FC Golden State’s Jimmy Nordberg and SC Blues Robbie Mulligan on Partnering For the Good of the Game
Southern California Premier Youth Soccer Clubs – So Cal Blues and FC Golden State – Join Together in Strategic Alliance
Youth Soccer News: In today’s every changing youth soccer landscape, two strong Southern California youth soccer clubs come together to maximize the potential for player development.
Two clubs, one a leading boys club, the other an exclusive girls club — each known for their expertise — decide to share intel, experience as they join together to create an innovative partnership.
It is always interesting to discover what motivates alliances and partnerships in today’s youth soccer world, so we interviewed FC Golden State’s Academy Director Jimmy Nordberg and SC Blues’ coach Robbie Mulligan to find out.
In simple terms, it is an alliance driven by mutual respect and the desire to learn and share — great motivation from top youth soccer industry leaders.
Diane Scavuzzo: As the Academy Director for Golden State, what can you share with us on the background of Golden State’s new partnership with the Blues?
Jimmy Nordberg: Our club is known for our Boys’ program. We’re highly competitive and we’ve produced good players. We are proud of our players who have become professionals, Diego Lopez and Kajana Banks with Atlanta United and Harold Hansen with Portland Timbers, as well as our many collegiate players like AJ Vasquez who is at UCLA and Ian Murphy at Duke.
We’ve had a big push to develop our girl’s side in a very difficult market — there’s a lot of clubs in our area that has dominated the girl’s side for years.
Obviously, the Blues do not have a boy’s side, and we saw an opening, met with their directors, met with their board, and it’s been a year plus of conversations.
We can help them and they can help us.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why do you believe the Blues have been so successful?
Robbie Mulligan: We have been very fortunate to attract high-quality players over the past 29 years. It is the quality of players that have represented the Blues and built our success.
We will be forever grateful for those players who wear our lime and blue jerseys.
Through these years, we have had a great team of coaches who have navigated the youth soccer arena and its many challenges — and continue to deliver for our club.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why are you forming this partnership?
Robbie Mulligan: Our Blues Board and leadership believe our alliance with FCGS is a positive step for our organization. We see great synergy in working with a top program like FCGS that has similar values and tremendous experience in the youth soccer world in Southern California.
Diane Scavuzzo: How is it going to work?
Jimmy Nordberg: We’re going to share players, curriculums, development plans —and work together as two organizations that are working as one. While we are keeping our own boards, we are approaching this with the attitude of …
“How can we make each other better?”
While the Blues are in ECNL, they are new to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, so hopefully, we can help guide them a bit and they are accomplished experts in the Girls soccer, we can learn from them. That’s what’s it really about.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the biggest benefit for the Blues?
Robbie Mulligan: The biggest benefits to the SC Blues is how this alliance is going to strengthen our business and soccer operations. FCGS has already shared invaluable knowledge on how to improve our business model as well as adding a new perspective on enhancing our coaching operations and our overall program.
It’s always beneficial to see how another club does things, especially a club like FCGS that has a very successful operation. We are looking forward to seeing how FCGS runs their academy program, as well as how they plan to stay ahead of the curve in the years to come.
Diane Scavuzzo: Golden State has a wonderful reputation for doing it right. One of the very few private youth soccer clubs that fully funds its Boys’ Academy and is not making it pay-to-play ….
Jimmy Nordberg: Thank you, we’re trying but it’s very difficult, as you know …. that’s what we want to do on the girls’ side. We want to be able to implement what we have done on the women’s side.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your plans for Golden State on the Girls side?
Jimmy Nordberg: We’re hoping to get a Girls’ DA in the Pasadena area and we believe we can do it very, very well in that area.
Diane Scavuzzo: Does that mean you would be competing with the Blues DA in the future?
Jimmy Nordberg: No, it would not be a competitive relationship because the distance between our two clubs is so great. It’s very difficult for players to go in either direction because we are approximately an hour and a half away and in traffic, it is usually a two and a half hour drive each way.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe your partnership with the Blues will bring to Golden State?
Jimmy Nordberg: Branding and notoriety, and that we’re serious about getting into the women’s game. We are even interested in getting the WPSL team to balance our USL2 team and PDL team on the men’s side.
Diane Scavuzzo: Very cool! SC Blues also has an outstanding reputation, why did the Blues select Golden State, as opposed to other clubs to partner with?
Robbie Mulligan: We feel FCGS and its leadership have similar values and are committed to youth soccer for the right reasons.
We believe we have partnered with good people who are genuinely interested in the growth of soccer in America.