With the announcement last week of the pro soccer team coming to Loudoun in 2014, the ever growing population of youth soccer players in Loudoun will greatly benefit the new team.
Mark Simpson, director of soccer operations for NASL Virginia, has emphasized the community and its involvement both on and off the field.
“We definitely want to reach out to all of those communities because we don’t want to alienate anybody. We want to create a niche for this area, which is starving for entertainment in general,” Simpson said.
Soccer in Loudoun has become quite a popular sport from toddlers to older teens.
Loudoun Soccer’s youth programs believe it will be a strong relationship between the two entities.
According to Craig Koch, Loudoun Soccer’s director of Business Operations, the organization receives more than 15,000 registrations combined for the spring and fall seasons. Spring frequently has about 1,000 more registrations than the fall.
“Our recreation program this past fall, which covers ages 3 to 18 had about 6,000 players in that program all over the county,” Koch said. “We had another 1,075 kids playing on 73 travel teams from ages 9 to U19.”
Koch noted everyone associated with Loudoun Soccer is excited for the possibilities the pro team will bring.
“From an organizational perspective, Loudoun Soccer is very excited about having a professional soccer team right here in the middle of the county,” Koch said. “From the kids perspective, for a 12-year-old I think they think it is pretty cool and the older kids are thinking there is a possibility after college to continue playing soccer at the professional level.”
When asked why soccer is such a prominent sport in Loudoun, Loudoun Soccer Technical Director Darryl Gee said to its easily playable for all ages and sexes.
“On the world stage and even nationally, soccer is booming. Here in Loudoun, we are the biggest soccer organization in Virginia,” Gee said. “It’s a great game and anyone can play it at any age from 3 to 19. Whether it is a male or female, either of them can play.”
Koch added that Loudoun is seeing a lot of young families with young children relocate here, which makes up a majority of their registrations.
According to Simpson, a major aspect of the pro team will be the Academy program.
“It is vital to us to realize who we are. We are about player development, made up of guys who want to move on to the next level,” Simpson said. “Why not model that as an Academy program to be a feeder system for players to move on to MLS, college, Europe and Mexico.
“Why not work with local soccer clubs to not just take their best players but use their best resources like scouting and coaching to work together and create a development academy under the U.S. Soccer Federation to create more visibility for our kids who can play at the highest level,” Simpson said. “It is not about us, it is not about one particular club, it’s about players and player development and that is what we want to provide for this area.”
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