For several years, Emerald Youth Foundation has operated men’s and women’s amateur soccer teams affiliated with the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). The teams have competed during the summer at Sansom Sports Complex and traveled for away games throughout the Southeast.
The affiliation has provided visibility and credibility to Emerald Youth’s soccer program for city children, leadership development for coaches and staff, and extended opportunities and volunteers for young people.
As soccer has continued to grow in popularity throughout the United States, so has the number of adults interested in playing the sport, and the philosophy of the NPSL and WPSL has shifted to focus more on national player development and advancing the teams from one league level to the next. Emerald Youth’s goal with the adult teams was not to utilize them as a path to a major league soccer team. Instead, the focus was on leadership and character development.
Moving forward, Emerald Youth will no longer have the men’s and women’s teams affiliated with the NPSL and WPSL. Emerald Youth Foundation will continue to focus on and serve young people through the Emerald Force Soccer Club, which is in line with the mission of Emerald Youth: to develop promising, Godly young adult leaders for Knoxville.