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 Maryland United FC first apply for Players First licensing?
Patrick Noel, Director of Operations: We had been following the Players First licensing program and felt that connecting with the platform and the clubs who have already been recognized fit our vision of the youth soccer model. During the shelter in place order resulting from COVID-19, we challenged our coaches and players to better themselves and did a thorough SWOT analysis to improve the club. The exercise of the Players First application process was a priority for our technical staff and will provided some insight on how we can improve as a club going forward.
Q: What does it mean for Maryland United FC to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Noel: Many years ago, our club was a loose consortium of teams most connected by a common uniform. We have evolved to a 700 player organization, guided by a six person technical staff. This distinction validates some of the difficult decisions and growing obstacles we experienced from the Freestate Soccer Alliance years to becoming Maryland United FC in 2013. We are excited about where the club is going over the next few years. The benefits of the Players First license will provide some valuable resources to assist our club development and growth.
Q: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Noel: We have been very fortunate over the years to have been associated with like-minded clubs and participate in club centric leagues. In addition, those organizations held all affiliates to a higher standard which has helped to improve our club. Players First and the licensing process went deeper into areas such as our administration, coaching education, parent engagement and player health and safety. We feel that continuing to improve in these areas will allow us to create the best possible youth soccer experience for all of our players both on and off the field.
Q: What would you like the parents of Maryland United FC to know about what this means to them?
Noel: Maryland United FC strives to develop confident players who have not only reached their full athletic potential, but are also prepared to become active and productive members of the community. The benefits and resources associated with the Players First license will allow us to better serve our families and fulfill our mission statement. We are committed to upholding the standards set by the platform and continuing to push to become better in areas that need improvement and attention. Finally, whenever we can learn and share knowledge from the best practices of our counterparts from across the country, we will all help grow the beautiful game.
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.