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 Delaware Union apply for Players First licensing?
Sebastian Acosta-Nijamkin, Operations & Development Director: We have been following the additions of different clubs throughout the last couple of years and have used the standards from Players First to create some of our player and family engagements. Once we felt like we had met the qualifications and exceeded the minimum requirements we decided to apply. Since 2014, Delaware Union has always worked to focus internally when it came to player development instead of comparing to other clubs. This felt like a way for the club to compete with itself to always raise the bar for our players, families and coaches.
Q: What does it mean for Delaware Union to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Acosta-Nijamkin: Part of it is the validation of a lot of hard work since 2014 but at the same time it’s a constant reminder that we cannot settle and think this is good enough. It’s also a way for the players, families and coaches that have supported us and have been on this journey with the club to get national recognition and a reminder that even though Delaware is small we can make a big impact in the youth soccer world.
Q: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Acosta-Nijamkin: The standards that have to be met are a big driving force behind this program. They keep the clubs constantly pushing the envelope to engage with players, families and coaches in multiple ways. Having to reapply every two years allows the club to hold those standards regardless of possible leadership changes.
Q: What would you like the parents of Delaware Union to know about what this means to them?
Acosta-Nijamkin: We want to say thank you for being a part of our club. From the youngest players in the discovery program to the oldest players in the representative program, and every recreational and camp player in between, they are all a part of this. They are the reason we do what we do. We may make mistakes or things might not always go according to plan but we always have the players' best interests at heart. Our goal is to make better members of society through the game of soccer and we feel like this helps us continue to achieve that goal.
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.