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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Celebrating 40 Years!

Developing creative and confident players both on and off the field By Jillian Chandler | Photo By In-Gear Media

Gig Harbor Soccer Club

For the past 40 years, Harbor Soccer Club has been dedicated to developing youth players—both on and off the pitch—striving to create an environment where players have the opportunity to learn, improve and excel on the field playing the game of soccer.

“The 40th year anniversary is a significant milestone for the club and is a tribute to all those who have worked to make it happen,” says Jon Schuette, HSC Board president.

Harbor Soccer Club is a community club, where players, coaches, referees and spectators are like family. “We want the best for all of them and strive to provide the environment to allow this to happen,” affirms Jason Jarrett, HSC technical director and general manager. “Whether a player goes on to play at a top-level (collegiately, professionally, etc.) or just plays to have fun with friends in our recreational program, we want them all to leave us with a life-long love of the game. Our players of today will be our coaches, referees, spectators of the future, and it is this community/family culture that is so important to us!”

The board and coaches of HSC endeavor to develop creative and confident players, recognizing them for their creativity, flair and individual expression—while still emphasizing the highest standards of sportsmanship, leadership, responsibility, teamwork and respect for others.

“We base our successes on how well our players develop—not just on the pitch, but as young people, all while remembering that this is a competitive sport,” states Jason. “If Harbor Soccer Club players are enjoying their soccer, advancing their skill level, being taught the beautiful game by enthusiastic, energetic coaches, then we know we will achieve great things.”

HSC has both volunteer recreational coaches and professional staff coaches, who are connected with Harbor Soccer Club’s mission, philosophy and values. “We are a community-focused club, and our coaches are one of the most important pieces of this. The impact they can have on the life of a youth player, both on and off the pitch, is immense and cannot be underestimated or taken for granted,” states Bryce Waddington, HSC director of coaching.

When it comes to the professional staff coaches on the Premier side, evaluation of their job performance is not just based on results (wins and losses) but rather the whole picture. “For the player, their social and emotional development through the game and team is just as important as their technical and tactical progress—and our coaches must understand this first and foremost,” Bryce affirms.

HSC offers programs for children ages 4 through 18, with several levels of play, beginning with their Micro program for 4- and 5-year-olds. For players who are looking for the recreational route, they can participate in the Small-Sided program (6 through 12) and onto the Club program (13 through 18). Those players ages 5 through 7 looking for advanced development and opportunities graduate to the Jr. Academy program and then on to play on one of the Harbor Premier teams (8 to 18). Harbor Premier is HSC’s competitive year-round programming in which players are hand-selected for the teams.

These train three times a week, 10 months a year, and compete in the Washington State Regional Club League (RCL). The RCL is comprised of 20-member clubs statewide and is the highest level of competition available under the Washington Youth Soccer umbrella.

In addition to just playing the game, several HSC players start referee certifications, work as coaches in-training (CIT’s) and find their first jobs within the HSC club or association. Off the field, players learn about team fundraising and developing skills mentally along with their teammates.

“We are always looking to further our players’ on-field opportunities and development. For example, we offer a supplemental College Showcase program that allows additional exposure and assistance to those players looking to advance to collegiate soccer, weekly Rangers training sessions through our partnership with Glasgow Rangers, and unlimited usage of a train-at-home app called Techne, just to name a few,” says Bryce.

Forty years since its inception, HSC is still going strong, thanks to its players, coaches and families. “Multiple generations playing and enjoying the beautiful game here in Gig Harbor while wearing the Harbor badge is incredible. We are very proud of this accomplishment and excited for what the future holds,” Jon smiles.

When it comes to its future, HSC has huge aspirations as a club and cannot wait for what lies ahead. “Additional programming and opportunities are just around the corner,” shares Jason. “With the severe shortage of lit, turf fields in Gig Harbor and the surrounding areas, we hope to develop our own complex of fields that can be a home base for our 1,500-plus players each season. We also hope to continue to build on our legacy in the community and to further help develop our Gig Harbor youth into not only lifelong lovers of the game of soccer but also confident, strong, responsible young adults.”

Harbor Soccer Club 253.851.2099

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