Q: Why did Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Club apply for Players First licensing?
Daryl Miller, Executive Director: To be great at anything, you first need a vision or standard for what greatness is and how to measure your progress in achieving it. The Players First criteria align with our visions and aspirations as a club and the license is issued by a neutral evaluator in US Club Soccer. The Players First five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education, and Player Health & Safety are all important standards for quality that we strive to excel at every day.
Q: What does it mean for Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Club to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Miller & Roy Lassiter, Director of Coaching: While the Players First license may be a stringent set of qualifications for some clubs to meet, it is also a set of goals and aspirations that players, coaches and parents can easily understand how they can benefit from them. The hard part is for everyone involved to be mindful of living up to and pushing forward these ideals every day. From this perspective, it provides clarity of vision, purpose, and educational resources for all members to maintain the Players First culture we believe in.
Q: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Miller & Lassiter: The foundation of a successful club should be to grow and advance the sport and the players that play it through education and member service. Understanding that every player, parent and coach may be at vastly different levels or stages in their soccer education, how they understand the game and perceive what player development is or isn’t. US Club Soccer’s Youth Club Standards published in 2012 does a great job of providing clubs a tiered set of standards to strive for. The Players First license takes it a step further by validating a club’s qualifications against the stringent requirements to receive it. It also provides tools and resources for continuing education of coaches and parents about what is most important in developing players day-to-day. This was appealing to us and why we chose to apply.
Q: What would you like the parents of Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Club to know about what this means to them?
Lassiter: We are here for the players first and foremost! The Players First licensing represents our club’s continuing commitment to putting the individual needs and best interest of every player at the forefront of all decisions we make. It also aligns with our strategic goal for continuous improvement in all areas of club operations, communication and engagement with members and the communities we serve. While absolute perfection may be unattainable, by aligning with standards and best practices such as Players First we can achieve more faster and provide greater benefits to our players’ long term. Success is a journey, not a destination!
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.