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CUSA is delighted to be licensed as a Players First Club

What is 'Players First'?

A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.

Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league and cup based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.

Players First is a branded, holistic club soccer experience for parents and players, which emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential, and helps parents make better choices about where their children should play.

The Players First license is created to differentiate clubs in the marketplace that are committed to, and currently provide, an exceptional player development experience through the proper facilitation of relationships with their coaches, parents and players.

Philosophical Commitments of a Players First Club

  • Players First represents our club’s commitment to placing the long-term interests of each individual player at the heart of every decision in structuring, operating, and managing our club.

  • Players First represents our club’s commitment to providing a holistic approach in player development for all of our players, recognising that the soccer experience must include lessons and opportunity both on the field and off.


  • Players First represents our club’s commitment as professionals in youth development to expect ongoing learning, education and development from all of our staff members in order to ensure that our players have the benefit of best-in-class information and resources in teaching and training young athletes.

  • Players First represents our club’s commitment to engage with and educate parents to help them understand and embrace the appropriate expectations and roles for them in their child’s overall soccer and athletic development experience.


A Q&A Session with our Club Director Paddy King

Question: Why did CUSA Soccer Club apply for Players First licensing?


Paddy King: We have a very strong DNA that runs deep throughout the club.


We do not have the resources of an MLS Development Academy but, and I can say this with my hand on my heart, we do the best for our players. All staff, and in particular the management staff, stay awake at night thinking of how to provide the best service in terms of player experience and player development to all of the young boys and girls in our club.


A big part of our ‘mission statement’ is that ‘Great Coaching equals Great Players’ and everything we do goes in to achieving this. 


So, the fact that there is an organisation, US Club Soccer, out there that understand this and is 100% in alignment with what we do, made it a very simple choice for us to apply for the licensing and seal of approval. 

Question: What does it mean for CUSA Soccer Club to now be an official Players First-licensed club?


Paddy King: It means a lot.We know how hard it is to be accepted and how rigorous the application process is.


It is very pleasing to be recognised by US Club Soccer because it allows us to show to our valued members that, even though we might not get everything right, we are doing the right thing 99% of the time and try to do things right 100% of the time when it comes to the development and welfare of their young players. 


On top of that there is obviously a bit of pride being one of the very first clubs accepted to the program. 


Question: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?


Paddy King: It shows a clear pathway to betterment. Other programs or initiatives might concentrate only on tangible and measurable targets such as getting as many players into the club as possible but with little regard to the process. 


This program, even in terms of the application, pushed us to better ourselves. The whole point of the program is to make our club better, so that the experience of the players is better.


It’s very hard to argue with that. 


Question: What would you like the parents of CUSA Soccer Club to know about what this means to them?


Paddy King: Really that, on the basic level, when you take as given that we always want to win, everything else about the fact that, as a club, we are always looking to improve their child's experience.


CUSA Coaches receive training and coach education from the top player development in the world.

One of the many benefits of being a 'Players First Club' is that our coaches have unlimited access to La Liga Formation Methodology. 


La Liga Formation Methodology courses outline the philosophy and methods used across La Liga, Spain's and the world's, top league, to train, develop and form some of the world’s top players.


The courses includes theory and practical sessions both on and off the field.


Topics include:

  • Methodological Foundations of Training

  • Structure of Training

  • Development of the Training Model

  • Training Tactical Concept

  • Training Technique

  • System Development and Strategy

  • Training Physical Elements

All of the coaching education from La Liga compliments and improves what CUSA already have in terms of our own in-house coach education as well as our Game Model. 

A video of what CUSA coaches can be expected to learn on La Liga coaching education courses.