The train just keeps on rolling. All aboard! SoccerNation is spotlighting youth clubs from all over these United States of America. Powered by socc
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 up, we head to the desert, the “Gateway to the Sonoran Desert” to be exact. We’re off to Scottsdale, Arizona, a city just outside of Phoenix that is right in the midst of a glorious upswing in the strength of its soccer community. We talked with Chris Brown, the Executive Director of Scottsdale Soccer.
Brown, an Englishman who has found a true home in the great wide opens of the American Southwest, spoke all about the budding soccer culture of Arizona, and how the history of Scottsdale Soccer has the organization on the pulse of all that’s going on in the area. Brown discussed what the addition of rebranded USL side Phoenix Rising has meant to the local soccer community, and shared his thoughts on the current state of American youth soccer.
Last but definitely not least, Brown showed love to some of his own personal footballing icons, a portion of the conversation with an unmistakable North London tone.
Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): Chris, thanks for joining us.
Chris Brown (Scottsdale Soccer): Thank you for having me. Glad to be here.
Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): So first off, tell us a little about your club and the area your club calls home. Tell us a little about what makes the engine of Scottsdale Soccer run smoothly, and the role you play.
Chris Brown (Scottsdale Soccer): Scottsdale Soccer is 30 years old. It was originally established as Arcadia Scottsdale United Soccer Club. The Club started operating under Scottsdale Soccer ten years ago, with our Recreation division serving 3,500 members and our competitive division, the Blackhawks, serving 1,500 members.
The epicenter of our club is Scottsdale and that is where our offices are located, but we draw from all across the metropolitan area of Phoenix.
We have an incredible community in the club, comprised of a dynamic board that empowers our Executive Team. As the Executive Director, my role is to deliver the strategic direction and the overall operations of the club.
Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): Tell us some more about the history of Scottsdale Soccer. You say it was founded three decades ago, and the organization and its makeup have gone through some change in that time. What do you see as some of the club’s most important moments or events over the years?
Chris Brown (Scottsdale Soccer): Scottsdale Soccer was founded 30 years ago, but the club is progressive and dynamic in its approach to change. Scottsdale Soccer is constantly seeking opportunities to improve the experience for every player. There have been some very important moments over the years. Some that come to mind:
The founding of the Blackhawks Max Schacknai Invitational Tournament
The establishment of this tournament occurred over five years ago, and we soon saw it make a rapid rise and evolve into one of the premier soccer tournaments in the Southwest, both in terms of volume and in terms of excellence.
Scottsdale Soccer Office
Based in the Pima Center of the 101, the Scottsdale Soccer Office centralized operations, providing a base for us to go about expanding the club’s growth.
College Advisory Program
The College Advisory Program (CAP) focuses on our High School aged players. It is designed to show them that there is a place to play for every single player. Our commitment to having a full time staff member to drive this interest to our players, has been incredibly beneficial to our growth as a club and organization, as well as being extremely beneficial to the players themselves.
The Scottsdale Soccer Executive Team
We are very fortunate to have a Board that empowers an Executive Team and Directors of Coaching, to strategically move Scottsdale Soccer in a positive and progressive direction.
The club established a Partner Program five years ago, and we now have eight partners that provide support to Scottsdale Soccer. Our competitive title partner, Apogee Physicians, headed by Dr. Gregory has been an incredible asset to the club.
Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): In kind of bouncing off some of these landmark and important moments for Scottsdale Soccer, what have been some of the most important ways in which you’ve seen the club and its community and culture grow over the years?
Chris Brown (Scottsdale Soccer): The strategic direction of this club is to simply put the best coaching staff in the best facilities available, and to truly engage the soccer community. This simple strategy has seen our recreation participation increase over the last five years by 40%, and our Blackhawks participation has tripled. There is a real thirst within our coaching staff to always do better and to do better for our players. This, I feel, is one of the main things that sets us apart from the other organizations in the state of Arizona and in the Southwest.
Nate Abaurrea (SoccerNation): As it stands right now, here in 2017, what would you say are some of your club’s biggest strengths?
Chris Brown (Scottsdale Soccer): Our biggest strength is our coaching staff. We take pride in what we provide for our players, and that is top notch coaching and an incredible playing experience.
Our strength is in providing a playing platform and soccer experience for every child, whatever the age and whatever the ability – from recreation to the elite level player.
I’d have to say that our rising strength is the ability of our elite boys and girls teams to compete nationally. We have been successful in the various league and tournament platforms we’ve taken part in, and in getting players called into US Soccer representative player pools.
We are also incredibly well managed, both organizationally and financially – our Board of Directors are great stewards of the club, and certainly a strength of ours as well.
(Stay tuned to SoccerNation.com for the next edition of our Club Spotlight Series, powered by soccerloco, Part 2 of our conversation with Chris Brown of Scottsdale Soccer, complete with nods to Phoenix Rising and some legends of the English game.)