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 AC Brea apply for Players First licensing?
Matt Morse, Technical Director: I have always respected the messaging and cause of US Club Soccer and truly appreciate how they support the club and the player. I wanted to align our club with the same standards. I knew that if we were to be accepted as a Players First club, then it would be clear to our community that we have our priorities right and our focus on the correct things when it comes to serving the needs of the player.
Q: What does it mean for AC Brea to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Morse: It is especially meaningful since AC Brea is the first club to have official licensing as a Players First club in Southern California. It is a statement to our families and those around us that our core values are based on a holistic and complete approach to true commitment to the needs of the player and it isn't just based on how many trophies we win or what leagues or competitions we enter. We hope to embody what it means to be a Players First club and represent the program well, to be a leader in innovation, collaboration and celebrating the good things about competitive youth sports.
Q: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Morse: The Players First licensing is a reflection of what we have already accomplished, whereas so many other programs and incentives are based on marketing and associating yourself with something that is a hope but not yet a reality. For example, we can take on the term "academy" or "pre-academy" or "elite," but just adding the name doesn't make you that thing. Being a Players First club lets everyone know who we are and what kind of programs we provide and what kind of services we offer.
Q: What would you like the parents of AC Brea to know about what this means to them?
Morse: As a community-based soccer club, you can have the same results in terms of access to college/pro/ODP, or whatever it may be, if your club is organized and functions in a way that puts the player first and has the expertise and professionalism to build those opportunities for you. We did that prior to our affiliate partnerships, with our affiliate partnerships, and we will continue to do it as a Players First-licensed club. We had a great partnership with our affiliate and the relationship was good; it served us well in both directions. However, at the end of the day, it just did not fit into who we are and where we are going as a community based soccer club. Being honored as a Players First-licensed club lets us know that we are doing things right.
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.