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March 18, 2009 > Major growth ahead for Fremont soccer

Major growth ahead for Fremont soccer

By Gary van den Heuvel

Youth soccer in Fremont is alive and kicking, so to speak, as recent events have assured the continued growth of the city's soccer programs.

FC Fremont has spun off a competitive program into a new league called Mission Valley United, and has also announced a partnership with Adidas, which will be Mission Valley's official sponsor and supply the league's sportswear until the end of the 2012 season.

The global leader in soccer with nearly a 35 percent market share (and over 60 percent in the U.S.), "Adidas is committed to developing and supporting all levels of U.S. soccer from the grassroots to the professional level, and we are proud to have Mission Valley United in the Adidas Soccer Family," said Ernesto Bruce, sports marketing manager for Adidas.

In November, the Fremont Board of Directors passed a motion to hire an executive director on a long-term contract, and hired Andrew Donnery for that position. The executive director's mandate is to develop the travel and house programs and make soccer available to all Fremont youth. The step in this initiative was to hire Ricky Clarke as Mission Valley Unified's director of coaching on a long-term contract.

Donnery has been involved in soccer for over 25 years. He was a former professional player with the Wilmington Hammerheads (North Carolina) and a Division 1 college player with Coastal Carolina. He's been director of coaching with several U.S. organizations, and has acted as a coach educator and instructor for the United States Soccer Federation.

Clarke, who will report to Donnery, has worked full-time in the youth soccer industry for over 10 years. He's held a number of senior positions and received numerous honors. He's represented the state of New York as an Olympic development coach, and has held the director of coaching position for several youth organizations.

"We are extremely excited to have Andrew and Ricky join us in their positions. They bring in a wealth of business and soccer experience," said Steve Harrington, Fremont president. "This is a significant step in moving to the next level."

"I intend to provide an environment in which players, parents and coaches are proud to be associated with our club," said Clarke. "The object is to provide our players and parents with an extremely positive experience while building strong soccer players and playing competitive soccer."

Donnery's responsibilities as executive director will be to oversee the day-to-day business of the club, including budgeting, planning and personnel management. He will also be involved in fundraising activities, and be a primary contact between Mission Valley Unified and local, state and national soccer clubs and organizations.

"My role will help decrease the responsibilities on our board members and other volunteers as it relates to the day-to-day operations," said Donnery. "I am very excited about the possibilities and opportunities we have in Fremont."

Adidas stated "We would like to thank Steve Harrington, as well as the rest of the FYSL Board Members and Staff for their support and consideration over the past few months. Both parties are looking forward to a successful and long-term partnership."

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