TOGETHER WE RISE: Houston Express and Eclipse Soccer Clubs Merge to Rise as One
Houston is a thriving youth soccer community with a fractured market. Now, there is an important merger of two significant youth soccer clubs coming together to rise as one and offer a better program for the kids who love soccer — from those who dream of becoming a professional soccer player to those who just yearn to kick the ball after school.
As the landscape of competitive youth soccer continues to shift with the goal of improving player development, a big merger is redefining youth soccer in the Houston market. Houston Express Soccer Club and Eclipse Soccer Club are merging and rising as the strongest youth soccer organization — Rise SC.
It is the merger of their proud organizations and traditions in a historic endeavor to become the strongest youth soccer organization in Houston that sets the stage for improving player development.
“We believe this move will make us the leaders of the soccer market in Houston,” says Colin Chesters, Executive Director of the new Rise SC. “Our goal is to make youth soccer great — not just at our club — but all over. We will take Rise SC to a new level.”
The bringing together of these two clubs has been under discussion for several months.
“Houston Express’ Adrian Crespo and Michael Foster and worked with Eclipse’s Greg Condrey and Paul Rossetti diligently behind the scenes and everyone has had the kids best interests at heart,” says Chesters.
“There are many clubs in this potential hotbed of soccer — all with a few good teams. From what I have seen since arriving in Houston, there is a need for consolidation. There are a few good players mixed in with players who are not quite seriously committed enough to take their game to the next level,” says Chesters. “Good to Great is what I have preached all of my coaching career.”
“Everyone is good, who wants to be great? Who is willing to do what it takes to be great?”
“I don’t see great here in Houston just yet. It should be Great,” says Chesters. “Dallas is great and we have a similar population and demographic. Let’s be better than Dallas.”
Merging the two clubs together brings more than just resources together — under the combined leadership, and with Chesters at the helm, Rise SC is poised to make a strong impact on youth soccer.
Rise SC will have a tremendous player pool of more than 4,500 which is the largest talent pool in Houston. The combined facilities, which are only 20 minutes apart will provide a positive environment for both the 2,500 recreational players as well as Rise SC’s 2,000 competitive youth soccer players. Rise SC’s staff will consist of 30 plus full time coaches.
“Our coaching staff believe in coaching education and I believe Rise SC will have the greatest number of high level licensed coaches of any club in Houston,” says Chesters.
With a total of 66 fields — 60 of those soccer fields are match quality and nearly 90% are lit, Rise SC has outstanding facilities. With pristine grass fields and 4 turf fields plus 3 Futsal courts, the youth soccer players at Rise SC will have the optimum facilities on which to learn and enjoy the beautiful game. Rise SC will also have a U.S. Soccer Development Academy program.
“We are interested in developing the next generation of young soccer stars and will aggressively pursue fulfilling opportunities for players from the recreational level to the elite competitive ranks — and through the highest divisions of elite national competition,” says Chesters.
Although the merger takes effect on January 1, 2017, the two clubs will continue to operate under their current names – Houston Express and Eclipse – until the season ends in the spring of 2017.
Editor’s Note: Rise SC will have the U.S. Soccer DA Boys U12 program.