Soccer Holdings Launches Youth Academies
Soccer Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Louisville City FC, Lynn Family Stadium, and NWSL Louisville, announced a new vision for youth soccer in the Louisville community Monday. The organization will launch Youth Academy programs for both boys and girls starting in the Summer of 2020.
"We are excited to announce the next natural step for our organization," President Brad Estes said. "Launching youth academies for boys and girls is an important next step in both the USL and the NWSL. As we continue to grow as a club with a focus on improving quality, being able to develop the next generation of stars in our hometown is paramount."
Louisville City FC and Louisville's NWSL team will each have a youth academy associated with its first team. Young players will have the opportunity to develop his/her full potential in a positive, player-centered learning environment.
"We will create a pathway to professional or collegiate soccer for local youth players," Mario Sanchez said. "The USL and NWSL have both presented a vision of future youth development which includes each local team launching an academy system. We are excited about this next step in our growth as a club."
The Youth Academy will start at U-8 (local youth born in 2013) through U-19 (local players born in 2002) in both boys and girls. Each gender and age will have a coaching staff vetted to properly teach the group to reach their full potential.
Louisville City's first entry into the Academy structure was last month's USL Academy Cup. A group of 17 local stars came together as an All-Star team and had a successful run during the 2020 USL Academy Eastern Conference event, turning heads of scouts and other long-established clubs.
"Today is another important step in the growth of our club," Louisville City Head Coach and Sporting Director John Hackworth said. "Player development and creating a pathway to becoming a professional is vital for all of us in this organization."
Soccer Holdings will launch its NWSL franchise for the 2021 season. It is important to build a youth development system to help identify and train the next generation of American soccer stars.
"With the success of our men's program and the ambition we have for our NWSL team, it is the next step for us," Soccer Holdings Executive Vice President James O'Connor said. "It's a natural progression and a program we are thrilled to offer our local community. We have already had a number of local players represent our USL team and as we look to the future we endeavor to have more local talent representing us in both our USL and NWSL teams."
Tryouts for each of the teams will be announced by the end of March. Louisville City FC and NWSL Louisville are committed to an open tryout process for each of its teams.
"It is important for us to have an open selection process," Sanchez said. "We want to work with the top talent in our area. We want this to be as inclusive as possible because we understand how important it is that our sport be available to all."
Once selected for a youth academy team, the season will run from late July until mid-May for pre-high schoolers and late Fall through late May for high school players so that players will still be available to play for their local schools. Travel for the teams will be based on age-appropriate demands and league and tournament play.
Sanchez said the club is currently working to identify coaching candidates for each of the teams.
"We will have an open process to field the top coaches in each age category," Sanchez explained. "Any coach who is interested in coaching with us can email me their interested and resume."
The academy teams will train and play at a new training center at Champions Park on River Road which will begin construction later this spring. On Thursday, March 5, the Louisville Metro Council approved plans to lease a portion of Champions Park to Soccer Holdings as part of a public-private partnership to rejuvenate the property into usable practice fields. The complex will include four turf fields and three natural grass fields.
For more information on the upcoming youth academies, please visit LouCity.com/academy. For questions, email: [email protected]
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