US Club Soccer announces ten more Players First-licensed clubs
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Ten clubs have been approved as new US Club Soccer Players First-licensed clubs, joining more than 100 members in the program, spanning 30 states.
Players First licensing is led by a robust application, in which clubs prove their commitment to Players First, its philosophy and the five pillars: Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety.
When clubs apply to become licensed, they’re extensively reviewed by US Club Soccer. Then, they’re either approved in the same term of which they applied, or their applications remain open for up to six months to allow them to meet any additional requirements necessary for licensing. About one-third of all approved clubs have been accepted after their initial evaluations required them to raise standards.
The 10 newly-licensed Players First clubs include:
- Albion Hurricanes FC (Houston, TX)
- Arkansas Comets (Springdale, AR)
- AYSO United SoCal (Torrance, CA)
- Florida Hawks FC (Lithia, FL)
- Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Club (Nederland, TX)
- Mercury Soccer (Cincinnati, OH)
- Next Generation Soccer Academy (Sarasota, FL)
- Puma Futbol Club (Overland Park, KS)
- Tualatin Hills United Soccer Club (Portland, OR)
- Walnut Creek Surf Soccer Club (Walnut Creek, CA)
US Club Soccer regards its Players First program as youth soccer’s “Good Housekeeping Seal” for clubs that provide the best experiences for players and parents.
“We believe this to be the most rigorous and comprehensive attempt in U.S. Soccer history to identify those clubs that have demonstrated a commitment to creating the kind of infrastructure and culture necessary to provide the best overall environment for players,” US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne said.
Players First licensed clubs have access to the annual Players First Summit – an educational and collaborative experience exclusively for Players First-licensed clubs. The inaugural event was held in December 2019 in Miami Lakes, Florida. The second annual Players First Summit was hosted virtually on Dec. 8 – 9, 2020, and the sessions are currently available on-demand through Jan. 31.
Details about the licensing process can be found on this web page, including the terms and eligibility information. These 10 new clubs enjoy Players First licensing status until January 2023, at which time there will be a renewal opportunity. Club applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, and approved clubs are announced quarterly. Clubs that apply but do not meet the standards and requirements outlined in the application all receive a detailed letter explaining any deficiencies with suggestions and resources to correct those.
The application includes seven sections, in which clubs must demonstrate their commitment to the Players First pillars:
1. Club and Applicant Information
2. Club Leadership Expertise and Development
3. Staff Education and Development
4. Player Health and Safety
5. Training and Competition Structure
6. Staffing Structure
7. Parent Education and Engagement