ANNUAL BOARD MESSAGE 2016

If a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, a journey to a lifelong love of soccer begins with a first touch of a ball, an initial understanding of teamwork, the thrill of a first goal, the joy of accomplishment. At Loudoun Soccer we work to develop champions for life, offering our players of all ages a path to growth and development on and off the field.

Our three and four year-old Mini players build a foundation in fun, and more than 3,800 of our youngest players took the field in 2016. Our Recreational program served over 5,100 kids from the ages of five to 19, supported by more than 1,200 volunteer coaches, age group directors, and area commissioners. We offer several paths in the game to players who want new opportunities, from Challenge and All-Star programs for Rec players, to developmental academies for U7 and U8 boys and girls, to more than 85 travel teams from U9 to U19. All told, more than one in six Loudoun County youth between the ages of three and 19 participate in Loudoun Soccer programs each year.

We were extremely proud and honored in 2016 to field our first boys U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams, partnering with D.C. United and Arlington Soccer to offer a unique developmental experience to U12 and U14 players.

Loudoun Soccer’s competitive programs have been on a steep growth trajectory of late, as our nine Virginia State Cup titles in the past three years attest. In 2016, that growth culminated in July, as the 99 Red Boys squad defeated Dix Hills (NY), 1-0 in Frisco, Texas to earn the Club’s first-ever National Championship. Our 98 Boys Red team were runners-up in their age group at the same tournament. On an individual level, Sam Golan and Colin Shutler both represented the United States as members of the U19 U.S. Men’s National Team in international competition. Currently, more than 40 Loudoun Soccer alumni play collegiate soccer with over 20 current athletes committed to play at the next level, and alumna Whitney Church just started in the National Women’s Soccer League championship game for the Washington Spirit.

As noteworthy as that on-field success may be, we’re equally proud of the fact that Loudoun Soccer is the largest youth employer in the county, with more than 200 kids serving as referees and working at Loudoun Soccer Park. We’re the only Club in the region with a Junior Board of Directors, giving high school-aged players an opportunity to develop leadership skills while supporting our strategic planning and operational efforts. Our TOPSoccer program offers developmentally disadvantaged children the chance to enjoy soccer, exercise, and connect with others, while at the same time providing an impactful volunteer experience for our youth players and teams. And Loudoun Soccer teams took the initiative in 2016 to support a wide range of charitable organizations, including Team Mathias, Habitat for Humanity, Leveling the Playing Field, as well as numerous mission trip donations.

While we reflect upon our Club’s success and growth over the past several years, we recognize that the youth sports landscape continues to change, and understand that our continued progress requires us to address challenges while embracing opportunities. In terms of the former, we continue to be constrained by the fact that the supply of quality field space in Loudoun County is insufficient to the demand for field access. And from the perspective of opportunity, we firmly believe in maximizing the access all kids in Loudoun County have to high-quality sports and development programs – we’re committed to expanding our financial aid program to enable more kids to develop as champions, on and off the field.

Both of those major priorities – increasing access to quality fields, and expanding our financial assistance programs – require funding. As Club members, you’ve been extremely generous in supporting our fundraising activities. We’re grateful for that, and we hope that you’ll continue to show your support. Whether attending our second annual Loudoun Soccer Ball Gala on November 19 (https://loudounsoccer.ejoinme.org/tickets), considering a sponsorship, donating through your employer’s charitable gift matching program, connecting our Sponsorship and Development staff with your employer’s Corporate Social Responsibility/Giving team, or volunteering in an advisory or leadership role on one of our Board committees, anything you can do helps us build on our solid foundation.

Our journey in soccer began nearly 40 years ago, and we’re hitting our stride as one of the most respected Clubs in the region, and increasingly, the nation. At Loudoun Soccer, we’re developing champions for life, and we can’t do that without your support. Please contact our Executive Director, Chris Pittman, at chris.pittman@loudounsoccer.com to learn how you can impact the Club, and we’ll see you on the field in 2017.

– Loudoun Soccer Board of Directors