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 CAPS FC apply for Players First licensing?
Joel Santiago, Director of Coaching of CAPS FC: CAPS FC applied for Players First licensing because we saw our organization shares the same values and commitment to our players' development. At our club we put our players' well being and development ahead of everything else and we are honored to be awarded this license and be recognized for our efforts and commitment to our players and families.
Question: What does it mean for CAPS FC to now be an official Players First-licensed club?
Santiago: It's another step towards our ultimate goal of creating the best learning environment for each individual player and our commitment to excellence in all our actions. At CAPS FC we know who we are and where we're heading to so it is rewarding to be recognized for our values, quality coach formation, commitment to player development, parent education, and philosophy. Being one of the few clubs in the country recognized for that is a testament to how far we've come as a club and serves as inspiration to our commitment to improve on it every day.
Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?
Santiago: Usually, the club looks for initiatives that further our goals or serve as an extension of what we want to offer. This time, this license recognizes our holistic approach to player development, our constant commitment to ongoing learning, education and development from all of our staff members in order to ensure that our players have the benefit of best-in-class information and resources. There's also a great emphasis put on parent education and that is something that we as a club believe in tremendously.
Question: What would you like the parents of CAPS FC to know about what this means to them?
Santiago: Basically the most important message this sends to our parents is that our commitment to educate parents and help them understand the appropriate expectations and roles for them in their child’s overall soccer and personal development experience is now even larger and more important than it ever was. We believe parents play a crucial role in their child's development and as such we support any initiatives that help develop a healthy, open and learning driven soccer culture amongst parents. Players First is part of that.
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.