Players First club spotlight: Challenge Soccer Club

Players First club spotlight: Challenge Soccer Club

Editor’s Note: On Dec. 18, US Club Soccer announced the first-ever class of Players First-licensed clubs, which featured 46 clubs from 19 states. In the weeks to follow, those clubs will be highlighted with Q&As from their directors.

Question: Why did Challenge Soccer Club apply for Players First licensing?

Patrick O’Toole, Director of Coaching of Challenge Soccer Club: Since inception, Challenge Soccer Club has sought to focus on the growth and development of our players and teams by always trying to do what is in the best interest of the individual athlete. Doing what is in the best interest of each player and her development is at the heart of every decision we make. US Club Soccer’s philosophy aligns with ours and we want to be associated with organizations that put the best interest of players at the forefront of their focus.

Question: What does it mean for Challenge Soccer Club to now be an official Players First-licensed club?

O’Toole: US Club Soccer is the first of our governing bodies to create standards and recognize clubs who are putting the players first. We are extremely honored to be recognized and will continue to lead the way on both a regional and national level.

Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?

O’Toole: Unfortunately most youth sports organizations do not make the players the focal point of their decision making process, as they put the interest or agendas of the parents, volunteers or professionals first. Similar to the most successful schools, youth soccer clubs need to have the best professional coaching staff, volunteer system, and parental group all working together in support of our players. To date, no other national youth soccer organization has evaluated and licensed clubs based on their demonstrated ability of putting the player at the pinnacle of their focus.

Question: What would you like the parents of Challenge Soccer Club to know about what this means to them?

O’Toole: We hope that we can continue to educate our club parents on the development of their daughters, and that they realize Challenge has always done everything we can to put the interest of their daughter first. We value the trust parents put in us to work with their children, and we hope they will show that faith and trust in us during the most challenging times of their daughters’ development, while we all strive to assist in their soccer journey.


A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.

Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

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