VSI Pinellas Joins NextGen
Tampa Bay club looks to enhance development component


Thursday, June 20, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. - United Soccer Leagues is pleased to announce the acceptance of VSI Pinellas into the Next Generation Series. This new league initiative between USL and IMG Academy features a forward-looking, innovative, comprehensive, and unique program designed to develop the complete elite youth soccer player through a defined regimen of training, competition, testing, and evaluation.

VSI Pinellas focuses primarily on player development and seeks to further that focus through partnership with NextGen. 

“The Tampa Bay area has waited a long time for something like this to be in place,” CEO and Executive Director of Soccer Tony Paris said. “With the expertise that USL offers it will make a huge difference to youth soccer not only here, but nationwide.”

The inspiration for NextGen was the repeated and consistent message received from top youth soccer clubs and coaches that they were seeking a fresh development initiative specifically geared toward younger teams and players.

“It’s exciting to have VSI Pinellas in the Next Generation Series,” NextGen Director Abe Thompson said. “It’s a local club relative to where we’re at geographically, but it’s a very dynamic club that is producing top talent. Working together with VSI Pinellas, I think we’ll have a profound impact on soccer in the bay area.”

The 2013 Next Generation Series format will consist of U12 and U14 boys and girls teams participating in an eight-month season beginning in August and culminating in April. More than just another youth soccer league, top players will be identified through the NextGen Player Tracking Program and invited to attend the NextGen ID Training Camp at IMG presenting the unique opportunity for these elite soccer players to showcase their talents and train with distinguished IMG and NGS coaches.

“The level of competition is where our players will excel,” Paris said. “This is needed week in and week out, and NextGen will give that to them.”

NextGen was launched to fill the void by providing a comprehensive platform for clubs to best prepare their young players for the challenges which await them at the next level. Paris and VSI Pinellas share the same belief. 

The ultimate goal of VSI Pinellas is, “To give our players the opportunity to play at the next level and beyond,” Paris said.

The world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and education complex, IMG Academy hosted myriad soccer team training camps in 2012, including clubs such as the Seattle Sounders, D.C. United, the Columbus Crew, Sweden’s Malmö FF, as well as the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the London Olympic Games and the Antigua & Barbuda Men’s National Team preparing for World Cup qualifying.

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