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The Girls Academy Apr 04, 2023

Sporting Nebraska FC poised to join Girls Academy in major leap for the club

By Sean Maslin
SoccerWire Staff Writer

An organization that has racked up Nebraska State Cup titles by the dozens over the years will now get an opportunity play as one of the newest members of the Girls Academy (GA).

After years of working hard to develop consistent success at the local, state and regional levels with their girls soccer program, Sporting Nebraska FC will join the GA’s Midwest Conference, starting in the 2023-2024 season.

“We were very excited,” said Sporting Nebraska FC Director of Coaching Alex Mason. “This is a great opportunity but also for our coaching staff and for our club as a whole.”

“We have gone through this journey going back to the early days of our club,” added Mason. “This is an incredible opportunity for our girls program and being part of an organization like the GA that is a girls-driven platform was very important to us. In youth soccer, often the voice seems to be the same everywhere. But with the GA, they have their own kind of message and that was important for us and the program we have put into place here.”

Sporting Nebraska FC’s roots can be traced back to 2008 with the merger of two football clubs Gladiator Soccer Club and Millard Star Soccer Club (Also known as Arsenal). In 2014 the side then known as Omaha Football Club merged with Toro Girls Soccer Club, one of the top girls club programs in the state. After multiple mergers the club rebranded in 2016 to become Sporting Omaha FC (They are also a member of the Sporting Kansas City Academy Affiliate Network, having been a member of their since their Omaha FC days in 2013).

Throughout their transformation what has been consistent is their ability to earn top results against competitive competition. The club has 140 Nebraska State Cup titles (last year they won six across their boys and girls teams) and has sent numerous teams to the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships and the USYS National Championships.

For Sporting Nebraska, focusing on technical skills at an early age and then phasing in the tactical aspects of the game as players get older has helped them not just achieve strong results, but also develop well-rounded soccer players.

“In the younger age groups we really focus on their individuality and their technical skills and make sure that they are really good on the ball,” said Sporting Nebraska FC Luke Baxter, Assistant Director for the Girls Program. “As they get into the older age groups our focus becomes tactical as we prepare them for the modern game.”

Sporting also places a high focus on the individual, giving not just players but also coaches and staff the space and ability to create and excel.

“We really try to create a training environment where coaches can take our game modeling and our curriculum and give them the autonomy and freedom to express themselves as coaches,” said Baxter. “I think what that really does is that it translates down to the players, who feel they can express themselves when handling problem solving on the pitch.”

Giving players that space to create has allowed them to excel at the club level and flourish at the college and professional game. Through their College Pathway program, Nebraska has over 450 players go on to play Division I, II, III, and NAIA soccer. Their alumni include players like Hannah Tate (University of Denver, 2022 United Soccer Coaches High School All-American), Ocean Scherlizin (University of South Alabama, Belgium Youth National Team) and Sarah Weber (University of Nebraska, United States Women’s U-23 National Team).

For Sporting Nebraska, having the chance to continue to build off of their success through the years with an organization like the Girls Academy is something that has all members of their community excited. “

No matter what, having the opportunity to play in a higher level of competition is something that excites our club across the board, from our players to our parents to our coaches to our staff,” added Mason. “We will obviously be adding in some new players and new staff but it should be a very positive transition.”

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