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 Mustang Soccer Club apply for Players First licensing?
Fred Wilson, Executive Director of Mustang Soccer Club: In 2005, Mustang soccer began fingerprinting all members of the club that coach, volunteer and/or serve the club in any way as it related to children. We adopted very strict child protection laws putting kids as the number one priority for our youth soccer organization. Three years prior to concussion training being required for all coaches, Mustang soccer started a concussion protocol that was required of its coaches and players when a concussion was suspected. The safety and well being of our players has been a number one priority for the entire existence of Mustang soccer and as we have learned more about various challenges that players face on and off the field, we have continued to introduce policies and procedures to protect our players before we were ever asked to do so by outside organizations.
Question: What does it mean for Mustang Soccer Club to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Wilson: This honor acknowledges the time and effort that the Mustang Soccer Board of Directors and Soccer directors have put into making player safety and well-being a number one priority. We are excited that US Club Soccer has taken the time to recognize those clubs that put their players first. This is a great honor as we have held this as a key priority at Mustang soccer since the beginning of the club.
Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Wilson: Most programs focus on soccer development and player development. Players First licensing emphasizes the well being of players which helps align with one of Mustang Soccer’s core values of whole person development. While this has always been a priority to our club, participation in the Players First initiative helps recognize and emphasize the importance of whole person development which is an absolute necessity in our soccer community.
Question: What would you like the parents of Mustang Soccer Club to know about what this means to them?
Wilson: For the parents of Mustang soccer, this means ongoing education for our players, coaches and parents about safety and well being of kids. Parents will be able to have peace of mind that the safety of their children are number one in our community. This recognition helps to strengthen the alliance between the Board of Directors, Mustang soccer directors, Mustang professional and volunteer coaches, Mustang parents, medical professionals and our players to ensure the safety and well being of every participating member of the club.
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.