Fairbanks Soccer Club brings area its first men’s and women’s professional development teams
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Although soccer is one of the most popular youth sports in the area, once a player advances beyond their high school days on the pitch, there are not many opportunities to continue progressing in the game.
That is where Fairbanks Soccer Club has stepped in to help fill that void - bringing the city its first professional development soccer teams.
“The path way to playing in college or playing in the pro ranks was relatively weak, and I think is still the case in Fairbanks and in Alaska as well,” said Kyle Renner, Co-Captain of the Fairbanks SC men’s team. “This is a really exciting opportunity because we can offer a pathway for young players to play at the highest level of soccer that Alaska has ever seen.”
Throughout Renner’s lifetime of soccer, the many talented players in Interior, Alaska who had wide-eyed dreams of continuing their career had to wander those eyes elsewhere, to a location with more exposure and more competition.
The timing of the overdue need and the growth of the United Premiere Soccer League (UPSL) birthed the Fairbanks Soccer Club in 2020, bringing the highest level of men’s and women’s soccer the area has ever seen.
“We have always thought about expanding opportunities for players in this community that have potential to achieve success at a high level,” said Founder and President of Fairbanks SC Danny Dominick, who also played for West Valley High School and professionally in the Netherlands. “Last year an opportunity presented itself to expand into Alaska and when we heard that was a go, we immediately thought this is something we want to try to participate in for the benefit and the betterment of soccer and for soccer players in Fairbanks.”
The UPSL, which was founded in 2011, has expanded to more than 300 teams nationwide in a decade and is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the United States, according to the league.
In 2020, the league’s development reach Alaska, where four men’s teams competed in the Last Frontier Division for their inaugural season; Alaska Timbers (Anchorage), Arctic Rush (Anchorage), Matsu United FC (Palmer) and Fairbanks SC. The clubs navigated their way through a six game, COVID-altered season, bringing Professional Development soccer to the 49th State.
For 2021, the UPSL is launching its women’s league nationwide and Fairbanks will be fielding a team of the area’s best soccer players for its first season.
“It seems clear to us all that there is a need for that and a place for that in this community,” Dominick added about the women’s league. “There are a significant numbers of female youth players in this community and we of course want to try to offer them the same opportunity to aspire to play at a higher level, the same way we do with the young boys.”
Tryouts for both the men’s and women’s teams are being held May 15-16 at the Davis Turf Field Complex.
The first year of Fairbanks SC featured a roster littered with talent from Fairbanks and North Pole, including current college players Vaughn Simpson (Colorado School of Mines), Nate Walsh (Saint John’s University), Joey Van Horn (Seattle Pacific University) and a number of former college players, including Renner, who played for George Washington University.
After playing all of their games in 2020 on the road, Fairbanks SC will be hosting matches this year in Fairbanks at the Davis Turf Fields.
“We are really looking forward to a fantastic, family-friendly, entertaining experience, showcasing the best quality soccer that Alaska has to offer.”
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