Sounders FC Soccer Programs has announced a new partnership with Bellevue United FC, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen community ties and develop well-rounded individuals, to elevate player development at the grassroots level. Known as Club Development Program, this initiative seeks to impact player development at the youngest age groups to holistically increase the quality of soccer throughout the region.
Bellevue United FC is a non-profit organization that offers expansive soccer programming at both the Rec (ages 5-18) and Select (10-18) levels for both boys and girls. With over 75 rec teams, BUFC plays a massive role in developing the future stars of soccer in Washington state. Many of the coaches are parent volunteers, so the partnership with Sounders FC addresses the need for coaching education and curriculum development at the youngest age groups in the game.
“Bellevue United FC is honored and excited to be partnering with Sounders FC,” said BUFC board member Phil Crocker. “We are delighted to be working alongside the professional coaching staff at the Youth Academy to deliver a quality Rec soccer experience at our club as well as pioneer this new program for the benefit of other clubs on the Eastside and across the region.”
Research has shown that the ages of 5-12 are critical for developing certain traits, such as technical ability and an inherent understanding of tactics. Given that official USSDA competition only begins at the U-12 level, club partnerships enable the Sounders Academy staff to share its methodology, curriculums and philosophies on development with coaches and players to address the gaps in the pathway to the professional level.
“It’s so important that we enable our Rec coaches with knowledge and proven teaching techniques to develop individual and team skills – via a repertoire of tools that ultimately build confidence through professional support, planning and guidance,” said Crocker. “Our goal is to inspire coaches and their teams to nurture their talents and a fuller appreciation of the game. Sounders FC brings the level of experience and know-how required to ensure that Rec soccer at Bellevue United is a terrific experience for parents and players alike.”
In addition to using training sessions carefully crafted by Sounders Soccer Programs and Academy staff, BUFC coaches will receive additional training focused on developing technical skills and soccer intelligence. The methodology that the Rec coaches will use is extremely important as well. By using Club Development Program curriculum that was designed based on the Sounders Academy training philosophy and methodology, BUFC will develop technical, creative and problem-solving soccer players. Even if they never make into the full Academy, these players will raise the overall quality of soccer in Washington state.
“The future stars of the MLS and the US national teams can be the Eastside Youth Rec and Select players of today, building the individual technical and tactical skills that translate into the methods used at the highest levels of the sport through structured programs,” said Crocker. “It’s terrific to see Sounders Academy’s recent success in winning the Youdan Trophy, that is a testament to the quality of the coaching delivered and the underlying systems employed.”
Under the umbrella of the Eastside Youth Soccer Association, Bellevue United can offer quality training and player development to a key local market.
The final important aspect of this partnership is the increased scouting and player identification at the youngest age groups. If a seven-year-old kid is excelling at BUFC, he or she can advance to the full club level with Eastside FC, an official youth-club partner of Sounders FC. From there, the player can progress to the Eastside FC Academy program, Sounders Discovery Program, Reign Academy and eventually, the full US Soccer Development Academy.
Using the Sounders Academy methodology and training sessions will increase the holistic quality of player development in the region. By easing the transition for elite players from the Rec level to the Sounders youth system, the club increases the chances of the next Jordan Morris pulling on the Rave Green jersey and playing at CenturyLink Field.