A ground-breaking new deal has been struck allowing Utah’s young soccer players to represent both their academy or club team, and their high school during the high school season.
The momentous agreement, reached between Utah Youth Soccer Association (UYSA) and the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA), was facilitated by 7 Elite Academy and represents a huge step forward in opening up development pathways for the state’s best players.
A number of unsuccessful attempts have been made in the past to strike this kind of deal but this breakthrough means young soccer players will no longer need to choose between playing with their friends in high school or joining elite level club teams, such as 7 Elite Academy, who regularly take their players to internationally-renowned tournaments or on overseas trips.
“UHSAA, 7 Elite Academy and UYSA were all aligned in wanting what is best for the players,” said Wayne Scholes, Executive Chairman of 7 Elite Academy.
“That was a great starting point when we started talking with UHSAA about a partnership that would allow players to carry on training with the club or Academy teams whilst still participating in their high school seasons which we know are really important to children.
"This partnership gives players and families the ability to choose to do both for specific events during the high school season.
“And we’re absolutely thrilled 7 Elite Academy has played a central part in helping to make this deal happen. I’d like to personally thank UYSA and UHSAA for working with us to make this happen.
"It has taken some time to go through the right processes and working with Rob and Brenan at UHSAA has shown that all three organisations are aligned with wanting the best possible opportunities for the youth we all work with. It now means our young players are free to follow the journey that their talent takes them on.”
Brian Smith, president of UYSA, was equally excited about the future for the state’s soccer players: “This is a fantastic outcome for Utah’s young players. It has taken a lot of work but we are happy with the outcome including making inroads in opening communications with UHSAA.
"I would like to thank Wayne and Daren at 7 Elite Academy, for caring and showing commitment to helping get this done. This partnership benefits every organization in Utah while safeguarding players who value the High School experience.”
Executive Director of the UHSAA, Rob Cuff, echoed that sentiment: “This is an exciting move for everyone involved in soccer in Utah and will mean that the best talent in the state can now play for their high school as well as their academy teams, which can only be good for everyone.
"This partnership ensures that the high standards we all have for our sports players is maintained and that the players benefit from consistent coaching and have more opportunity to showcase themselves at high level tournaments and events around the world.
“As Brian says, the team at 7 Elite Academy have been key to getting this over the line. It certainly would not have happened without their commitment and passion for this.”
Further details will be released in due course with some further detail at the respective organisations’ websites.