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 Columbus Crew SC

Crew Youth Add Six Partner Clubs to the Crew Network

February 23, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Columbus Crew SC News Release

COLUMBUS - Crew Youth, the arm of Columbus Crew that specializes in youth development for athletes ages four to 18, today announced the six newest partner clubs to join the Crew Network: Appleseed Premier, Club Oranje Raptors, Grove City Knights, KASA Eagles, LFC United, and Olimpia USA. With the addition of these new partner clubs, Crew Youth is proud to support 30 total partner clubs and more than 18,000 Ohio based youth soccer athletes through the Crew Network.

This announcement ties together the youth soccer sector of the Club with the annual city-wide celebration of Black & Gold week. As part of the Black & Gold Week event schedule, Crew Youth hosted three events throughout the week, kicking off with a Crew Youth President's Day Camp on Monday, Feb. 19.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Crew Youth hosted the Apprentice Coach Program for one of their weekly check-ins throughout the entire six weeklong program. The cohort working through the program now began in January and is comprised of 41 local Crew Network club coaches, while the program has seen 122 total coaches since the inception of the program in Jan. 2023. This program is free and designed to connect local Crew Network club coaches with the Crew's technical staff, learning about the Club's development and scouting approaches, watching Crew Academy coaches run sessions, and an opportunity to receive practical experience through assisting with Crew Youth Camps and Training Programs.

Crew Youth wrapped up its Black & Gold Week event schedule with the Crew Network Leadership Summit, which took place on Wednesday, Feb. 21. This event, in its first year, gave 30 directors and leaders from clubs within the Crew Network the opportunity to sit down with a member of the Club's soccer leadership to develop solutions, introduce strategies, and fuel collaboration.

"We are excited to welcome six new partner clubs into the Crew Network," said Crew Youth Technical Director of Youth Partnerships, Robert Spain. "We thank the clubs within the Crew Network for their sustained partnership and are looking forward to continuing to offer premium resources and support for our local clubs as we work towards our mission of igniting a relentless passion for the game of soccer."

The Crew Network launched in 2021 and is focused on advancing the sport of soccer in Ohio, providing access to professional level resources for boys athletes, girls athletes, coaches, and parents. Clubs within the Crew Network also receive both technical and commercial benefits from the Crew, such as increased brand exposure, access to the Crew's coaching staff, and a dedicated pathway into the Columbus Crew Academy for high potential players. Since 2021, the Crew Network has grown to include 30 partner clubs in total, all located in the State of Ohio, including clubs in the Greater Columbus region as well as Cleveland, Toldeo, and many other local communities across the state.

Appleseed Premier: Located in Mansfield, Appleseed Premier's main mission is to take the best players in North Central Ohio to the next level. A non-profit organization offering recreational and travel programs, Appleseed Premier is a competitive program through Appleseed Youth Soccer Association who works with 3,000 youth athletes representing 250 teams for the fall and spring seasons through its 11 member clubs. Appleseed Youth Soccer Association is dedicated to providing competitive offerings with their recreational, State League Teams, and Futsal programs.

Club Oranje Raptors: Club Oranje Raptors is a parent-led organization in Central Ohio that is fueled by a passion to see kids have fun and develop. Club Oranje Raptors strives to offer a soccer destination for young athletes that is more coordinated than some recreational league options, but not as demanding on the athlete's schedules as some other clubs. The mission that drives the club is to offer a safe and fun environment for players to have fun playing the game without being obsessed with the outcome, for players U-8 to U-14.

Grove City Knights: Grove City Knights, the travel soccer program for the Grove City Kids Association, are focused on remaining an affordable club, while also providing development opportunities to athletes at various levels of skill and experience. The club is proud to offer low player fees, USSF licensed coaches, winter training, and a privately owned soccer complex.

KASA Eagles: Located in Marion, KASA Eagles is a faith-based non-profit organization, providing soccer programs for young athletes from U-6 through high school. KASA offers year-round programs to both boys and girls, with the mission of teaching soccer skills, good sportsmanship, and a good mental attitude. Off the field, KASA's focus is to develop the athlete as an individual - preparing the body, mind, and spirit for competition, and ultimately for life.

LFC United: LFC United is the competitive travel program of the Hilliard Ohio Soccer Association and was formed in 1976, with the intention of coordinating soccer activities for the Hilliard area residents. Now, 48 years later, LFC United shows a continued dedication to providing player development and soccer programs supporting all ages, interests, and abilities in a fair, safe, and secure environment, no matter the youth player's address.

Olimpia USA: Located in Hilliard, Olimpia USA offers elite soccer training for players of all ages, whether in the Junior Academy (5-8 years old) or in the Competitive Soccer program (ages 8-18 years old). Olimpia USA's mission is to develop players at the technical level while also helping athletes to become fit and more well-rounded as individuals.

Clubs and youth soccer organizations interested in receiving more information about the Crew Network should contact Crew Technical Director for Youth Partnerships Robert Spain ([email protected]).

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