IRVINE, Calif. (December 20, 2017) – Orange County SC and Keisuke Honda’s company, Soltilo, are pleased to announce that Honda's company has become an investor in the USL club. The investment in Orange County SC is the first step in a comprehensive partnership in which the two organizations will jointly focus on a number of projects including youth player development, tournaments, camps and travel exchange programs. In addition to the Press Conference scheduled for December 29th at the Great Park in Irvine, CA, Keisuke Honda and Orange County SC will jointly host clinics each year at the Great Park in Irvine with Keisuke Honda in attendance. Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks.
Honda, 31, has been a key contributor this season for Liga MX side C. F. Pachuca. The Japanese international joined the Mexican club in the summer of 2017 and tallied 6 goals and 1 assist in 18 matches, which include appearances at the Club World Cup. Honda had spent the previous 8 years at AC Milan and CSKA Moscow at the club level and has also been the key player for Japanese National team during the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Off the field, Honda has conducted soccer camps around the world as UN Foundation’s Global Advocate for Youth with the goal of providing opportunities for children and supported the start-up community as an angel investor. His efforts as an entrepreneur have led to a fellowship at the MIT Media Lab.
“We could not be more excited to have the opportunity to join forces with an incredible professional soccer player, philanthropist and human being like Keisuke Honda. Orange County SC and Soltilo share a common vision of the power of soccer to help young men and women reach their full potential on and off the field,” said Orange County SC Owner & President, James Keston.
Soltilo is a global organization with ownership stakes in three professional soccer clubs and over 4000 students in its youth soccer program. The partnership with Orange County Soccer Club will provide Soltilo’s affiliated teams access to a highly competitive youth academy structure and a clear pathway to the USL and beyond to the highest levels of professional soccer around the globe. Orange County Soccer Club has recently hired coaching legend Frans Hoek to oversee all academy operations, and Hoek’s leadership and experience will elevate the youth development program to a level that few clubs can match. Hoek has worked at the pinnacle of soccer with a resume that includes FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, AFC Ajax and most recently with the Dutch National Team.
“I’m extremely excited about the new partnership between our organization and Orange County. I’m frequently asked, “why the United States?” and “why now”? My answer is clear,” said Keisuke Honda. “First, children in the United States have more potential than players in any advanced soccer nation. The United States will become a soccer powerhouse. Second, the United States unfortunately missed their opportunity to play in this World Cup and the next opportunity is 2022. We look at this situation optimistically as an opportunity to develop the youth system with Orange County. There are two projects we would like to accomplish as a first step. First, in order to discover and develop talent, we would like to put on an international tournament at the Great Park. Finally, we would like to create an international exchange and internship program in Orange County. We look forward to making Orange County the international hub for youth development.”