By David Markham
After more than a year of meetings, conversations, and research, JCPRD’s partner for recreational youth soccer leagues, Puma FC, has joined Surf Soccer Club out of San Diego. The local group’s new name is Kansas City Surf Soccer Club.
“Our goal was to connect with something larger than ourselves that would provide more opportunities to kids at all levels of the soccer pyramid,” said Kansas City Surf President Robbie Million. “This change to Kansas City Surf will ensure those opportunities increase for all players in the Kansas City Surf program from JOCO rec to our local competitive teams and regional platform teams.”
JCPRD first partnered with Puma FC in late 2020. That partnership resulted in the creation of what is now JOCO Soccer league powered by Kansas City Surf. Since that time, the league’s membership has increased from approximately 250 to more than 800, and officials with both groups expect to see this increase to over 1000 in coming years.
“JCPRD and Puma FC have worked collaboratively for years on the recreational youth soccer program,” JCPRD Superintendent of Recreation Shannon Sonnier said. “We are excited that the additional resources and national recognition provided by the new affiliation with Kansas City Surf will help take our program to the next level.”
Million noted that Surf is the fastest growing soccer club in America with over 30,000 members.
“It is a proven methodology for helping kids achieve their soccer goals and love for the game no matter the level of play,” he said. “Building a better community through sport is what Puma FC has been about for years. This fits perfectly with Surf core values. Better curriculum for players, better training for coaches, and bringing families together in sport translates into better players at all levels. With tryouts in the coming weeks, and camps all summer long, we are working to fill the needs of the soccer community. “
So what does this change mean for JCPRD participants?
“It means JCPRD participants have access through JOCO soccer league to not only connect with one of the best rec programs in the country, but also one of the best soccer clubs in the country,” Million explained. “In addition, players now have a complete player pathway no matter their level of play. Surf can help provide a pathway for all those playing at all levels so they can be the best version of themselves. There is a complete pathway for rec players as the JOCO rec league powered by Kansas City Surf continues to grow, and a full competitive pathway to high school, college, and professional soccer right here in Kansas City with Kansas City Surf.”
For more than 46 years, Surf has been one of the founding organizations in youth soccer.
“With over $12 million in charitable donations, 17 national championships, and countless professional, collegiate, and youth national team players, we are forever striving to be the ‘Best of the Best,’” Million said. “This emphasis on players, events, and facilities is the focus of all Surf Nation locations. Kansas City will also operate as the regional hub for the Midwest Surf Region of Surf Nation, bringing players and families from the central United States to Kansas City and Johnson County for Surf tournaments and regional Surf Select events.”
JOCO Soccer League partnered with Kansas City Surf Soccer Club provides the community with a recreational soccer program for children ages 3 through 14. Programs will run on Saturdays or Sundays at Heritage Soccer Park through fourth grade and both Heritage and Stump parks for fifth through eighth grade in the fall and spring. Watch for information about 2023 fall leagues at JCPRD.com/1230/Youth-Soccer---Heritage-Soccer-Park.