Much like we’ve seen in St. Louis and Kansas City, two significant club soccer consolidation efforts were completed recently. Springfield Missouri has gone from five clubs to two with a growing St. Louis organization adding their resources to the fray.
Sporting SGF and Demize
The first step came in February as the two largest clubs merged into one. Sporting Springfield joined forces with the Springfield Demize which would be like SLSG and Lou Fusz joining forces locally.
We are excited to announce the merger of two of the largest competitive clubs in the Southwest Missouri area. Sporting Springfield and Demize Academy/Lady Demize will merge together starting with the June 2020 tryouts for the 2020-2021 soccer season. Together this merger will build a one of a kind soccer organization within the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the best club in Southwest Missouri, all while creating more opportunities for players to develop and compete at the highest level.
This merger represents approximately 900 players at the competitive and recreational levels. Currently the two clubs compete in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL is a minor league), Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL is a semi-professional league), Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL is a semi-professional league) and at the youth level in the USYS National League (Midwest Conference), Heartland soccer league, Heartland Futsal League, St. Louis Youth Soccer Association and the Lake Country Soccer (LCS) league.
Southwest MO Rush
Then April 2nd, Missouri Rush announced Southwest Missouri Rush . In this case, Lake Country Soccer (who are similar to SLYSA) has partnered with FC Legacy, Magic Soccer Club, and other soccer organizations in Southwest Missouri, to form Southwest MO Rush. Southwest MO Rush will partner with MO Rush out of St. Louis, and will be an affiliate of Rush Soccer.
SWMO Rush is currently searching for a Director of Coaching that will lead the club into its inaugural year. I don’t want to dissuade anyone from applying but if SWMO Rush doesn’t talk to Alf Bilbao, who spent a decade coaching the Drury women, they’ll have missed out on a good opportunity on a highly qualified coach with strong local roots.
The current SWMO Rush Staff is as follows:
Executive Director, Lake Country Soccer: John Markey
Director of Coaching: (search in progress)
Technical Director: Thaylan Johnson
Boys Director: Tyler Bennett
Girls Director: (search in progress)
Academy Director: Bruce Deaton
Assistant Academy Director: Hakim Tahiri
I’ve known Thaylan Johnson, who played for Busch SC and Missouri State, for 15 years. He was an active and enthusiastic member of the adult soccer community during my time in Springfield (2002-2011). Tyler Bennett moves over from Demize. He was part of the Springfield SC team coached by Jeremy Alumbaugh that captured the first State Cup title for a non-metro (STL and KC) team and he also played for the Kickapoo Chiefs team that took 3rd in State. His cousin is familiar to many here in St. Louis – Chris Shuler who played for AC St. Louis following eight years in Major League Soccer with Real Salt Lake. Finally, Bruce Deaton is the Women’s Coach for Evangel University and was the Lady Demize Head Coach in the WPSL their first two years (2018-2019)
Lake Country Soccer will also be working in coordination with the Springfield Sports Commission for a new soccer event by inviting many of the 100 Rush affiliate clubs to Springfield for an annual event. With Rush Clubs throughout the region, teams will be invited to Springfield for a chance to compete and share fellowship with Rush players and coaches from throughout the region. That is in addition to the Rush Select National Tournament that will be coming to O’Fallon later this year. Rush Select is similar to the id2 program that US Club soccer offers and other select player development programs. Club Soccer Consolidation in Springfield Missouri