07 Jan United Soccer Clubs Champions League starts strong in inaugural NPL season
When US Club Soccer announced the creation of the United Soccer Clubs (USC) in April, the news carried significant weight in Texas. Several Directors of Coaching from many of the top clubs in the state wanted a new competitive platform that focused on player development from a club-driven approach.
Consider it done.
USC launched in 2015 with 15 clubs leading the charge. At the top level of various layers of competition is the USC Champions League: the newest addition to the National Premier Leagues (NPL). Many of the participating clubs have a long history of involvement with US Club Soccer programming, including Player Development Programs (PDP) and the id² Program. These opportunities will expand to Players First, including LaLiga, in the spring. More details are coming soon.
Now, club leaders from USC are working hand-in-hand with US Club Soccer and the National Premier Leagues to foster the ideal environment for competitive players in the region.
|Albion Hurricanes FC||Dynamos SC||Lonestar SC|
|Austin Texans||Eclipse SC||Lonestar SC – San Antonio|
|Challenge SC||Houston Express SC||Space City FC|
|Classics Elite SC||Houstonians FC||Texans SC|
|Crush FC||Liverpool FC America (STX)||Texas Rush SC|
“The USC Champions League is a great addition to the NPL,” Leo Garcia, NPL General Manager, said. “These clubs are preparing their players to take their games to the next level, and we’re happy to provide resources to accomplish that.”
The USC Champions League features U-14 through U-18 boys and girls teams from Austin, Houston, San Antonio and surrounding areas. They play in a year-long format with regular season winners advancing to the annual NPL Finals. This year’s NPL Finals will be held about 900 miles northwest of Austin in Aurora, Colo.
Austin-based Lonestar SC is among the founding clubs of the USC and USC Champions League. “Lonestar was excited to be involved with a group of top-level clubs and help create a unique player, team and club-centric developmental model for soccer in South Texas,” Don Cameron, Lonestar SC’s Executive Director of Select Soccer, said. “It is important to our club that we offer our players and teams as many developmental opportunities as we can. Being a part of USC gives our players access to US Club Soccer’s PDPs and id².”
Two Lonestar SC players participated in last month’s id² Training Camp in Casa Grande, Ariz. “We believe that our families rightfully expect timely and effective communication in terms of developmental opportunities, game and competition scheduling and advancement,” Cameron added. “Being a part of the USC makes us part of the decision-making process and gives us control over successfully meeting those expectations.”
Stuart Fitzsimons, Director of Coaching – Competitive for Texas Rush SC, agreed with Cameron about the importance of clubs having input on the direction of the league. “Soccer decisions are made by educated soccer experts who have daily responsibilities to improve the soccer landscape for all players,” Fitzsimons said. “It has allowed the clubs to work together, which has created greater trust between clubs.
“Overall, the competition has been very good. We have been able to better place like-ability teams together, making for a competitive environment for all teams.”
ABOUT US CLUB SOCCER:
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer is an organization committed to the development and support of soccer clubs in the United States.
US Club Soccer offers youth and adult registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms at the recreational and competitive levels, as well as a variety of other programming, including the Olympic Development Program-sanctioned id2 Program and Player Development Programs.
Through US Club Soccer, all of a club’s programs – recreational, competitive and adult – are able to be united under one organizational umbrella, creating a “members for life” culture within each club. US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike.