Rush Soccer Gets Pro Team
Penn FC to Make USL Debut in 2018
A New Era for Rush Soccer
Rush Soccer reached a milestone today as the United Soccer League unveiled Penn FC, the official first team of Rush Soccer. Replacing the Harrisburg City Islanders, Penn FC will join the Eastern Conference starting in the 2018 season.
The goal of having a professional first team at the top of our academy has been a part of Rush Soccer’s plan since the first club formed in 1997. Now, in our 20th Anniversary year and after two decades of expansion to create a youth player base that spans 48 locations nationwide and 36 abroad, the vision of Rush Soccer has become a reality. The top of the pyramid is now complete for young Rush players who aspire to reach the professional ranks.
The Rush Way
In 1997, the first Rush club was formed in Littleton, Colorado as Colorado Rush. Ahead of its time, the newly-formed club began to set trends in youth soccer around the United States. By year two, Rush won its first national title, which turned heads and put a spotlight on the Colorado-based organization. Rush continued that momentum, winning several state cups and bringing home wins from national tournaments. Rush even started to produce players that were joining the professional ranks.
Success on the field was setting the club apart but Colorado Rush wanted to be more than a well-oiled soccer club. The organization’s founders and top soccer coaches started to produce best practices and procedures that soon set the youth club apart from others across the country, creating a culture of what is known today as “The Rush Way”.
In 2003, Rush Soccer decided to put these best practices to the test and expand the club to other states, starting with Virginia Rush based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Virtually overnight, the Rush doubled in size and the success began to intensify as players and coaches across the country wanted to be a part of Rush Soccer and learn “The Rush Way”. By 2008, Rush had clubs in New Mexico, Hawaii, Kansas, California, and Florida. Fast forward to 2017 and Rush now oversees 84 different clubs across the world.
The USL is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, representing 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Reaching more than 75 million fans, it is the fastest growing league in professional soccer.
Rush Chairman Jérôme de Bontin spoke highly on the importance of having a competitive academy below the professional team to ensure player growth and development:
“It is difficult to imagine a professional soccer team without an academy – the academy is often referred to as the soul of the organization. Our President Tim Schulz and I have been looking for the right professional team for some time now and have found it in Penn FC and George Altirs’ organization. Everyone involved believes in building success through the promotion of aspiring young talented players and the goal has always been to give our young Rush athletes greater access to the professional ranks. Many Rush players have already gone on to lead successful professional careers, so our hope is that this new relationship will continue to facilitate a professional pathway for our players around the world.”
The list of Rush alumni who have continued on to professional careers includes U.S. National Team player Christian Pulisic, who played for Michigan Rush for a small stint before joining Borussia Dortmund’s academy in July 2014, and U.S. Women’s National Team player Lindsey Horan, who has more than 20 caps with the National Team at the age of 23. Other Rush standouts include Conor Casey, Jeb Brovsky, Danica Evans, Colin Clark, Jordan Angeli, and Todd Dunivant.
With an extensive network of top level youth players underneath the professional team, Rush Soccer is excited to offer a complete pathway for the boys wearing the Rush “R” across the globe. The announcement of the new USL team has been twenty years in the making, and although it may seem that the journey is complete, this is only the beginning of a new era for Rush Soccer.
The work at Rush will continue until the club becomes one of the most recognizable soccer brands in the world.