SoccerNation Club Spotlight: Laguna United FC (Part 1)


SoccerNation Club Spotlight: Laguna United FC (Part 1)

The train just keeps on rolling. All aboard! SoccerNation is spotlighting youth clubs from all over these United States of America. Powered by socc

SoccerNation Club Spotlight: Laguna United (Part 2)
SoccerNation Club Spotlight: Valley Center Hurricanes
SoccerNation Club Spotlight: San Diego Soccer Club

The train just keeps on rolling. All aboard!

SoccerNation is spotlighting youth clubs from all over these United States of America. Powered by soccerloco, the SoccerNation Club Spotlight Series has already taken us all around Southern California and to some very special soccer spots across this great country. From the Hawaiian Islands to the Eastern Seaboard, we are on a mission to showcase the people and organizations helping to build the future of the beautiful game.

Next, we head up to the rolling hills of Orange County, Laguna Niguel to be exact. Our own Nate Abaurrea spoke with Grant Nadell, the Vice President of Communications at Laguna United FC.

Here’s Part 1 of the conversation.

Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): Grant, thanks for joining us. Looking forward to talking all about Laguna United and the club’s role in our American Soccer scene.

Grant Nadell (Laguna United): Good to be here, Nate.

Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): First off, tell us a little about the area your club calls home.

Grant Nadell (Laguna United): Absolutely! The name “Laguna Niguel” is derived from the Spanish word “Laguna,” which means lagoon, and the word “Nigueli,” which has a number of meanings, including hills.

Still to this day, over one-third of Laguna Niguel is designated as open space. This significant amount of open space is one of the key features defining the character and urban form of the city.

Laguna Niguel has 2 community parks, 23 neighborhood parks, 3 mini-parks, 1 dog park, 2 county regional parks, 2 small county parks and the new Laguna Niguel Skate & Soccer Park.

The weather is excellent due to the proximity to the ocean. Our Winters are kept warmer than average and our Summers are kept cooler than average by the ocean.

Laguna Niguel is composed of mostly families headed by successful professionals. The culture is fairly laid back, surf and sports centric, with a focus on education and good values.

Laguna Niguel is home to numerous outstanding young athletes. Not only does that drive a high level of competition within the LUFC ranks, but we find many Laguna Niguel youth players also playing for surrounding club organizations as well. Baseball, volleyball, skating, tennis and golf are also very popular sports amongst the Laguna Niguel residents. As people say, practice makes perfect. With the sports mentioned about, whether it would be skating or undertaking tennis lessons, this will help improve your skills if you one day aim to become a professional in this field.

Nate Aaurrea (SoccerNation): Tell us a little more about the history of your club, which was founded in 2012. What do you see as some of its most important moments thus far?

Grant Nadell (Laguna United): Laguna United Football Club was the result of a merger between Real Laguna and Laguna Niguel Soccer Club in February of 2012 and the club forms the competitive arm of LNYSA.

Laguna Niguel Youth Soccer Association was originally set up by six volunteers who had a vision in mind for a dynamic locally managed organization built to provide a superior soccer experience for Laguna Niguel children ages 4 – 19. These six volunteers were quickly followed by 34 other volunteers, forming the LNYSA Board – and collectively they share a passion for the game of soccer and a strong desire to run a “player centric” program that promotes the game in a fun and safe environment.

The club has 35 total teams between the Boys and Girls programs. Several of the teams play at the Tier 1 level and one of those teams, Boys 2004 Blue, were champions of their Fall season bracket while another of our Tier 1 teams was runner-up. We had two Tier 3 teams win their respective brackets in Fall season as well. Beyond the league Fall season, many of the teams have won or placed in the assorted regional tournaments that take place year round, including our youngest girls team winning the State Cup Championship.

LNYSA and LUFC are backed by The California Youth Soccer Association – South (Cal South Soccer) who manage Southern California for the United States Youth Soccer Association.

Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): What are some of the main ways in which you’ve seen Laguna United FC grow over the last few years?

Grant Nadell (Laguna United): Constant focus on improving the quality and experience of our players and players families has resulted in a growing number of players joining the program each year. As we add more players, we have added more teams to accommodate. Beyond growing in sheer numbers, our teams continue to develop, in terms of their skills, tactics and teamwork preparing them to play at more and more competitive levels.

Word of mouth can be a very powerful recruitment tool and the club has witnessed year over year improvement in attracting better and better local talent, that in years past may have joined another club program in this area. Kids are talking to kids, parents to parents, that we have something very special at LUFC, something that few organizations are going to be able to replicate.

The Board of Directors is extremely pro-active, aligned, and of the mindset that they want to provide the best option for playing club soccer for players and parents alike. Our Coaches have deep passion and appreciation for the game, as well as a true respect for our players and each other. Most importantly, they always put player development ahead of personal and team achievement and it shows.

One last big change worth mentioning is that we recently named a gentleman by the name of Sam Nicholson to lead the organization as our new Director of Coaching. We are very excited by this appointment because Sam not only brings a wealth of knowledge of the game of soccer to LUFC, but he is also an outstanding teacher of the game. Moreover, Sam has significant passion for our players, teams, club and future. We are thrilled to have him leading the organization and expect many great things from him into the future.

Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): Tell us about your Cal South Girls’ State Cup teams, and how much your club has focused on the growth of the women’s game?

Grant Nadell (Laguna United): Over the last three years, two of our newer LUFC girls’ teams emerged from LNYSA’s Signature Soccer Program to win Girls Under 9 State Cup Championships. The organization’s G2005 Blue and G2008 Blue teams have each taken home a State Cup Championship trophy and both teams were coached by LUFC’s Ryan Ruggerello.

Coach Ryan is a product of the local CalSouth club soccer scene, having played for the Irvine Strikers as a child and for the University of Irvine as a young adult.

The LUFC Board of Directors has definitely made it a priority to further develop the girls side of the club program. We expect to field at least one or more Tier 1 teams on the women’s side.

(Stay tuned to for more in our Club Spotlight Series, powered by soccerloco, including Part 2 of our conversation with Grant Nadell of Laguna United FC.)