The future of American youth soccer is brighter with the recent announcement that Orange County SC of the United Soccer League (USL) 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. 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.
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.”
Surf Cup Sports is the premier youth sports event organization and in 2016 donated over $600,000 to youth sports and charitable organizations.