The New York Red Bulls boast one of the strongest youth programs not just in MLS, but across the country. In addition to finding and developing local players that keep the academy teams near the top of the national rankings, the Red Bulls have demonstrated their commitment to the future of youth soccer in New York and New Jersey. The organization maintains partnerships with over 100 youth soccer programs, providing camps, clinics and in-house training from certified and professional Red Bull youth coaches.
Each month, NewYorkRedBulls.com and RedBullsAcademy.com will feature one of these partners in our Red Bulls Youth Partner Program Spotlight.
West Side Soccer League
The West Side Soccer League (WSSL) provides New York City children with the opportunity to learn and play soccer to develop character, teamwork and a passion for the game. The WSSL currently serves more than 4,000 players – boys and girls – from ages 5-18 on recreational and competitive teams.
Since 1987, the league has served Manhattan (Upper West, Upper East, Harlem and Midtown) and the Bronx. The WSSL also includes a vibrant special needs program. Every fall, the league integrates its mainstream teams into its special needs program where the community comes together to learn about one another and the game of soccer. The Red Bulls have been involved as coaches and mentors for the program.
“The New York Red Bulls have been true partners in the lives of New York’s City’s soccer players and their families,” WSSL commissioner Dana DiPrima said. “The Red Bulls trainers are passionate, dedicated and focused on player development and together we have elevated the level of play for all teams and individual players.”
The New York Red Bulls and WSSL have been partners since 2011, and the relationship has strengthened over the years. WSSL is the Red Bulls’ largest training programs partner and the club’s exclusive Manhattan based partner. The focus is development of youth soccer players both as skilled players and as team members. This includes ongoing training of youth coaches and the inspiration of young people to love the game of soccer by playing it and watching it at a professional level.
“West Side Soccer League strongly believes in the Training Programs player development philosophies and methodologies,” said Steve Jones, Red Bulls Training Programs Regional manager for Manhattan and North New Jersey. “As a result of their continued commitment to serving the Manhattan communities, the club has grown not only in size but also stature within the youth soccer leagues they play in. West Side Soccer League is a shining example of how the implementation of the Red Bull approach to player development can develop players as well as well-rounded individuals”
The curriculum implemented for WSSL’s most competitive teams is unparalleled in the New York area. Every year, the WSSL unites youth soccer leagues across the New York area with the annual Thanksgiving Invitational Tournament in November.
Thanks to this partnership, the league’s teams and individual players are developing their skills, and moving up the standings. The partnership has been a centerpiece for the WSSL’s most competitive teams for the past three years, but the excellence and excitement has spilled into all levels of the organization’s programs to raise the level of parent coaching, team play and individual skills.
For more information on West Side Soccer League, visit www.wssl.org.