Editor’s Note: On Dec. 18, US Club Soccer announced the first-ever class of Players First-licensed clubs, which featured 46 clubs from 19 states. In the weeks to follow, those clubs will be highlighted with Q&As from their directors.
Question: Why did Match Fit Academy FC apply for Players First licensing?
Chris Leahy, Executive Director of Match Fit Academy FC: We, at Match Fit Academy FC, applied for Players First licensing, as we are firm believers that true player development involves the continued education and progression of player, parent and coaches alike. We feel the Player First licensing program will further aid our ability to provide developmental and educational opportunities to all members of our club.
Question: What does it mean for Match Fit Academy FC to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Leahy: We are extremely honored to be an official Players First-licensed club. We feel US Club Soccer continues to offer a platform for clubs to operate in the best interest of our member base. Each club, each market, each level has its own demands across the country, and we feel being a Players First-licensed club now allows us to offer programming for our players, parents and coaches to ensure we are meeting those demands. Additionally, we are proud to be associated with other like-minded clubs across the country on this initial 46-member list. We look forward to collaborating with them and sharing new ideas and best practices.
Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Leahy: Players First licensing is truly a unique platform, as it incorporates all members within your club. While players are our main focus, the sport in this country does have parent involvement, and we feel it is important to help educate parents as well in the developmental process. The initiatives for our staff coaches will be extremely beneficial, as well. In today’s market where coach education is becoming very expensive and not inclusive, the Players First platform will broaden our opportunities for our staff to continue their development as well.
Question: What would you like the parents of Match Fit Academy FC to know about what this means to them?
Leahy: We, at Match Fit Academy FC – while being in various leagues and platforms in our going-on 19 years – feel we have always stayed true to catering our structure and programming to our member base. The Players First licensing will allow us to maintain this philosophy, while expanding upon not only the education and developmental processes for our players, parents and coaches, but also extend our networking with other like-minded clubs under US Club Soccer’s vision.
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.