Crew Youth, the club’s component of soccer programming targeting youth soccer players ages four to 18, has announced the addition of western Michigan based club, Midwest United FC, as the newest Academy Affiliate.
The partnership was formed through the Academy Affiliate program, which was created to improve athlete identification and development of youth soccer players across the region, as well as offer access to advanced player pathways for young promising athletes.
The Academy Affiliate program was established in July 2021 to benefit additional youth clubs beyond the state of Ohio. Midwest United FC joins the Crew alongside current Academy Affiliate and fellow Michigan club, the Michigan Wolves Soccer Club (Livonia, Mich.). Both Michigan Wolves SC and Midwest United FC play within MLS NEXT, the highest level of league competition in the country.
“Our goal as a club is to grow the game of soccer and support player development, and that starts with creating opportunities at the youth level,” said Robert Spain, Crew Technical Director of Youth Partnerships. “We are committed to growing our presence not only in the state of Ohio but in the entire Midwest region. We created the Academy Affiliate program to partner with youth soccer clubs that share our same drive and vision for the long-term benefit of our team and all young players, and we are excited about the progress we have made so far.”
While it adopted the moniker Midwest United FC in June 2015, the club has a 25-year long history in youth soccer excellence. Its legacy began in 1990 in Grand Rapids, Mich., becoming the first youth select soccer club in the area. Midwest United FC has grown to earn championships at all levels, highlighted by a 2011 U17 Boys National Championship and 2016 U16 Girls National Championship.
Midwest United FC shares the same mission that Columbus Crew’s player pathway encompasses, promoting the growth of the game and the development of young athletes.
"We are extremely excited to be partnering with Columbus Crew. We believe Midwest United FC and Columbus Crew are aligned in player development philosophy,” said Luke Ruff, Director of Coaching at Midwest United FC. “This partnership will really help to create a clear connection for our coaches and players directly to the Crew and benefit all areas of our club.”
The Academy Affiliate program offers a plethora of benefits to soccer clubs, coaches, and players, such as access to the Crew’s technical staff and curriculum, the talent identification pipeline, opportunities with Crew/MLS hosted events and more. For more information about the Academy Affiliate program, visit thecrewyouth.com. Clubs interested in becoming an Academy Affiliate, can fill out the application here.
Crew Youth offers weeklong half day and full day camp options for young athletes, which began June 5 and continue through Aug. 11. To learn more about Youth Camps and or register for Crew Youth Camps, visit thecrewyouth.com. To stay up to date on Crew Youth and camp programming, follow the program on Twitter @TheCrewYouth or Facebook here.