Topsfield, MA, Friday, August 9, 2019 – Aztec Soccer is excited to announce a new partnership with FC Boston Azzurri, another Northshore soccer club. Like Aztec, FC Boston Azzurri’s mission is focused on individual player development, and developing skills in young players to give them the foundation they need to be successful in their athletic careers.
Beginning in the fall of 2019, Azzurri teams will compete in the New England Premiership under the name Aztec Boston Azzurri.
Azzurri was founded in 2009 by Jennifer McLellan. What started with a town-based futsal program in 2008 grew quickly to 250 players and developed into nine teams competing in the Maple and MASC leagues by the end of 2009. Azzurri has strong relationships with several Northshore town soccer programs. The club provides town programs with consulting services, professional coaching, and tailored programs to develop parent coaches and players in their tots through travel programs.
“Our philosophy has been to give players the tools and vision to play the game of soccer, and along with that comes the confidence, the love of the game and the passion to perfect their craft,” said McLellan. “Watching this transformation in players is my passion.”
“Aztec soccer has been the pinnacle of elite soccer on the Northshore for decades and merging F.C. Boston Azzurri with the Aztec organization is an amazing opportunity for us to grow our vision of player development, first and in an environment that affords our players the best possible soccer experience available, locally,” McLellan added.
McLellan holds a NCAA Regional coaching license. She coached at Melrose High School for five years and is now entering her sixth year as a coach at Austin Prep. In her tenure with both programs the teams have reached their highest level of success in school history. McLellan also has competed at the Regional level in both soccer and futsal, and has been a successful District Select coach for seven years, winning many Championships for District 5.
“Working with a club that has a vision of pure individual development for all players is wonderful," said Mohammed Souisse, NPL Girls Director at Aztec. "McLellan’s daughter at the age of 10 played for Aztecs, where McLellan witnessed the superior player development environment of the Aztec organization. McLellan has recreated that environment in F.C. Boston Azzurri and the merger between the two clubs brings things full circle, aligning both clubs to provide the ultimate player development environment for all of Northshore."
Please join us in welcoming FC Boston Azzurri families into the club!
Topsfield, MA, Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - Aztec Soccer has partnered with Challenger Sports, the largest youth soccer coaching company in North America, to offer a post-high school pathway of professional training and playing abroad for their student athletes.
Through Challenger’s Study and Play Abroad program, graduating Aztec High School players will now have the opportunity to complete a university degree in the UK, whilst at the same time playing and training within the academy program of a British professional soccer team.
Mohammed Souisse, Girls NPL Director at Aztec, said, “We are incredibly excited to announce this strategic partnership with Challenger. The partnership, effective immediately, will present Aztec players with a new opportunity to study and play abroad. We are excited and look forward to working together over the coming years.”
Both male and female players would have the opportunity to select from a number of Universities throughout England and Wales, allowing them to find a school that offers their chosen course of study. They would then also train every day at the local professional league club and would represent the club in the National Youth Football League.
Challenger Sports will be holding a number of showcase tournaments, camps and tours in conjunction with Aztec Soccer to evaluate prospective players and to provide more information on this unique opportunity. They will also be presenting at Aztec's College night in the fall.
Ryan Hodgson, the Elite Player Programming Director for Challenger Sports states, “Working with a club that has this vision for all players is wonderful. By combining the resources of Challenger Sports, along with the strong leadership of Aztec Soccer, the club will now be able to provide a complete development pathway for their players from 4 years old, through to college and beyond. We are looking forward to bringing some of their players to the UK to further their education, their football careers, and their personal growth.”
Friday, May 31, 2019 - Topsfield, MA - Aztec Soccer is excited to announce a new addition to its coaching staff. Effective immediately, Ryan Gwinnell will join the Aztec team as a Director of the New Hampshire region.
A Native of England, Gwinnell is originally from High Wycombe, located in Southeast England, just west of London. Growing up, he played for Wycombe Wanderers Youth Academy in England. He holds a degree in Exercise & Health Science.
Gwinnell moved to the US in 2006 and began coaching. For the last 13 years, he has coached teams across Southern NH and Northern MA.
Most recently, Gwinnell has coached for Nashua World Cup and NEFC North, as Junior Academy Director and Director of Coaching, respectively. He holds a USSF C Licence.
“I am very excited to be joining the Aztec organization,” Gwinnell said. “I've been very impressed with everyone at the club; there are some really great people here, and I'm excited to be a part of something special.”
“Aztec’s mission statement and philosophy aligns perfectly with my own, which is to focus on individual player development across all ages,” he added. “I can't wait to get started and be a part of the team.”
Gwinnell will work alongside Junior Boys Director Winston Haughton to help grow the New Hampshire region of the club. The teams will train and play games in the Tyngsborough, MA area.
"I know Ryan to be a thorough professional and extremely knowledgeable in the sport of soccer," said Haughton. "I look forward to working with him, and I'm excited to see the continued growth of Aztec."
“We have been looking to strengthen our presence and outreach in the Southern New Hampshire area, so bringing in Ryan seemed like a no brainer,” added Mike Kersker, Aztec Soccer President. “He already has strong relationships with a number of coaches on our staff, and we are excited to have him on board with us helping to grow that area.”
Friday, May 24, 2019 - Topsfield, MA - Aztec Soccer is excited to announce a new partnership with Maximum Velocity FC. Like Aztec, Maximum Velocity’s mission is focused on individual player development.
Beginning in the fall of 2019, Maximum Velocity FC’s Premier teams will compete in the New England Premiership under the name Aztec Maximum Velocity FC. The club currently has 16 teams competing in different leagues in New England, from the U10 level, up through U18/19. Heading into next year, operations will continue to grow.
“MVFC is committed to provide an enriched environment for our players, not only as competitive Futsal and Soccer players, but as community members and leaders,” said M. Geoffrey Carlton II .
The club was founded by Carlton to provide a quality soccer and futsal training environment for players looking to advance to the next level. The club’s culture focuses on developing technical skills and intelligence; while developing teamwork, respect and character to create a whole player.
“We are delighted to partner with Maximum Velocity,” said Aztec Technical Director, Mo Keita. “We are excited to extend our reach with Aztec Soccer NEP league teams, and Skillz Check Soccer Academy training, to this region of NH, and to create the best training environment in Southern NH.”
“We felt the introduction of well-known, experienced and dedicated soccer trainers in the Seacoast, NH area was an inevitable step for us, as Aztec continues to grow and expand north of Boston,” Keita explained. “Our focus is training each player to be their very best. We are focused on soccer and futsal and it shows in the quality of our training.”
Topsfield, MA, Thursday, May 16, 2019 – Aztec Soccer welcomes Candice Dangora, a former Aztec player, to its coaching staff.
Dangora grew up in Beverly, MA where she was a standout soccer player on the north shore. She started her club soccer career training with a program called K.I.D.S., which was run by Mike Kersker, and eventually became what is now known as Aztec Soccer Club. Dangora went on to play soccer at the collegiate level at Marymount University in Arlington, VA. She served as a captain for her college team
“I am thrilled to welcome Candice to our staff,” said Mike Kersker, President. “This is really special for us because Candice started at the club as a player, before it was even called Aztec. I have known Candice since she was 10 years old, and I can’t say enough about her, as a coach, a player, and most importantly, as a person.
Dangora began coaching after college at Boston Soccer Academy. She worked there for five years before moving to NEFC, where she has coached the last two years. She also works as an Assistant Coach at Salem State University, for the women’s soccer program there.
Dangora has worked with many coaches on staff at Aztec over the years, including Junior Girls Director Ashley McGown, who she worked with at another club from 2016-2018. "I couldn’t be more excited to begin working with Candice once again," McGown said. "She builds strong relationships with all of her players, and her leadership/coaching style allows her to develop young players into strong, responsible athletes, on and off the field. She really focuses on developing the whole person, which is extremely important to us here at Aztec."
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be back where it all started for me,” Dangora said. “I look forward to working with the staff and players at Aztec. There are so many incredible athletes and talented coaches here.”
Please join us in welcoming Candice to the club!
Topsfield, MA, Friday, May 10, 2019 – Aztec Soccer is excited to announce a new partnership with FC Padova, another local northshore club. Like Aztec Soccer, FC Padova’s mission is focused on individual player development. Beginning in the fall of 2019, Padova teams will compete in the New England Premiership under the name Aztec Padova.
The club was founded in 2012 by Nicholas Padovani.
What started with one team in 2012 has since grown to eight teams for the 2018/19 season. Looking to next year, they hope to continue to grow.
“Having been involved in youth soccer at the recreational and club levels for so many years, I’ve seen different organizations grow and none have impressed me more than the Aztec has, as of recent,” Padovani said. “I believe the combination of our common goal of youth soccer development in the North Shore and our philosophies align perfectly. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with such a prestigious organization, which will allow us to grow our program, as well as provide our players with higher levels of competition in the NEP."
Padovani holds a USSF National “A” License, as well as NSCAA National and Advanced National Licenses.
He was the head coach of Salem State University Men’s Soccer program from 1980-2000, with an all-time record of 354-53-33.
Please join us in welcoming FC Padova families into the club!
Topsfield, MA, Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Aztec Soccer is excited to announce the addition of Oli Gunnarsson to its staff. Gunnarsson will serve as the club’s Director of Operations.
A native of Iceland, Oli is well known to families on the North Shore, having served as Director of Coaching for GPS North Shore as well as Goalkeeper Director for New England Goalkeeper Academy. As a player, Gunnarsson represented Iceland at both the youth and senior level. He also played collegiately for three years at Flagler College, where he was named an All-American all three years, and after graduating was named to Flagler's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Following college, Oli played as a professional goalkeeper in the Icelandic Premier League, as well as in the American Soccer League. He currently serves as an Assistant Coach for the Women's Soccer Team at Tufts.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity to continue to participate in the development of players and the sport of soccer here on the North Shore,” said Oli. “Aztec has added some great coaches to the club and I’m looking forward to joining them in making sure the focus remains on the development of local players. My coaching philosophy matches perfectly with the values and the priorities Aztec stands for, and I can’t wait to get started.”
As a coach, Oli has worked with players and goalkeepers at all ages and levels--from club to high school, college, and even at the professional level.
Oli holds a US Soccer’s C License, a UEFA B License and a UEFA B Goalkeeper License from the Icelandic Soccer Federation, as well as United Soccer Coaches’ Advanced National Goalkeeper Diploma, Director of Coaching Diploma and Coaches Developer Diploma. Oli is currently completing his US Soccer’s B License and seeks to start his UEFA A License course this coming fall.
“Oli's experience as a player coupled with his life-long learning approach to the game adds enormous breadth to our club,” said Mike Kersker, president of Aztec. “His ability to develop athletes, players, and goalkeepers, and be a great influence on our players, were all priorities in bringing him in.”
“The hiring of Oli speaks to the importance that our ownership is placing on bringing in staff that are not only good soccer trainers, but also good people,” Mike said. “The value someone with his life experience can add in continuing to strengthen our culture around pathways for our players is key. His experience with the Iceland National team and player development in Iceland will strengthen our club for our players.”
Please join us in welcoming Oli to the club!
We are delighted to announce that Aztec Soccer has joined in a strategic partnership with South Shore Select and a collaboration with FC Boston Bolts for the benefit of all of our players. This partnership will work cooperatively to improve club best practices, improve player development, provide additional opportunities and improved platforms for player showcasing, as well as tournament and league support. We are very excited about the short term opportunities this will bring our players and the long term potential of this collaboration for the club.
The partnership between Aztec and New England Rush solidifies Aztec’s presence in Northern Massachusetts and the entire Boston area. As of today, there will be two Aztec regions: Aztec Central and Aztec Boston both representing the core values held in high regard: leadership, unity, accountability and transparency. The synergy between the clubs speaks to the value that both organizations place on the stewardship of their staff, players and families. “Our values are similar and our missions are aligned,” says Aztec President, Mike Kersker. Executives from both organizations offer reassurances to their respective families that teams and staff will not change. Instead the expansion should be seen as benefiting everyone with the implementation of sustainable best practices, improved programming and enhanced credibility within our college recruitment process.
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