Local USL side Orange County SC announced on Monday a partnership with Surf Cup Sports. The affiliation is intended to provide a seamless curriculum between the OCSC first team and Southern California Surf academy teams, devised by new Orange County SC technical director Frans Hoek. In addition, according to the release, “Orange County Surf Academy and the Surf club players from across Southern California will now have access to a one of the top USL programs in the country.”
Orange County Surf Academy is the rebrand of West Coast Futbol Club, as announced last month. This club participates in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. The larger Surf Cup Sports organization includes affiliated academies in San Diego, Anaheim, Inland Empire, Ladera Ranch, Murrieta, San Clemente in Southern California, as well as more far-flung affiliates in Hawai’i, Seattle, San Jose, Utah, and New York, among other locales.
Surf Cup Sports also organizes and runs the annual Surf Cup tournament in San Diego, one of the biggest youth tournaments in the country.
From Orange County SC’s perspective, the partnership appears to be intended to formalize a network where youth players can eventually become professionals for the USL team.
“The partnership between Orange County SC and Surf Cup Sports allows us the opportunity to identify players at an early age and turn the most talented youths into world-class players with a pathway to advance to the highest levels of soccer possible, both in the USA and abroad," said Orange County Club owner & president James Keston in a statement. “Surf’s youth soccer players will now be provided with the opportunity to train with the experienced professional players on our USL first team, putting their skills on display for first division clubs around the globe.”
Presumably, the team of youth players Orange County SC will be sending to the Dallas Cup next year as part of a new agreement between that vaunted youth tournament and the USL will come from Surf players. Whether it will be a “showcase” squad from the various affiliates or players made up specifically from Orange County Surf Academy is unclear, but it’s likely going to be one of those.
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