FC Cincinnati and their Academy have launched the “Soccer in the Community” initiative as the latest extension of the club’s youth development platform, it was announced Thursday.

The initiative is comprised of the FC Cincinnati Youth Affiliate and Club Partner programs, as well as FC Cincinnati Foundation’s Soccer Unites and West End Pride programs – all with the goal of expanding the education and recruitment reach of FC Cincinnati's Academy.

The FC Cincinnati Youth Affiliate and Club Partner Programs will engage both boys and girls youth soccer clubs to expand their resources and development opportunities. They'll also offer support to the region’s players and their coaches.

The Club Partner Program is available to all local select youth soccer teams with low barriers to entry. Similar to the Youth Affiliate program, clubs will receive educational resources and development opportunities to elevate the level of play in the region.

“The Affiliate Program really is the foundation of the FC Cincinnati development pyramid that starts with youth players and goes all the way up through the first team,” FCC director of player development Larry Sunderland said a club release. “To be able to impact a wide swath of players in our region and instill the FCC way of playing at a young age, we help the players develop in a more concentrated model.

"That helps us funnel players already familiar with our FCC family and club philosophies into the FC Cincinnati Academy, and then – potentially – the first team in later years. This is really the first step to becoming an elite-level player, and potentially, a Homegrown Player for FC Cincinnati down the line.”

FC Cincinnati’s technical philosophy will serve as the region’s soccer development benchmark, based on three program fundamentals that include culture, education and the pathway development model.

Check out more on the new initiative and the benefits that FC Cincinnati will provide to Affiliate clubs here.