ECNL president Christian Lavers accepts position with Kansas City NWSL team
KANSAS CITY – Kansas City NWSL announced today it has appointed Christian Lavers as its first Director of Sport and Chief Soccer Officer to guide the club’s vision and strategy for technical programming and youth development.
“I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to help accomplish the vision that Angie and Chris Long have set out both for Kansas City NWSL, and for the game more broadly,” Lavers said. “We have the opportunity to collaboratively create one of the top development and performance environments in the world for the women’s game, and to positively impact the trajectory of the sport at the youth, collegiate and professional levels.”
Lavers, widely recognized as a leader and pioneer in the development of elite athletes, will serve as a catalyst for the team’s local and national youth programming, as well as its vision for elevating the experience for professional women’s soccer.
The team’s approach to youth soccer will be to support and amplify the efforts of local clubs by providing additional resources, education and opportunities to youth clubs, coaches and players. This approach reflects the ownership vision as well as the deep understanding and experience both Lavers and Head Coach Huw Williams bring to youth soccer. The two have a long history of positive collaboration, having worked together for years in successful youth soccer programming and sharing the philosophy that a positive relationship between the professional game and the youth soccer community is the cornerstone for growing and improving the sport.
“Christian is not only a groundbreaker in achieving superior technical performance with athletes, he is an important and respected voice in the effort to improve the youth development experience at every level, in every region, for every player,” said Co-Founder and Owner Chris Long. “His experience combined with his inclusive, collaborative approach and willingness to challenge the status quo make him a perfect fit for our vision, particularly as it relates to youth programming.”
Lavers will continue as the President of Elite Clubs National League, Inc. (ECNL). ECNL is a non-profit organization with a mission of improving the development experience for young elite players.
The ECNL Girls is widely considered the top development and competition environment in the world for youth female players. Since 2016 more than half of all players drafted in the NWSL played as youth players in the ECNL; and in the 2021 NWSL Draft, the top four players drafted, and 29 of the 40 players drafted in total, played in the league.
Additionally, Lavers will advise the team on elite youth programming, leading discussions to plan, develop and host Kansas City based national programming, as well as local programming for elite youth clubs.
“We share a like-minded vision with Christian in how to continue to grow and elevate the game,” said Co-Founder and Owner Angie Long. “We couldn’t be more excited to have his guidance and insight as we work with stakeholders to create local and national youth programs.”
Lavers has extensive experience at the forefront of soccer in the United States including coaching at the youth, college and professional levels. He has also coached U.S. Soccer Youth National teams, and his teams have reached national championship semi-finals or beyond at five different levels. He holds a USSF National “A” License and NSCAA Premier Diploma, and earned Master of Business Administration, Juris Doctor, and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he played on the Men’s Soccer Team.