Players First


Put simply, Players First is a philosophy to help make the youth soccer culture more nurturing and holistic in the way it measures and values each player’s experience.

Players First serves to replace the win-at-all-costs culture of youth soccer by encouraging clubs to adopt the Players First philosophy. As a result, parents will have a way to properly identify and measure the appropriate environment for their children’s development.

In order to help members adopt the Players First philosophy, US Club Soccer is providing a suite of best-in-class resources which add value to clubs, coaches, parents and players.


  • Club Development: Soccer clubs are the foundation on which American soccer will maximize growth and long-term success on the field. Players First provides an array of resources to aid in the growth and development of clubs.
  • Coaching Development: Clubs should encourage their coaches to continually seek out new educational opportunities, and Players First provides resources to help coaches to grow.
  • Player Development: Players First provides tools to clubs and coaches to encourage their players to individually invest in their own development.
  • Parent Engagement & Education: Players First provides a framework for parents to understand how to value their child’s soccer experience, replacing the reliance on match outcomes, which has served to hinder proper player development methodology.
  • Player Health & Safety: Players First provides resources to help clubs and coaches better ensure the health and safety of their players.


Players First will be the foundation upon which US Club Soccer achieves its mission to help soccer clubs throughout the United States create the best possible development environment for players of all ages.

Players First is a brand that reassures parents that their child is playing at a club which is committed to a holistic approach to the player and parent experience.

Players First provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace to those clubs which adopt its philosophy.

Players First provides best-in-class resources to clubs to help coaches continue to develop professionally throughout their careers.

Players First provides value to member clubs which they could not achieve on their own.

“We’re on a mission to change the sport. In order to achieve our mission, we need a vision, courage, enthusiasm, resilience and a plan. The reason we should be attempting to embrace a Players First philosophy is not because it will be easy, but because it will be hard. I believe with a shared mission, we can accomplish this.”
– Kevin Payne, US Club Soccer CEO (August 2015)