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Youth Training and Competition

Building a Better Path

Navigating the soccer environment in Houston is challenging.  Soccer clubs are getting bigger and bigger and players are getting lost with all the different options.  For elite players, travel every weekend is the norm rather than the exception.  And much of this is across the country, involving significant investment. Playing up in age groups takes multiple levels of approval and can be frowned on by club management, despite the player desires and skills. Many area programs take the summer off, leaving players scrambling for summer programs to continue developing skills.  There is also continued conflict between playing club and school programs.  The resulting environment challenges overall skill development and often creating more questions than answers about not only the best path for players but also what may be the best way to go about following it. 

We have proposed a new way. One where holistic player development goals are prioritized, players are held accountable and supported in all areas of their lives, and where player growth is put first and foremost,  hoping to lead by example, and take steps everyday toward creating the best soccer culture within youth soccer in Houston.  

You may know us for our pre-professional USL League Two (formerly PDL) or UPSL teams.  In Fall 2018, we introduced “The Houston FC Factory” (high school and middle school-aged players), which has led to our latest growth, the commencement of Houston FC Youth teams, starting with the U15, U17, & U19s, beginning competition Fall 2024. 

We play developmental games locally.  We play fall, spring, and summer seasons.  We work alongside school programs as well, to allow our players to participate in school programs and still maintain a strong training program that keeps skill development as a focus during the winter season. We know there is strong local competition and we participate in a strong schedule that challenges our players without forcing multiple weekend trips every month.

We also play competitive, league, and tournament style games regionally/nationally. These leagues primarily are the USL Academy U20, UPSL Premier, UPSL Division 1, USL Super Y, USP Youth, and local youth leagues. Historically, we have traveled to showcases in Austin, TX and Raleigh, NC, in the fall, traveled to showcases in Orlando, FL, Tampa, FL and Dallas, TX in the winter, and entered Cup competition in the summer.  These games are meaningful because they bring together the highest levels of regional/national competition and games are played in front of coaches that represent strong collegiate programs that meet all levels of academic and campus profiles.

We play up – both with individual players and entire teams.  One thing on which high-level coaches universally agree, playing with and against older players makes our players better.  Our players gain confidence and improve their speed of play both mentally and physically.  When it is right to do so, our teams will play in higher age brackets than their rostered age to enhance access to that appropriate competitive level. Our expectations are that our players are always striving to play at the next level, whether that is youth competitive, collegiate, or professional.

We train during the summer.  Our USL League Two team trains in the morning during its May-July season.  Some USL players help in our evening youth Summer Training Program (“STP”).  Our HOUSTON FC Factory players will be training in STP or USL/UPSL for most of the summer.  Yes, there is time for recovery, recuperation, and family vacation – all of which are very important.  But, so is staying sharp and fit and on top of the skill development with available program opportunities.

We understand and work with the demands of high school soccer.  It is an important part of our players’ experience and we believe it provides a fun outlet. Our program does not shut down during the high school season, but rather we partner with the school teams and assist in recovery and preparation and specific skill development.  Nobody should have to choose one over the other because they are both important parts of a player’s joy of the game.

We have fun.  There is a time for work and a time for play. In a perfect environment, players can be doing both. Our training sessions are very active, passionate, and intense but players come off smiling after they put in a good shift. Our teams become family. Our families support each other and help bring the team together. Through shared adversity and teamwork to overcome that support grows and becomes inspiration for joy and hope. We understand the need to organize events and activities that include the whole team – the players and their families. It is important, and it is part of our vision.

We develop the whole player.  Players represent our brand and know that we are founded on Respect, Discipline, and Commitment.  We hold them to our high standards set to reflect our culture. We offer opportunities to hear and learn from guest speakers that support these lessons. We offer film sessions, college information programs, college experience speakers, professional player speakers, and lots of discussions that go along with the practice sessions.

We believe that players that want to play collegiately should engage in this developmental process.

Is it hard? Yes. 

Is it rewarding and worthwhile? Absolutely. 

Our system works because we work harder.