By Grove United Communications
March 28, 2023, 12:52 pm
Grove United is excited to announce an official affiliation with the Richmond Kickers Pro Team.
Through the affiliation, Grove United will compete in the USL Academy U19 League and will compete in the USL Academy Cup, a premier national youth showcase tournament attended by professional and college scouts.
The affiliation creates a direct connection between the Grove United development pathway and the Richmond Kickers Pro Team. Players are tracked and able to be identified within the Grove United environment by the Kickers staff for further evaluation opportunities.
“We are excited to have academy players that compete in our daily environment with the professional team attend and compete in the USL Academy Cup. Grove United gives us another opportunity to work together in our community for the betterment of the local player looking to chase the highest levels of the game,” said Richmond Kickers’ Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky.
The organizations have partnered over that last year promoting player movement for development and showcase opportunities.
In 2022, current Kicker’s pro player, Eli Mumford and former Kicker’s academy contract player Ty Johnson joined Grove United for the 2022 season through the partnership between the 2 clubs. Eli said, " I had a great experience in my time with Grove. It was an awesome environment to be in, and it was great for me to be a part of an organization where I could play good football with good players, coaches, and staff around me. I felt that it was really beneficial for my development as a player and as a person." Eli and Ty were impact players for the Grove United NPSL squad and gained valuable game time to grow and develop at the semi-pro level. Ty Johnson said, "The training was at a high level and well planned out according to our match schedule, and it is an environment where every player can compete and grow as a player."
Grove United players have also been brought into pre-season training and matches with the Kickers Pro team for development and evaluation by their technical staff.
“We have been working with Darren and the Kickers Pro Staff over the last year on player development, methodology, and playing opportunities. We are excited to enhance the partnership with the Kickers Pro Team with the USL Academy and continue working with Darren to foster the path-to-pro structure for players looking to play at the next level,” said Grove United Technical Director and President, Justin Grove.
Grove United provides the elite high-performance environment for players to develop and offers opportunities to showcase their talent to move on to the next level. The Grove United U19 Academy Program is a year-round comprehensive, holistic program featuring daily training, strength & conditioning, tactical analysis, and a wellness program. Players compete at the pro-development level in the NPSL, UPSL, EPSL and now USL Academy. Grove United also competes in important showcase matches against MLS Academies, having recently returned from a trip to Atlanta United.
Grove United aligns with the Kickers Pro staff on philosophy and methodology to promote vertical integration and connectivity between elite players and the first team. The pro-development environment facilitates player’s preparation to step in with the first team.
As the club affiliate, Grove United will compete in the USL Academy Cup in Tampa this April and will match up with some of the top U19 competition in the country. Grove United is preparing the current squad and identifying top talent in Central Virginia through ID sessions for the 2023/2024 season. If you are an aspiring player interested in competing at the next level, register for an ID session on the grovesocceracademy.com home page.