Editor’s Note: Every quarter, US Club Soccer announces the most recent class of Players First-licensed clubs. In the weeks to follow, the newest clubs will be highlighted with Q&As from their directors.
Q: Why did Sheriffs FC apply for Players First licensing?
Omar Cervantes, Director of Fútbol of Sheriffs FC: First off, we truly believe the work we are doing in our community to make futbol cost-free and accessible to all players, regardless of socioeconomic background, is unique and creates an opportunity for many who might not otherwise have a chance to play youth soccer. Our goal in applying for Players First licensing was to create awareness of that work, as well as raise awareness within youth soccer of the quality player and club development experience provided to our membership on a daily basis. Players First licensing serves as a seal of approval from US Club Soccer that draws immediate recognition, and we found it important to be evaluated for licensing to highlight our work.
Q: What does it mean for Sheriffs FC to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Cervantes: We feel honored to be one of only 94 clubs in the country to have received Players First licensing for their work and commitment to the development of players, parents and coaches. Receiving Players First licensing brings national attention to our project, our community and helps generate discussion around the pay-to-play youth sports model - all positive things. We feel this model can be replicated across the country, and we welcome any conversation with others who might be interested in doing similar work. Additionally, we truly appreciate the resources made available to our membership and staff that will aid the growth and development of our club.
Q: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Cervantes: We appreciate the philosophical commitments US Club Soccer outlines for Players First-licensed clubs, as well as the thoroughness of the application process to ensure clubs meet the designated standard. We weren't in search of a logo to throw onto our website; we were looking for a truly credible measuring stick, and a partner committed to the holistic person, player and club development process. We were able to find that mutual commitment in US Club Soccer's Players First licensing.
Q: What would you like the parents of Sheriffs FC to know about what this means to them?
Cervantes: We want our Sheriffs FC family to know of the many resources available to them through Players First licensing, and we want them to see this announcement as a positive step in enhancing their day-to-day experience. Most importantly, we want everyone to see and feel our continued commitment to providing access & opportunity to exceptional human and player development experiences for each and every member of the Sheriffs FC family.
Additional note: Omar Cervantes was honored as a national recipient of Positive Coaching Alliance's Double-Goal Coach Award at the 2019 National Youth Sports Awards. US Club Soccer published this Q&A with Cervantes from that event.
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.