AC Milan’s former midfielder, Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda joins forces with USL’s Orange County SC
Keisuke Honda’s Company Soltilo Joins the Ownership Group of Orange County Soccer Club of the United Soccer League.
Some professional players hang up their cleats after a match and relax, others go to work. Keisuke Honda, the former AC Milan’s midfielder goes to work.
Honda has now joined the ranks of Pachuca and is a force to be reckoned with on the field. One of the top earners in Mexican football, Honda is also making smart moves off the field and announced today that his company, Soltilo, has become an investor in the USL club Orange County SC. Honda’s company’s first investment in a professional soccer club in the USA — his company has ownership in three other pro teams outside the USA.
Soltilo is a soccer management company with over 4000 students in the USA, Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, and Uganda.
Today’s agreement is the first step in a comprehensive partnership in which the two organizations will jointly focus on a number of projects including youth player development, tournaments, camps and travel exchange programs.
A key member of the Japanese National team during the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, Honda is a passionate player who clearly believes in nurturing the development of the next generation of youth soccer players.
Off the field, Honda has conducted soccer camps around the world as UN Foundation’s Global Advocate for Youth with the goal of providing opportunities for children and supported the start-up community as an angel investor. His efforts as an entrepreneur have led to a fellowship at the MIT Media Lab.
“I’m extremely excited about the new partnership between our organization and Orange County. I’m frequently asked, “why the United States?” and “why now”? My answer is clear,” said Keisuke Honda.
“First, children in the United States have more potential than players in any advanced soccer nation.”
“The United States will become a soccer powerhouse. Second, the United States, unfortunately, missed their opportunity to play in this World Cup and the next opportunity is 2022,” said Honda. “We look at this situation optimistically as an opportunity to develop the youth system with Orange County.”
“There are two projects we would like to accomplish as a first step,” said Honda. “In order to discover and develop talent, we would like to put on an international tournament at the Great Park. Finally, we would like to create an international exchange and internship program in Orange County. We look forward to making Orange County the international hub for youth development.”
“We could not be more excited to have the opportunity to join forces with an incredible professional soccer player, philanthropist and human being like Keisuke Honda. Orange County SC and Soltilo share a common vision of the power of soccer to help young men and women reach their full potential on and off the field,” said Orange County SC Owner & President, James Keston.
The partnership with Orange County Soccer Club will provide Soltilo’s affiliated teams access to a highly competitive youth academy structure and a clear pathway to the USL and beyond to the highest levels of professional soccer around the globe.
Orange County Soccer Club has recently hired coaching legend Frans Hoek to oversee all academy operations, and Hoek’s leadership and experience will elevate the youth development program to a level that few clubs can match. Hoek has worked at the pinnacle of soccer with a resume that includes FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, AFC Ajax and most recently with the Dutch National Team
And, of course, Orange County SC is an Official Affiliate Partner of MLS’s Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). Definitely, Orange County SC is a club to watch.