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As part of US Club Soccer’s commitment to improving player development through club development, the organization has published its Youth Club Standards, a comprehensive set of aspirational guidelines for all clubs across the United States.
The document reflects specific areas or platforms that clubs and club leadership should be targeting for growth, change, and improvement within the organization. It is intended to be a roadmap for club development, a pathway to sharing best practices, and to provoke thought, discussion and action regarding ways to expand and improve programs and services.
The Youth Club Standards were developed with the advice and assistance of U.S. Soccer technical staff, technical leaders from clubs throughout the country, and the US Club Soccer Board of Directors and staff. The standards will continue to grow and evolve over time, reflecting the ever-changing environment of club soccer in the United States.
The Youth Club Standards document outlines expectations and goals for clubs in areas as diverse as facilities, operations, coaching education, and more. In addition, the document provides three different levels of standards:
Minimum Requirements: These are the basic minimum expectations a club should meet to qualify as a youth soccer club under US Club Soccer. These standards are set out as minimum requirements, without which it is virtually impossible to operate as a true soccer club. These standards may be considered as part of the new member application.
Base Club Standards: These are standards that should be met, or be within the scope of the strategic growth plan, for the majority of youth soccer clubs across the country. The base club standards will cover a wide spectrum of clubs of various competitive levels. Differentiations between these clubs will not only be reflected in their size and mission, but also in the number of these standards met, the degree by which they are met, and the quality of the service or resources provided by the club and its staff within each standard.
National Premier Leagues (NPL) Standards: These standards supplement the Base Club Standards and are expected to be met by all NPL clubs, although they are also valid guidelines for all top developmental clubs in the country, regardless of NPL status. These standards are considered when reviewing applicants to the NPL and in the on-going evaluation of current member clubs in the NPL. NPL clubs are expected to meet all minimum requirements and Base Club Standards, and make consistent progress in achieving new NPL standards each year.
US Club Soccer will continue to expand its club development efforts and educational programming with new initiatives that will be closely aligned with these standards.