USL’s Orange County Soccer Club and Surf Cup Sports Work Together To Provide a Professional Pathway for Elite Youth Soccer Players
While this is well established in Europe, it is not as available in the USA as it should be — here is what is happening that is making a difference in Southern CA — A clear, proven path for the advancement of youth soccer players to the professional game is now available in America’s hotbed of youth soccer talent — Southern California.
Many youth soccer players dream of becoming professional soccer players and now this rare opportunity has a greater chance. Southern California’s United Soccer League (USL) team Orange County SC and Surf Cup Sports have formed a historic partnership focused on creating a professional pathway for youth players in Southern California, America’s number one market for player development.
“The partnership between Orange County SC and Surf Cup Sports allows us the opportunity to identify players at an early age and turn the most talented youths into world-class players with a pathway to advance to the highest levels of soccer possible, both in the USA and abroad,” said Orange County Club Owner & President, James Keston. “Surf’s youth soccer players will now be provided with the opportunity to train with the experienced professional players on our USL first team, putting their skills on display for first division clubs around the globe.”
The partnership will create a unified structure with affiliated Surf youth academy teams using the same formation and tactics as the professional USL team, developed under the technical guidance of Orange County SC Technical Director Frans Hoek, a European coaching legend with decades of coaching experience at FC Barcelona, Manchester United, FC Bayern Munich, AFC Ajax and the Dutch National Team.
Orange County SC becomes the first professional American soccer team to partner with Surf Cup Sports. England’s Manchester City announced their partnership with Surf Cup Sports in 2013. Orange County Surf Academy and the Surf club players from across Southern California will now have access to one of the top USL programs in the country.
“At Surf, we are focused on providing more opportunities for our players by completing the development pyramid,” said Jeremy McDonald, Vice President of Surf Cup Sports.
“We are dedicated to providing a more meaningful competitive environment for youth soccer players in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and on our other teams,” said McDonald. “This partnership with Orange County SC will provide players with access to an outstanding USL soccer club and its professional training environment.”
Orange Country SC is one of the 12 founding members of the USL, the fastest growing Division II professional soccer league in the world.
“This partnership takes OCSC one step closer to our goal of being the premier launch pad in the USA for youth soccer players seeking to take the next step in their careers,” said Keston.
Orange County SC General Manager and Executive Vice President, Oliver Wyss says, “Southern California has historically been among the largest providers of players to both the US National Teams and the MLS, and the union of our two organizations will create a magnet for youth soccer talent in a region with a population of nearly 12 million people — perhaps the largest number of youth soccer players anywhere in the United States.”
“My primary goal when I purchased Orange County Soccer Club fifteen months ago was to instill a winning culture in the organization by creating a fresh club identity, significantly expanding the size of our front office and moving to a brand new, state of the art stadium at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine,” said Keston. “This exciting new partnership with Surf Cup Sports marks the next step in the evolution of our Club. We expect this non-exclusive partnership with Surf Cup Sports to be the first of many affiliations we make with youth soccer clubs and organizations in Orange County and Southern California as we seek to create the elite pathway to professional soccer that is the core of our mission at Orange County SC.”
The Orange County Soccer Club is Orange County’s only professional soccer team and official affiliate partner of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Surf Cup Sports is the premier youth sports event organization in the USA and gives back to help grow the game.
In 2016, Surf Cup Sports donated more than $600,000 in support youth sports and charitable organizations.
Formed in 2012 to manage the iconic summer Surf Cup and winter College Cup Showcase, Surf Cup Sports’ events are held on their 112-acre soccer complex in Del Mar known as Surf Cup Sports Park and the SoCal Sports Park in Oceanside.
Photo Credit: Liza Rosales | Liza Rosales Photography