SoCal Welcomes 15 “All-In” New Youth Soccer Clubs
The landscape in youth soccer is always changing but every few years there is a seismic shift, and one is happening in Southern California now. Nearly 38,000 Cal South competitive youth soccer players will now be part of the US Club Soccer world.
The Southern California Developmental Soccer League (SCDSL) has just announced today their new name, SoCal. This rebrand, which comes along with a cool new logo, is appropriate as the league has now become the largest youth soccer league in Southern California.
Officially the Southern California Soccer League, it will be referred to simply as SoCal, furthering its goal of centralizing the entire Southern California youth soccer landscape.
The clubs that join now will have the opportunity to play SoCal spring season with games starting March 20.
Youth soccer clubs must be join the SoCal league prior to Spring Registration closing on Sunday March 7th at midnight to be able to participate in the ten spring league games. Now, that youth soccer can finally be played in the State of California, more than 75% of the SoCal teams registered are expected to compete in the upcoming spring session.
It is the addition of 15 new member youth soccer clubs that is at the heart of this announcement.
- Barça Academy San Diego (Chula Vista, CA)
- City SC (Carlsbad, CA)
- Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks (San Diego, CA)
- Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club (Las Vegas, NV)
- East County Surf Soccer Club (La Mesa, CA)
- LA Bulls Soccer Club (Los Angeles, CA)
- Poway Vaqueros Soccer Club (Poway, CA)
- Rangers FC (Fullerton, CA)
- Rebels SC (Chula Vista, CA)
- San Diego Force FC (San Diego, CA)
- San Diego Real Madrid Elite (Chula Vista, CA)
- San Diego Soccer Club Surf (SDSC Surf – San Diego, CA)
- San Diego Surf (San Diego, CA)
- Santa Monica Surf (Santa Monica, CA)
- United SoCal (Los Angeles, CA)
SoCal plans to announce a second round of clubs joining in the coming weeks.
Pre COVID-19, there were an estimated 26,000 competitive youth soccer players from over 70 youth soccer clubs competing in SCDSL. Now, with the expansion into San Diego and beyond, and with 15 prestigious youth soccer clubs joining the league, SoCal has become the largest league in one of America’s top hot beds of player development.
“SoCal will have over 38,000 competitive youth soccer players, and that is a conservative number.”Michelle Chesters, SoCal’s Director of Operations
This historic and significant growth can be attributed to the well executed plans of those responsible for the league which was launched ten years ago by top coaches from legendary powerhouses who wanted to provide a better opportunity for player development. While defying critics who claimed coaches could not properly run a youth soccer league, SCDSL delivered on its promises and grew — increasing its sustainability and success with every season. It is conceivable that SoCal could reach 50,000 competitive players with additional clubs joining. Already, with the new youth soccer clubs that have aligned with SoCal, US Club is welcoming over 50,000 recreational players.
Originally with US Youth Soccer‘s Cal South state association, the league announced its move to US Club Soccer in 12/11/20 and will start playing under US Club sanctioning in fall 2021.
“We are excited to introduce our rebrand from the SCDSL to SoCal,” said Michelle Chesters, SoCal’s Director of Operations. “The new name reflects the collaboration we are striving for in the Southern California market by bringing together clubs under the SoCal banner.”
“We are now all part of SoCal soccer and, no matter where a club is from, we are unified in believing in the platform and programming.”Michelle Chesters, SoCal’s Director of Operations
Chesters was honored to be able to announce the first group of all-in clubs that support the SoCal vision. “These teams are going to be wonderful, highly competitive additions to the league. Welcome to the new era of youth soccer that is SoCal,” said Chesters. “Yesterday we had a 100 new teams apply in addition to the 15 youth soccer clubs that have chosen to join us.”
Why are clubs moving to SoCal? What are a few of the differences? Here are a few:
- SoCal will hold its state cup competition at Silverlakes in Norco, So Cal Sports Complex in Oceanside and Surf Sports Park in Del Mar. The costs will be lower than to participate than in Cal South’s State Cup, plus teams are guaranteed a minimum of 5 games.
- The champion of Southern California will take on the NorCal champion to crown a US Club California State Champion, with the team advancing to the US Club Soccer National Cup Series.
- The cost of registering a player will also be lower than Cal South’s 2020/21 registration fees, with a dramatic $6.25 savings per recreational player.
- SoCal’s Board of Directors and its Technical Committee are all volunteers elected by the membership and receive no compensation.
- In addition, The Coaching Manual, which provides resources and tools for coaches, will be available to all clubs at no charge.
Along with Chesters, Real So Cal‘s Alberto Bru spoke at a recent Zoom presentation on the benefits of clubs choosing to join SoCal and was proud of the many changes coming to Southern California.
FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Olympic gold and silver medalist Shannon Mac Millan is the longtime director of the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Soccer Club. With years of experience both as a leader on the soccer field as player as well as a coach and club Executive Director, Mac Millan is enthusiastic regarding the opportunity. “The Sharks are excited to be moving all in to SoCal and US Club,” said Mac Millan who was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame for her accomplishments. “SoCal continues to be a leader in the game and we’re excited they are now bringing all of these opportunities to the San Diego area.”
US Club Soccer’s mission is to foster the growth and development of soccer clubs throughout the country and is proud of their Players First program which emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential.
“SoCal isn’t just about the big clubs with the national platforms,” said Chesters. “Clubs such as San Diego Force, Poway Vaqueros, LA Bulls, Rangers FC, Downtown LVSC, San Diego Real Madrid and United SoCal, are joining SoCal because of the national opportunities we are offering through the Discovery NPL and through the US Club National Cup Series and we expect to offer more opportunities and expanded pathways to our members over the next few years.”
“We believe that this is a giant step in connecting the SoCal market, along with strengthening the State of CA, which is the intent behind the new branding.”Michelle Chesters, SoCal’s Director of Operations
“We’ve already made a huge step in that direction by collaborating with NorCal on a CA State Championship and the joint College Showcase events. We really have no doubt that things will continue to get better and better for the clubs and players that are on this exciting journey with us,” said Chesters.
“Joining US Club Soccer and SoCal in this endeavor provides us a multitude of programming opportunities and this rebrand will only enhance our dedication to bringing soccer in Southern California together,” said Bob Turner, SoCal – San Diego Executive Director.
Turner stepped down as President of Cal South on February 12, 2020 and also resigned as Executive Director of San Diego Presidio Soccer League shortly thereafter to join SCDSL stating, ” I would not be doing this if I did not whole-heartedly believe that this is what is best for the clubs in San Diego. Joining US Club Soccer and the SCDSL will benefit everyone and I truly believe that the San Diego market deserves the opportunities available through the new programming and that the clubs and players will thrive and prosper from this.”
“By working together, we have the potential to be the gold standard of youth soccer in the country.”Bob Turner, SoCal – San Diego Executive Director
Turner has consistently worked to better Southern California youth soccer and has been involved in the sport for nearly 30 years.
“US Club Soccer and the NPL are proud to welcome these clubs under the new SoCal brand,” said Leo Garcia, NPL General Manager and US Club Soccer VP of Competitions. “We commend SoCal for creating such an inclusive and competitive environment for all Southern California clubs and their families.”
Quotes from the new SoCal member clubs:
Manuel Morandi, Barça Academy San Diego Executive Director: “Barça Academy San Diego is excited to be joining SoCal. Nationally, we have had great experiences through US Club Soccer competitive platforms and are confident that this league will be a great success for the benefit of the clubs, families, coaches and, most importantly, the players. The development and education of youth players is our top priority, and we are happy to be joining a league that shares this mission to help boys and girls become the best footballers they can while learning values to help them grow as individuals.”
Steve Cowell, City SC Technical Director: “City SC Carlsbad are excited to be a part of the new San Diego division of SoCal at all levels. We are looking forward to working with the league and the other clubs locally to enhance the game day environment and overall experience for our players.”
Shannon Mac Millan, Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Executive Director: “The DMCV Sharks are excited to go all-in with SoCal and US Club Soccer. As a club that has long had a sense of pride in being a community-based organization with decisions made in the best interest of our players, this feels like a great fit. We have long appreciated SoCal and the focus on player development and look forward to the opportunities the comprehensive programming will present ALL of our players. SoCal continues to stay at the forefront of the game and this next step with US Club Soccer is a game-changer. We look forward to what lies ahead and the continued growth of this incredible game.
Gary Soresman, Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club Executive Director: “It’s exciting that our teams will play a great schedule of competitive games against top-quality competition. Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club is proud to be part of SoCal.”
Jason Aldous, East County Surf Soccer Club Director of Coaching & Player Development: “We are excited with the direction SoCal is headed and are looking forward to being involved.”
Mele French, LA Bulls Club Director: “The LA Bulls are excited to join SoCal. We believe the new SoCal structure will provide more opportunities for our players, coaches and club operations while maintaining the true quality of player development.”
Lev Kirshner, Poway Vaqueros Soccer Club Executive Director: “The Poway Vaqueros Soccer Club (PVSC) is very excited to be joining SoCal. This is a great opportunity for our club to raise its level, not only within the county of San Diego but throughout Southern California and nationally. We look forward to increasing our brand image while assisting in the same process with SoCal.”
Demian Brown, Rangers FC Director of Coaches: “We are extremely excited to be joining SoCal. It is our goal to provide our players, teams and families with the best soccer experience possible. We feel that SoCal will align us with the highest level of competition available. We look forward to a fresh start with this dynamic league.”
Ryan Marquez, Rebels SC Executive Director: “Rebels are extremely excited to be part of SoCal. We are looking forward to a fresh new direction and joint collaboration with so many great clubs to provide our players with the best posible developmental experience.”
Jose O’Campo, San Diego Force FC Director of Coaching: “SD Force FC is excited to be all-in with SoCal as it aligns with the player development pathways that the SCDSL league has created for our teams and club for the past 10 years. Our families will be able to benefit from local, regional and national competition all under one league platform which helps align the soccer culture within our club.”
Raul Gonzalez, San Diego Real Madrid President: “We are thrilled to join SoCal after peaking out on other leagues and competitions over the years. SoCal will help our players grow and develop and provide opportunities for players, coaches and player identification. We look forward to working with SoCal leadership and its members across Southern California.”
Peter Stogsdill, San Diego Soccer Club Surf Younger Girls Director of Coaching: “SDSC Surf is excited to be jumping all-in with SoCal and US Club Soccer. SoCal provides a progressive platform with great new innovations that will enhance the experience for our players. It is time for the direction of soccer in Southern California to be lead by those who are in the trenches and understand what needs to be done.”
Josh Henderson, San Diego Surf Senior Director of Coaching: “I was privileged to be a part of the formation of the SCDSL 10 years ago and from the inception of the league I realized the soccer qualities that it brings to the Southern California landscape. San Diego Surf is thrilled to be all-in with SoCal and I’m looking forward to working with all of the leadership and clubs in San Diego to provide a great local option for our players.”
Fabian Amezaga, Santa Monica Surf Girls Director of Coaching: “Santa Monica Surf is thrilled to be joining SoCal for the 2021 season. SoCal will provide an excellent platform for our players to compete against the top clubs in Southern California. Our players are excited to get back on the field and look forward to the opportunities the new SoCal will provide.”
David Thomas, United SoCal Director: “We are excited to be partnering with SoCal and bringing the best competition to our LA, South Bay and Orange County teams. Both organizations share the vision of providing a quality youth soccer environment which brings the best out of our players.”