Editor’s Note: Every quarter, US Club Soccer will announce the most recent class of Players First-licensed clubs. In the weeks to follow, those new clubs will be highlighted with Q&As from their directors.
Question: Why did Tampa Bay United Rowdies Soccer Club apply for Players First licensing?
George Fotopoulos, Director of Coaching and Girls' Player Development of Tampa Bay United Rowdies Soccer Club: There has been a growing demand for direction and leadership for coaching and elite player development in our country, and we we felt the Players First licensing set the framework and pathway for what we wanted to be, as an elite club.
Question: What does it mean for Tampa Bay United Rowdies Soccer Club to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Fotopoulos: Becoming a Players First-licensed club provides us with another opportunity to prove to our membership and the soccer community in Tampa that we have a growth mindset and are committed to raising our level as an organization. Initiatives likes this hold us accountable by providing the most holistic approach to coach and player development.
Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Fotopoulos: When we looked at other approaches, they where driven by technical goals. The Players First pathway is holistic. It covers everything from developing players and coaches to creating a safe environment for all players and staff, which was very important for us in a youth club.
Question: What would you like the parents of Tampa Bay United Rowdies Soccer Club to know about what this means to them?
Fotopoulos: In order for us to create long-term sustainability, we will collaborate and work alongside our parents in the development process of our players. This license is a symbol of that commitment, and it is a responsibility that we take very seriously.
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.