As youth soccer grows rapidly in the Midwestern United States, these clubs have emerged as the top youth soccer organizations in Utah. Here are the top five clubs in the state.
LA ROCA Futbol Club
Operating out of Layton, Utah, LA Roca Futbol Club has been competing in Utah Youth soccer since 2005. LA Roca FC offers a variety of different levels of competition and commitment for players, all while maintaining and continuously producing some of the top teams in Utah. LA Roca FC strives to develop players' talents and facilitate their growth as players and people through some of the top youth soccer training programs in the world.
LA Roca FC employs 98 coaches and has 1900 total players, 1200 of which play at the competitive level.
Through a partnership with Puma, LA Roca provides players with unique opportunities to travel overseas and train with Arsenal FC, one of the most successful English soccer teams in the British Premier League. Adolfo Ovalle, the founder and director of coaching for LA Roca FC, believes the partnership provides the staff and players with the “opportunity to develop [their] training methods and soccer knowledge with one of the best soccer programs in the world."
LA Roca FC is currently dominating Utah’s U14 age group. The top two teams in the state for the boys and girls divisions are both LA Roca teams. The boys division is topped by LA Roca S-CS and LA Roca AV Premier respectively, while LA Roca 03 Premier RH and LA Roca South-JS sit atop the girls standings.
Moreover, out of the top seven teams in the boys U14 division four of them are LA Roca FC teams. Including the fourth and seventh ranked teams in addition to the top two spots. The teams have a combined record of 49-4-25 and all four of the teams saw success Utah’s two state tournaments. Second ranked LA Roca AV Premier and fourth ranked LA Roca Premier ‘03-DC both won State Championship titles, while first ranked LA Roca S-CS and seventh ranked LA Roca CB 03 were able to reach the semi-final.
LA Roca FC’s success is not limited to the U14 Division. Coached by Pancho Ovalle, the girls U12 team LA Roca PO, are undefeated State Champions with a record of 12-1-0. Furthermore, in March 2017 the girls won the Las Vegas Premier Invitational Championship by defeating the fourth ranked team in the nation, AZ Arsenal 05 Premier Teal, 6-5 in the final match. Scoring six goals in not out of the ordinary for LA Roca PO as they average an astounding 5.3 goals per game.
Forza Futbol Club
Forza Futbol Club is a not for profit youth soccer organization headquartered in Bountiful, Utah. Christopher Roemer, the president and chairman of Forza FC, is committed to providing athletes with highly competitive youth soccer. Forza Fc uses the game to help players build character, confidence, and mutual respect, all while helping them develop and maximize their skills. Forza FC continues to promote these values and has become one of the most prominent names in Utah youth soccer at the same time.
Forza FC offers a more relaxed level of competition for players between the ages of 3 and 19 but once players reach age 11 they are offered a much more competitive program geared towards long term player development.
Two of the club’s top girls teams are coached by David Newman and Shaylee Wilson. Newman coaches Forza FC 04 DN, the first ranked U13 team in the state. Forza FC 04 DN have had a strong start to the 2017 season, winning the President’s Day Tournament 2017 in Phoenix. Manager Rocky Lopez joins Coach Wilson at the helm of Forza FC 05 SW, the third ranked U12 Girls team in Utah. Forza FC 05 SW started the 2017 season by winning finishing second in both the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament and the Utah Spring State Championship.
Forza FC also holds the top spot in Utah’s state ranking for the boys U11 division. Forza FC 06 DN, yet another team coached by David Newman, has a record of 6-1-4. The team are looking to build off of their strong performance in the March, 2017 Las Vegas Premier Invitational where they reached the finals.
Newman, who is also the Executive Director of Forza FC, explains that while Forza FC continues “graduating players to college soccer scholarship [and] sending players to the MLS”, Forza FC also has a proud “recreational program that has seen literally thousands of kids grow to love the game for almost 40 years.”
Sparta United Soccer Club
Sparta United Soccer Club is the oldest youth soccer club in Utah. Ben and Joe Ann VandenHazel founded the not for-profit organization in Salt Lake City more than 36 years ago. Throughout Sparta United’s three and a half decade life they have continuously produced highly competitive teams and multiple top teams in the state.
Sparta United’s 800 players travel across the US and even to Europe to compete in top level tournaments and develop their skills.
A focal point in Sparta United’s mission is helping their players achieve a college scholarship. They pride themselves on emphasizing education as well as soccer to ensure as many players as possible have the chance to become student athletes at the next level.
Sparta United’s Technical Director Marco de Ruiter explained how Sparta United is helping players receive college scholarships are. He said the keys to sucess are, “developing players soccer knowledge, [their] top level coaching staff, bringing players to top level tournaments to be seen by college scouts, and putting our players in touch with college coaches." Sparta United frequently hosts college nights where college coaches from around Utah come and talk to the players about how to achieve scholarships and play in the NCAA.
Darian Jenkins, a Sparta United alumni, recently finished her fourth season with the UCLA Bruins who are the eighth ranked team in the nation.
The boys U13 team, Sparta United 04 Premier JK, has attained the number one ranking in the state under the leadership of Coach Justus Koelliker and Manager Mica Goodrich. The team finished as runners up in the State Championship and are rapidly climbing in the national rankings. The team currently has a record of 18-3-9 and has scored 110 goals of the 30 game span.
In addition to the U13 boys team Sparta United also holds the number 6 spot in Utah’s state ranking for U12 girls. The girls team, Sparta United 05 Premier AS, has a record of 6-2-3 and finished first in the Utah Youth Soccer Association Competition League this spring.
Over its long history Sparta United has been able to gather one of the most talented and experienced staffs in Utah. Evidently, this year Coach Justus Koelliker won the Utah Youth Soccer Association Coach of The Year award.
Utah Avalanche Girls Soccer Club
The Utah Avalanche Girls Soccer Club is a predominant powerhouse in Utah girls soccer and is dedicated to excellence. Their mission is to instill confidence in their players and teach them to aspire to be the best on and off the field.
The club has reached the pinnacle of youth soccer success through a hard work and an effective training program. Girls in the program typically train six days a week. This work ethic and determination has shown terrific results for many Utah Avalanche teams and players.
Holly Daugirda, a recent graduate from the Utah Avalanche program, was the women’s soccer Gatorade Player of the Year in 2016, and played in every game of her freshman season at the University of Utah.
The Utah Avalanche have secured the first, second, and fourth ranked teams in state for the U11 age group. In order of ranking the teams are as follows: Utah Avalanche CV 06 Black, Utah Avalanche 06 Black North, and Utah Avalanche 06 White North rounds out the group.
The U14 girls team, Utah Avalanche 03 ECNL 1, have also seen high levels of success. Coached by Jimmie Powell and managed by Lara Lusher, the team started off the 2017 spring season with a bang. Not only is the team undefeated with a record of 11-2-0, but they also won the Utah Spring State Championship in June. The girls are showing no signs of slowing down, scoring 35 goals over the first 13 games and only allowing .69 goals per game.
Impact United puts a strong emphasis on developing an enduring relationship with the community in order to attract high caliber players to the program. Impact United was founded in 1999 and is one of largest youth soccer programs the state has to offer. The size of the program affords players with access to a large number of coaches who specialize in different aspects of the game.
Impact United SP, the third ranked boys U11 team in the state, bolsters an impressive 10-1-2 record, the most wins of any top 25 team in Utah. Coached by Samantha Parker and managed by Jeanne Riley the team also recently championed the 2017 Nevada Junior Cup, winning the final by a score of 3-1.
In the girls division, Impact United G03 Black (MN) are the fourth ranked team in Utah for the U14 age group. They rounded out the fall 2016 season by finishing third in the fall Utah Youth Soccer Association’ State Championship. Impact United G03 Black (MN) improved on that finish in this years spring State Championship finishing in second place.
This article was written by Max Ramsfelder.
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