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Central Connecticut Soccer Alliance

Central Connecticut Soccer Alliance

Mission and Vision

Central Connecticut Soccer Alliance has been formed by a group of people who have dedicated their adult lives to youth soccer in the cities of New Britain, Hartford, and East Hartford. We have seen first-hand the direct impact that a strong community-based soccer program can have on kids, families, and urban communities, and we are dedicated to bringing soccer, and all of the opportunities that come from playing it, to the children and young adults of our cities.

Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in America. At the youth level, popularity of the sport has surged. Today, U.S. Youth Soccer is the largest youth sports organization in the United States, and participation in youth soccer exceeds that of baseball, basketball, and football[1]. Driving the popularity is the active and exciting nature of the sport, the simple unrestrictive rules, dynamic play, relative safety, and low equipment needs. Positively, the numbers also reflect soccer’s unique status as a sport in which both men and women can participate equally -- and even together. Still, the game needs a sophisticated – and very expensive – space infrastructure that opens an actual gap of inequality based on the economic status of families and communities.

For communities, offering a competitive soccer program requires access to three fundamental but simple elements:

  • Coaching that is based on current soccer strategy, focused on individual player development, and skilled at engaging and inspiring youth 
  • Year-round training and competition with equal or higher-skill athletes 
  • Facilities and equipment that are safe and up-to-date

Fulfilling these needs has created a lucrative demand and, consequently, youth soccer has - particularly at the more competitive levels - largely migrated to a pay-to-play system. Adding the costs of the club’s tuition fees, uniforms and equipment, Winter seasons and travels to out-of-state tournaments, a family can pay up to $ 12,000 on soccer per child. Unsurprisingly, children with the means to do so have been drawn to expensive, year-round, elite soccer programs, while cities have struggled to make available these fundamental elements. As a result, soccer has flourished in suburban areas, but withered in urban centers. The unfortunate consequence is that city youth are being left out of the opportunity to participate competitively in one of America’s largest and highest-growth sports.

The consequence of this economic dynamic is that the so highly praised diversity has vanished in the soccer landscape in the United States. Unfortunately, soccer has become a sport for white economic elites in affluent suburban areas. This development goes against the reality of soccer in any other country of the world - and may also explain the struggles of the U.S. men’s national team. And yet, our urban areas often offer some of the most passionate, skilled, and creative players. Sadly, even when given well-intentioned opportunities to play on suburban teams, urban players often feel out-of-place, unwelcome, or constrained when their style of play doesn’t fit with that of a structured program.

We have decided to overcome this gap in the Hartford area. The Central Connecticut Soccer Alliance combines resources from Hartford, East Hartford, and New Britain, as well as Central Connecticut State University to collectively make competitive soccer available and accessible to underserved youth in our region. By consolidating coaches, facilities, equipment, and players, and tapping into community and university support, we will provide the youth of our cities the opportunity to play and compete at high-level soccer in a setting that builds in them the confidence, knowledge, and skills to advance to college and beyond.

With soccer as the catalyst, the Alliance will bring together youth from the three cities and the surrounding area in a program that expands outwardly from athletics to include support for the development of essential skills in academics, fitness and nutrition, emotional intelligence, leadership, college readiness, and career planning.

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