offer the only Girls U.S. Soccer Development Academy option in Fairfax County, and also operate a separate program as the sole U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy program in Maryland under the name Washington Spirit Baltimore Armour. Between the two, the Spirit now offer the only fully professional player development pathway in the women’s game in the region.
OFFICIAL SPIRIT DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PARTNER CLUBS
Gunston Soccer Club – Alexandria, Virginia (GunstonSoccer.com)
Montgomery Soccer Incorporated – Gaithersburg, Maryland (MSISoccer.org)
Pipeline Soccer Club – Baltimore, Maryland (PipelineSoccerClub.com)
Reston Soccer Association – Reston, Virginia (RestonSoccer.com)
Soccer Association of Columbia – Columbia, Maryland (SACKick.com)