Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

November 2017


US Club Soccer Puts Focus on Player Safety

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By Dave Ramont

US Club Soccer is a National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, made up of nearly 6,000 youth clubs across the country, boasting an impressive 500,000 participants and 70,000 registered coaches. And while they offer a variety of services, programming and resources, they believe that their most important responsibility is ensuring the health and safety of every young soccer player.

With this in mind, US Club Soccer launched the Players First initiative at Nike headquarters in August 2015, which is anchored by its five pillars: Club Development, Player Development, Coaching Development, Player Health & Safety, and Parent Engagement & Education. Players First is a branded, holistic club soccer experience for players and parents that aims to assist every member in reaching their full potential.

To reach this goal, US Club Soccer has formed partnerships with experts in the areas of the five pillars, offering best-in-class educational resources and injury management platforms. Besides Nike, these partners include LaLiga, Fit For 90, FIFA 11+, Beast Mode Soccer, Positive Coaching Alliance, Player's Health, Soccer Parenting Association, SoccerPrep, TopYa, Sports Session Planner, Sideline Sports Doc, and World Football Academy.

Fit For 90 is the official player monitoring system of US Club Soccer, and is also used by Major League Soccer (MLS) teams and the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), along with thousands of youth and college athletes. According to Fit For 90, about 70 percent of youth soccer injuries are preventable. They believe that overuse and non-contact injuries can be prevented using science-driven technology to track player readiness, muscle soreness and training loads.

FIFA 11+ is a 20-minute warmup program proven to reduce injuries and the severity of injuries. And since the equipment needed is typically already present in practice situations, such as soccer balls and cones, it is free to utilize.

Through its various platforms, the Soccer Parenting Association can provide support, education and resources to parents of youth soccer athletes, helping them to excel both on and off the soccer field. Sideline Sports Doc is a scalable training program, which educates coaches with products designed to improve their on-field triage of key injury situations.

Beast Mode Soccer has partnered with US Club Soccer to launch the Players First Video Training Series, which assists players in effectively training on their own. LaLiga provides new coaching educational resources and player development opportunities to Players First clubs, coaches and players. And Players Health is a mobile app that connects parents, coaches and healthcare providers by mobilizing youth athlete health records.

The vision of US Club Soccer is to be the finest soccer organization in America and an integral part of U.S. National Team success. And they believe that each partner is an important part of achieving and maintaining this goal.