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BLAIRS, Va. — Southside Soccer Club reached an agreement on Tuesday, June 1, to partner with North Carolina Triad Fusion (NC Fusion) as an affiliate club.

NC Fusion is a non-profit entity serving the Triad region of North Carolina by providing sports programs for youth and adults.

The partnership allows interested Southside Soccer recreational players opportunities to participate in tournaments and games against NC Fusion’s network of soccer teams. Southside Soccer will create competitive teams scheduled against NC Fusion teams in a simple game series format.

All Southside Soccer players will continue participating as recreational soccer players. The partnership simply allows interested players to play as a NC Fusion club team against other North Carolina teams. Opportunities to play against NC Fusion will occur during Southside Soccer’s traditional Spring and Fall seasons with new expanded training throughout the summer.

“Southside Soccer is dedicated to recreational soccer and youth development,” Drew Norris, Southside Soccer’s coaching director, said. “But, we do have players that desire more competitive exposure to outside teams or want to challenge their own skills against new faces. They don’t want to leave Southside Soccer to do it. The partnership with NC Fusion will allow players from both organizations to compete against each other. This provides a player pathway to further development and exposure. We are excited for the opportunity.”

Home and away games will be played at both Clubs. NC Fusion will host games at Truist Sports Park in Bermuda Run, North Carolina, and at Truist Soccer Complex at Bryan Park in Browns Summit, North Carolina. Southside Soccer will host games at the Blairs Soccer Fields in Blairs.

While day travel is involved, there will be no overnight trips or distant travel for participating Southside Soccer players. Participation requires seasonal registration with Southside Soccer.

“NC Fusion also offers opportunities for coaches training, officials training, and technical instruction for players,” Rodney Lewis, Southside Soccer’s president, said. “NC Fusion is large enough to have a number of ongoing training courses that would be beneficial for our Club volunteers and players. We can participate in their training.”

“I was so impressed to see the quality training and game facility Southside Soccer families have available,” Gary Gartner, NC Fusion Director of Community Relations, said. “NC Fusion is extremely fortunate to partner with Southside to bring families a more competitive level with very reasonable travel. The growth of Southside Soccer Club has experienced in the past few years is a credit to strong relationships they have built in the community. This aligns with NC Fusion Core Values.”

Several Southside Soccer age groups are expected to see expanded playing options. Players in U12, U16, and U19 age groups will benefit initially from the partnership. Southside Soccer’s U16 and U19 girl’s program will now have real opportunities to play girl’s NC Fusion teams. The girl’s games have been mostly intra-squad for the last few seasons. 

“The partnership represents a tremendous opportunity,” Norris said. “We had 113 boys try-out for tournament play recently. These young men were roughly 12 and older. We also had a strong interest from the girls. NC Fusion offers options for tournament play, club games, and friendlies as well.”

“NC Fusion is pleased to partner with Southside Soccer Club,” Scott Wollaston, Executive Director of NC Fusion, said. “We have been very impressed by their desire to do things in the best interest o f players and families in their recreational soccer program. This partnership pushes forward our commitment to grassroots soccer and the development of communities through sport. We look forward to the impact this partnership will have on all stakeholders.” 

Southside Soccer had 581 players sign-up for its spring 2021 season. Spring 2021 was one of the largest seasons in terms of players and family involvement. Sign-ups are now live for Fall 2021. The registration deadline is mid-August. Check the website southsidesoccer.club to learn more.

Southside Soccer is a non-profit 509(a)(2), a sub designation under 501(c)(3), community organization providing recreational soccer for Pittsylvania County and Danville, Virginia. The club maintains access to fields, manages competitive leagues, and provides soccer instruction. The Club is managed by unpaid volunteers of parents and coaches. The Club has faithfully grown and served its community since 2003.

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