IRVINE, Calif. (December 29, 2017) – The pathway to professional soccer in Southern California opened another chapter as Soltilo FC and Orange County SC announced a wide-ranging partnership in a press conference held today at the Championship Soccer Stadium at the Orange County Great Park. The partnership will focus on solidifying Orange County as the premier youth soccer development community in the United States and on reaching out to the extensive Asian-American communities of Orange County and the surrounding areas. Orange County SC will provide youth soccer players in the Soltilo network in Southern California and its five youth academies around the globe with a direct pathway to play professional soccer in the USL and beyond.
“Southern California has historically been among the largest providers of players to both US National Teams and Major League Soccer,” said Orange County SC General Manager and Executive Vice President Oliver Wyss. “The union of our two organizations will create a magnet for youth soccer talent in a region with a population of nearly 12 million people – perhaps the largest number of youth soccer players anywhere in the United States, each with an eye towards becoming the next Christian Pulisic, Landon Donovan or even Keisuke Honda.”
The two clubs will partner in numerous development projects, including the identification of domestic and foreign soccer talent with financial incentives to be shared by Soltilo FC and Orange County SC. Orange County SC is committed to partnering with all youth clubs in Orange County and Southern California to ensure that the benefits of elite youth player development are shared between the professional club and the amateur youth clubs.
In addition, Orange County SC and Soltilo FC have created a commercial partnership for Japanese and other Asian corporations seeking sponsorship and product development opportunities in Southern California’s wealthiest and most desirable markets, with opportunities available in both Professional and Youth Soccer. Further, the two organizations will host clinics each year with Keisuke Honda in attendance and partner on elite youth club tournaments. The clinics and youth tournaments will take place at the Great Park in Irvine, CA. The first tournament is scheduled for July 15-16, 2018, with enrollment beginning in early 2018.
“I am so excited about soccer in Orange County and about this partnership,” said Keisuke Honda. “We spent a long time looking for the right partner that shares our values and is committed to the common vision of the power of soccer to help young men and women reach their full potential on and off the field. When I came here this summer to train, I knew we found our perfect match in Orange County SC.”
The affiliated youth teams of Soltilo will employ the same tactical game approach as the professional USL team, playing the Orange County SC way as developed under the technical guidance of Orange County SC Technical Director Frans Hoek, a European coaching legend with decades of coaching experience at FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, AJAX, and the Dutch National Team.