SportsEvents Magazine

APR 2018

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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2018 Soccer & Lacrosse Fields & Facilities Sourcebook 8 www.sportseventsmagazine.com BY TAMMY LEYTHAM BACK ON TRACK PROGRAMS AIM TO GET YOUTH SOCCER another busy soccer season kicks off, thousands of kids will take to fields across the country. In fact, about 25 million people play soccer at some level in the United States each year. Soccer organizations are attempting to lure players to the field with programs that focus on fun and availability. US Club Soccer, for example, uses Players First, a branded, holistic club soccer experience for parents and players that emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential and helps parents make better choices about where their children should play. "US Club Soccer considers itself a service organization to its members," said Tyler Heffernan, senior manager of communications for US Club Soccer. "We are always looking for new, innovative ways to provide an optimal club soccer experience for clubs, coaches, parents and players." Historically, the metric that parents use to measure their child's club soccer experience is wins and losses. But, Heffernan said, "especially at the younger age groups, that's not the most important result." So, through Players First, clubs can demonstrate their commitment to the five pillars of Players First: club development, coaching development, player development, parent engagement and education, and player health and safety. Heffernan said clubs that are invested in their coaches and players by establishing safety measures and proper relationships with parents, create the perfect environment to players to achieve their full potential. US Club Soccer, based in Charleston, S.C., has 500,000 registered players and 70,000 coaches/staff members. The organization hosts about 15 tournaments per year, while sanctioning and/or supporting more than 500 others. US Youth Soccer—which bills itself as "The Game for All Kids!"—has more than 3 million registered players and is the largest member of the U.S. Soccer Federation. The overarching goal—no pun intended—of US Youth Soccer is to get kids playing the sport, whether they just want to have fun or are highly competitive. The goal of its Soccer Across America programs is to reach lower-income children in un- and under-served communities. As t SOCCER Spotlight

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