Putting Players First
Soccer in the US has been undergoing radical transformation to raise the level of the game, fueled by the game’s increasing popularity and greatly enabled by replicating best practices worldwide. No matter where you turn, you will see changes in youth soccer, many of which have been reinforced by US Soccer through its Development Academy where its initiatives are designed to improve player skill, intelligence, and health and safety.
Many of these changes are overdue, and we are encouraged that the changes put the safety and development of our youth players first, especially:
Shifting the emphasis to "individual player development over winning trophies and titles” (Winning, or having a good chance at winning, is an outcome of good player development.)
Optimizing the game-to-training ratio to ensure players get adequate rest, and playing fewer total, but more meaningful, games overall
Placing a greater emphasis on quality instruction and professional coaching at the youth level
The transition for Eastside FC has been straightforward as our philosophy, organization and curriculum incorporated many of these initiatives and ideals early on. Fortunately, we have always chosen to think longer term about player development and create opportunities for our players through to the highest levels. We take pride in the quality of our coaching, our strong links to Washington’s professional soccer community, the number of our players who move on to the college game and who get access to national team opportunities, and our history of developing youth players who play great soccer.
Helping players develop and grow
Winning is not a focus at the younger ages, nor should it be. We know that if players are developed and they’re having fun, then over time, in the later years, competitive success will follow. That has always been the case. We also know that kids can learn to be competitive, not measured in wins, but in how they approach every training and every game, a mindset that can translate to an intrinsic drive for success.
We are committed to building champions on the soccer field, as well as in life. Facing challenges through sport played competitively can teach enduring life lessons. Our job is to provide the resources and opportunities our players need to face them as they strive to improve along with their teams. Our commitment is to provide:
Quality, professional coaching
Access to the highest-levels of the youth game, coaches and resources, in our region, including access to competitive leagues, tournaments and training opportunities, to reinforce the skills the players are learning
A thoughtful, systems-based soccer curriculum that teaches our players an Eastside FC game plan and style of play from an early age that builds year over year
Opportunities for our teams and players to showcase their skills so those who are willing to put in the work can find opportunities at the next level of the game.
Supporting players every step of the way
The addition of the ECNL program completes Eastside FC player pathways by offering a series of soccer programs that provide girls an opportunity to move from Recreational soccer in their local community club to a full range of Premier soccer options at Eastside FC, culminating in a clear path to the next level of play through the ECNL, and even professional women’s soccer through integrated relationships with the Reign FC of the NWSL.
This model is mirrored on the boys side through our own ECNL teams and our existing partnership with Sounders FC.
Providing access and visibility to the highest levels of US Soccer and professional play, along with access to college search resources and visibility through college showcases, also serves players who have expectations of being able to play at all levels of the college game.