Livermore Fusion Soccer Club recently received the "Players First" license designation from US Club Soccer.
A program aimed at elevating standards in youth soccer, the "Players First" honor recognizes organizations that strive to accomplish its five foundational pillars: club development, coaching development, player development, parent engagement and education, and player health and safety.
Livermore Fusion was one of nine clubs added to the list last month, bringing the total to 90 clubs in 25 states.
These clubs "completed a rigorous application process, proving their commitment to providing a holistic club soccer experience for players and parents. They emphasize the development of each player to his or her full potential, and help parents make better choices about where their children should play," US Club Soccer officials said.
In other recent news, Livermore Fusion highlighted the accomplishments of two of its players during the holiday season as the pair joined a group of ambassadors from local nonprofit Girls Soccer Worldwide on a trip to rural Paraguay.
During the Thanksgiving break, the two teen girls -- identified by the club as Megan G. and Sophia B. -- were part of the nonprofit's annual mission led by Tri-Valley teens to Coronel Bogado to help cultivate a passion for education and athletics among girls in the rural community.
"In Coronel Bogado, girls are often shamed for playing sports, and at times are removed from school to work or stay home and take care of their younger siblings," said Pamela Jacobsen, co-founder and president of Girls Soccer Worldwide. "We are committed to equalizing the playing field for girls, both in soccer and education."
During their week-long visit, the youth ambassadors immersed themselves in the lives of the local girls, teaching them soccer, visiting their homes, going to their schools and imparting life skills that can help the girls uplift themselves, according to Fusion officials.
Among the achievements of the nonprofit's annual mission trip is helping form the village's first female youth soccer team, Las Pioneras ("The Pioneers").
"Until very recently, starting a girls' soccer team in Coronel Bogado would have been unthinkable," Jacobsen said. "Creating Las Pioneras is a tremendous milestone. The girls are proud to be female soccer players instead of carrying the shame once reinforced by social stigmas."
"History tells us the most impactful way to create change and break the cycle of poverty within any community is to empower and educate women and girls," she added. "This is what we have set out to do, one community, one girl at a time."