Twelve new clubs welcomed into Players First community

Twelve clubs have been approved as new Players First-licensed clubs, bringing the total to more than 100 clubs in 27 states. These clubs completed a rigorous application process, proving their commitment to Players First, its philosophy and the five pillars.

When clubs apply to become Players First 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. US Club Soccer is currently detailing the various sections of the Players First club licensing application via an ongoing Facebook Live series.

Players First is built on a foundation of five pillars: Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety. Congratulations to these newly licensed Players First clubs:

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. This is youth soccer’s “Good Housekeeping Seal” and 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,” US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne said.

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. US Club Soccer is currently planning the second annual Players First Summit, to be hosted later this year.

Details about the licensing process can be found on this web page, including the terms and eligibility information. These 12 new clubs enjoy Players First licensing status until June 30, 2022, 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. The sections are linked below to their respective Facebook Live episode in the ongoing series examining all topics of the application. The final two sections will be covered over the next two weeks:

  1. Club and Applicant Information
  2. Club Leadership Expertise and Development (episode featuring Davis Legacy SC & Prince William Soccer)
  3. Staff Education and Development (episode featuring Ohio Premier SC & Sockers FC Chicago)
  4. Player Health and Safety (episode featuring NCFC Youth & NEFC)
  5. Training and Competition Structure (episode featuring NASA Tophat & San Francisco Elite Academy)
  6. Staffing Structure (episode on Facebook on June 26 at 11 a.m. ET)
  7. Parent Education and Engagement (episode on Facebook on July 2 at 12 a.m. ET)