A Perfect Match

By Lovin’ Life staff

Youth soccer collaborating with FC Tucson

Southern Arizona’s largest and most competitive youth soccer programs, Tucson Soccer Academy (TSA) and Tanque Verde Soccer Club (TVSC), have partnered with Tucson’s Premier Development League team, FC Tucson, to form FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club.

TSA and TVSC’s merger was prompted by the two organizations’ desire to provide an exceptional soccer experience for youth players of all ages and abilities. The partnership merged youth soccer clubs with Phoenix Rising FC, which owns Tucson’s Premier Development League team – FC Tucson. The merger provides southern Arizona soccer players with a direct path to professional soccer.

Pooling the resources of the two clubs allows FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club to build on the foundation of excellence already established by TSA and TVSC. For example, the merger expands the player pool for FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club’s competitive teams, improves the depth and expertise of its coaching staff, and makes FC Tucson an even stronger voice for soccer in Southern Arizona. The newly expanded organization can also take a giant step toward the goal of making youth soccer more affordable for every Tucson area boy and girl who wants to play.

For FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club President Ted Schmidt, who formerly held the same position at TSA, the merger is a major step in elevating youth soccer to higher level in southern Arizona.

“This is a monumental game-changer for the kids in Southern Arizona,” Schmidt says. “This marriage of leadership, coaching and resources will allow for superior recreational, developmental and competitive programs at lower costs as well as a more robust scholarship program. We will have Tucson’s largest recreational soccer program, while bringing Pima County’s most talented kids together on teams capable of competing beyond Arizona at the regional level. With Tucson’s best coaches, a fully equipped clubhouse and fitness center, and a dynamic association with Phoenix Rising FC and the University of Arizona Women’s Soccer program, we will take youth soccer to the next plateau in every way.”

Former TVSC President Garrett Rustand, who was instrumental in initiating the merger and bringing it to fruition, echoes Schmidt’s enthusiasm.

“This is an exciting time as two storied soccer clubs are coming together to elevate youth soccer in Southern Arizona,” says Rustand, who serves as FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club’s vice president.

Phoenix Rising FC has made recent steps to increase its presence in Tucson. Early in 2017, it signed an agreement with Cox Media to broadcast all its matches live in Tucson on YurView Arizona channels 7 and 1007 (for HD). Last fall, it acquired Premier Development League team FC Tucson and rights to own and operate the Mobile Mini Sun Cup MLS pre-season soccer tournament. Then, earlier this year, Phoenix Rising FC announced it would be launching a United Soccer League Division 3 professional soccer team in Tucson as early as 2019.

“Expanding our organization into youth soccer development is a critical step for the future of professional soccer in Arizona,” says Dr. Mark Leber, Phoenix Rising FC and FC Tucson Premier Development League team co-owner and Tucson native.

“My brothers and I grew up playing soccer in Tucson, and I have seen the growth and success of TSA and TVSC.  Seeing them merge and partner with our Premier Development League team, FC Tucson, gives me tremendous pride, knowing how many kids’ lives we can positively impact together in southern Arizona.”