Nine clubs have been approved as new Players First-licensed clubs, joining more than 100 clubs in a movement that has elevated youth soccer standards by bringing the Players First philosophy to 30 states across the country.
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. This process – and the results – overwhelmingly prove that Players First licensing is elevating standards in youth soccer.
Congratulations to these newly licensed Players First clubs:
The Players First community is diverse, featuring variations of club infrastructure, levels of national prominence and extending to suburbs, cities and rural areas alike. All these clubs share at least one commonality: the Players First philosophy.
Players First is a branded, 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. All Players First-licensed clubs stand out locally and nationally as improving the club soccer experience.
“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 Kevin Payne, US Club Soccer CEO.
In addition to this nationally recognized stamp of approval, these clubs also receive more access and exclusive benefits from Players First partners and resources, numerous features on US Club Soccer digital and social channels, customizable content and more. Because of these added benefits, the additional growth opportunities for these clubs are expansive. All licensed clubs also 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 in December 2020.
Details about the licensing process can be found on this web page, including the terms and eligibility information. These nine new clubs enjoy Players First licensing status until March 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:
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.
US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.