The first-ever group of Players First-licensed clubs features 46 clubs from 19 states around the country. Through a rigorous application process, these clubs have all proven their commitment to providing a holistic club soccer experience for parents and players, which emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential, and helps parents make better choices about where their children should play.
As youth’s soccer’s “Good Housekeeping Seal,” these clubs immediately take this newfound recognition into their communities and nationally, standing out as pioneers in improving the club soccer experience for players and parents.
These exemplary clubs have met the rigorous Players First standards of offering comprehensive Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety:
“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,” said US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne.
In addition to this nationally recognized stamp of approval, these clubs also receive increased exposure through US Club Soccer’s best-in-class search engine optimization, more access and special benefits from Players First partners and resources, features on US Club Soccer digital and social channels, customizable content and more. They’ll also be invited to a Players First symposium in 2019.
Question: Why did Match Fit Academy FC apply for Players First licensing?
Chris Leahy, Executive Director of Match Fit Academy FC: We, at Match Fit Academy FC, applied for Players First licensing, as we are firm believers that true player development involves the continued education and progression of player, parent and coaches alike. We feel the Player First licensing program will further aid our ability to provide developmental and educational opportunities to all members of our club.
Question: What does it mean for Match Fit Academy FC to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Leahy: We are extremely honored to be an official Players First-licensed club. We feel US Club Soccer continues to offer a platform for clubs to operate in the best interest of our member base. Each club, each market, each level has its own demands across the country, and we feel being a Players First-licensed club now allows us to offer programming for our players, parents and coaches to ensure we are meeting those demands. Additionally, we are proud to be associated with other like-minded clubs across the country on this initial 46-member list. We look forward to collaborating with them and sharing new ideas and best practices.
Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Leahy: Players First licensing is truly a unique platform, as it incorporates all members within your club. While players are our main focus, the sport in this country does have parent involvement, and we feel it is important to help educate parents as well in the developmental process. The initiatives for our staff coaches will be extremely beneficial, as well. In today’s market where coach education is becoming very expensive and not inclusive, the Players First platform will broaden our opportunities for our staff to continue their development as well.
Question: What would you like the parents of Match Fit Academy FC to know about what this means to them?
Leahy: We, at Match Fit Academy FC – while being in various leagues and platforms in our going-on 19 years – feel we have always stayed true to catering our structure and programming to our member base. The Players First licensing will allow us to maintain this philosophy, while expanding upon not only the education and developmental processes for our players, parents and coaches, but also extend our networking with other like-minded clubs under US Club Soccer’s vision.