CHARLESTON, S.C. (Via US Club Soccer) – US Club Soccer will sanction the Oklahoma Premier Clubs beginning in the fall of 2017, which will provide state, regional and national competition opportunities for its 11-U through 18/19-U boys and girls age groups.
Five of Oklahoma’s top clubs – Northeast Oklahoma FC, Oklahoma Celtic, South Lakes Cosmos, TSC Hurricane and West Side Alliance SC – have committed to the league as their primary competitive platform.
“We’re excited to welcome Oklahoma Premier Clubs to US Club Soccer,” said John Borozzi, US Club Soccer Vice President. “These clubs’ commitment to their players, as well as growth opportunities for coaches and referees, aligns with US Club Soccer’s mission and the Players First philosophy.”
At its highest level, the Oklahoma Premier Clubs contributes to the Red River NPL, a newly formed league member of the National Premier Leagues.
Additionally, the annual Oklahoma Premier Clubs state championship event will include a direct pathway to US Club Soccer’s National Cup, a cup-based national championship series that includes Regionals and other qualifying state cups.
Like other US Club Soccer members, the Oklahoma Premier Clubs is granted a plethora of benefits with its US Club Soccer membership. This includes Players First, which is the primary vessel for US Club Soccer to accomplish its mission to foster the growth and development of soccer clubs throughout the United States to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages in every club. Players First is anchored by five pillars:
- Club Development
- Coaching Development
- Player Development
- Parent Engagement & Education
- Player Health & Safety
In an open letter to parents last summer, US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne described Player Health & Safety as US Club Soccer’s “first and most important responsibility.” That commitment has been demonstrated by various Players First partnerships, including FIFA 11+, Fit for 90, Player’s Health and Sideline Sports Doc.
Additionally, beginning last summer, US Club Soccer began implementing more rigorous background checks as part of the background screening process for all registered staff. The organization coupled that effort with a new requirement for those registered staff that they must complete a Sideline Sports Doc/US Club Soccer online injury recognition course.
Oklahoma Premier Clubs members will also enjoy exposure to Player Development Programs (PDPs) and the id² Program. These programs help provide identification and development to the entire country, including those regions traditionally underserved by opportunities.
Oklahoma Premier Clubs membership is open through an application process to clubs in the state. Clubs outside of Oklahoma may apply through a special application process. Please visit this web page for more information.
Administratively, Oklahoma Premier Clubs will be aided by league management company PrimeTime Sports. PrimeTime Sports has more than 80 years of event management experience, including select soccer leagues in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Quote from participating clubs:
Jim Tindell, TSC Hurricane Executive Director: “TSC Hurricane is extremely excited to be part of the unification of these leading clubs in raising the standards for youth soccer in Oklahoma. OPC is a game changer. Embracing diversity is one of OPC’s core values, and one of the strengths of our team is that each of our clubs bring diverse viewpoints and ideas, while also sharing a common philosophy, mission and resources.”
Don Rother, Oklahoma Celtic Director of Coaching: “Oklahoma Celtic is excited about being a part of the Oklahoma Premier Clubs. We believe the clubs already involved in this league share a similar vision for player development and know this will be a fantastic opportunity to create the best environment for our players and teams to grow. We feel US Club Soccer is in the forefront of player development and joining them will give our club great benefit through its multiple player and coach identification and development programs.”
Brandon Lawless, South Lakes SC Director of Coaching: “South Lakes SC is excited about the new Oklahoma Premier Clubs announcement with US Club Soccer. Having soccer-minded individuals in decision-making roles is a ‘game changer.’ The OPC leadership will have more knowledge and experience than any other league in Oklahoma’s soccer history. The collaboration of clubs and the caliber will be second to none. With having like-minded soccer directors all working together to benefit the players, Oklahoma cannot lose. It has been great working with this group on the creation and launch of the OPC. South Lakes SC looks forward to an exciting future.”
Roger Bush, West Side Alliance SC Executive Director: “WSA is not only excited, but enthused, to be a part of this endeavor on behalf of Oklahoma soccer. We see the opportunity presented by OPC as providing the latitude necessary to properly support and nurture our teams, and ultimately serve our players. The early participating clubs in OPC represent for us a formidable leadership base that we are encouraged to be a part of. We fully understand our responsibility to our players and families and our responsibility as a member of the Oklahoma soccer community, and it is for this reason we are eager to facilitate the OPC vision on behalf of Oklahoma soccer.”
Alex Miranda, NEOFC Executive Director: “NEOFC is proud to usher in this historic change for soccer in Oklahoma. Our club believes in the OPC’s collaborative approach as the guiding principle for developing a league platform, which provides the best player experience at all developmental levels. Through a vast range of programs, we believe OPC offers the most innovative developmental opportunities for players, coaches and game officials alike. OPC’s focus and determination in establishing standards of excellence for its member clubs directly aligns with our club’s vision of offering the best overall experience for families, players and coaches. We look forward to working with all OPC clubs in this exceptional player-centric environment.”