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"Warrior Soccer Club*: Reaching goals and building strong communities in Dayton, Ohio"

A club of choice throughout the region, its commitment to players and community are just some of the reasons why Warrior has maintained its place in the competitive Dayton soccer landscape. For so long they have continued to not only be a place where players want to play but a destination for soccer talent whether its their renowned adidas Warrior Fall Classic, the adidas Warrior Memorial Day Classic or one of many other competitions or training programs hosted at their facility they are a staple within the Ohio Soccer Community.

*We are grateful to have Warrior SC as Premier OSMD Insider, we appreciate their support and are excited to share a part of their story.

Warrior Soccer Club, founded in 1983, stands as one of the largest and oldest youth soccer organizations in the Dayton, Ohio area. With a rich history and a steadfast commitment to player development, community engagement, and affordability, this club has been a cornerstone of the local soccer scene for nearly four decades.

Technical Excellence as the Foundation

From its inception, the Warrior Soccer Club has prioritized the technical development of its players. In an ever-evolving soccer world where fluidity of positions reigns supreme, honing technical skills is paramount. “The focus of the club has always been the technical development of the players.” explained Doug Lehman, Director of Coaching. “We believe highly technical players can play any position on the field. In a soccer world where positions are more and more fluid in the game, technical development is key.” The belief here is that highly technical players can adapt to any position on the field, making them versatile assets to their teams.

Affordability and Accessibility

“Along with that technical development, it has always been our goal to keep club soccer affordable while still offering all the training and opportunities of the more expensive clubs.” Coach Lehman shared that one of the core tenets of the Warrior Soccer Club is affordability. They aim to provide all the training and opportunities of more expensive clubs without burdening families with excessive costs. Unlike some clubs that may present a low upfront fee but pile on additional costs for tournaments, trainers, or indoor winter training, Warrior Soccer Club operates with an all-inclusive fee structure, offering transparency to its members. “Along with that technical development, it has always been our goal to keep club soccer affordable while still offering all the training and opportunities of the more expensive clubs.”

Community Spirit and Engagement

The Warrior Soccer Club's complex serves as a hub for soccer events, training clinics, and community gatherings. These activities foster a strong sense of community and love for soccer among players and families. By hosting regular events including matches, tournaments, and leagues, the club successfully brings together participants and spectators, creating a powerful sense of belonging and unity.

Inclusivity and Diversity

“Involving parents and community members as volunteers in the club's activities fosters a sense of ownership and engagement.” Coach Lehman added that “This hands-on involvement helps build relationships and strengthens the club's ties with the broader community. “ The club is committed to ensuring that it is inclusive and welcoming to participants from diverse backgrounds. Embracing diversity helps create an environment where different perspectives and experiences are celebrated, further strengthening the sense of community. Coach Lehman added that “A diverse membership helps create an environment where different perspectives and experiences are celebrated, contributing to a stronger sense of community.”

Enhancing Player Development

The club's partnership with Ninety+, led by soccer pro Kofi Sarkodie offers a unique learning opportunity for players, aligning perfectly with their focus on technical player development. By emphasizing technical proficiency, Warrior Soccer Club believes that everything else on the field will fall into place, allowing players to showcase their skills. “With Kofi Sarkodie having come through the Warrior Soccer Club, it is also a way for him to stay connected with the club where it all started for him,” added Coach Lehman.

With a focus on youth development, the club prioritizes providing a holistic soccer experience. It includes skill development, teamwork, sportsmanship, and character building. Experienced coaches not only improve players' soccer abilities but also act as mentors, shaping the character of young athletes.

Staying Ahead of the Game

In an ever-evolving soccer landscape, Warrior Soccer Club keeps up-to-date with the latest trends, coaching methodologies, and industry best practices. As a premier member club with United Soccer Coaches, they send a group to the annual conference to stay informed about the latest developments in club soccer. “United Soccer Coaches…provide(s) our coaches with access to the video sessions from the annual USC Conference. We also cover (our coaches’) individual coaches' membership to USC so they can get training sessions and information from the USC website.” This level of commitment to ongoing coaching education and individual coach development is not something many clubs take as seriously as Warrior, and this is one of the reasons why Warrior attracts and retains the high level of coaches who are focused on player development.

Advice for Aspiring Youth Soccer Organizations

When we asked Warrior what advice they would offer up to other clubs trying to replicate what they have achieved for their club and community, the answer was simple “If you are focused on their love of the game everything can flow positively from there.” Stay focused on the players' enjoyment and development. Prioritizing the love of the game can create a ripple effect of positivity, enriching players, communities, and the sport itself.

Warrior Soccer Club in Dayton, Ohio, has carved its niche by fostering technical excellence, maintaining affordability, and nurturing a strong sense of community. With a commitment to inclusivity, continuous learning, and holistic player development, this club serves as a shining example for other youth soccer organizations looking to make a lasting impact. In their dedication to the beautiful game, they exemplify how soccer can be a powerful force for good in communities.

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