Consider this successful year as the culmination of extensive planning for the future of the Yakima Crossfire Premier program. The YYSA President, Crossfire President, and the Director of Coaching, have spent considerable time and energy during the past few years identifying the strengths and weaknesses within the program and continue establishing a framework to improve player development for the long term.

Brick by brick, the pieces for the future are falling into place, and this will be noticeable on any given game day - Saturday, as current Yakima Crossfire Coaches and Players will be out at Ahtanum Youth Park scouting both boys and girl's games. Sharing information and benefits of the Crossfire Yakima program as part of the expansion taking place. An additional refinement will be the "invite card "offered to YYSA Recreational Program players that catch the scouts eyes. The invitation is for you to come to a free private training session with Director of Coaching and Crossfire Staff. Many of the exciting things going on currently with the two programs, supplied the natural next step to ensure those successful YYSA players get transitioned into the Crossfire program, as seamlessly as possible.

This Fall Season is offering a perfect opportunity to bring all the components together. YYSA and Yakima Crossfire are now fully integrated, meaning the YYSA Rec program is adding to its already successful design…. paving the way to Crossfire for notable successes on the field, across the age groups…and from both genders.

Integration doesn't just happen on the field, it's the communication and discussion amongst those at the top, the staff, the managing of our registrations, looking at depth charts, offering training and education to all coaches. Looking at roster sizes and ideas, and ultimately having the same goal. It is working out well. Everything that gets taken from the Crossfire Premier curriculum gets passed on down. We look at all our players from the Under-8s through our Under-17s as one big pool being prepared at different stages to one day represent us at the highest level.

The presence of the Youth program in these key age group falls in line with the standards set forth around the world and permits Crossfire technical staffers to assess each player in a broader context. It isn't just about building a team at the under-17 or the under-18 level anymore. It is about broadening the talent pool and figuring out how to tailor the developmental path of promising players along the way.

It is very, very important to us because some players are breaking through earlier and some need some extra time, this not only gets players out of their natural environment into something new, maybe even more challenging in some ways. That's how we grow as players…that's how get better, quicker.

Part of the calculus inevitably involves how players perform with their individual teams. Promising prospects excel at that level and can now find themselves thrust into different challenges along the way. Their success in their natural age group will prompt an opportunity to feature in a more advanced age group to accelerate the learning curve and test their skills in a more demanding situation. That gives us an indication of who can be successful at that level, the game there is faster and the physicality is a little bit stronger…it's perfect preparation for what's to come.

Final results are still not the primary measuring stick for a program we are calling Yakima Crossfire Juniors, or just Crossfire Juniors, ultimately, we are tasked with developing players for the Crossfire Program…. the benefits here solely reside in the integration of programs / systems and the nurturing of our athletes along the way.

We feel very proud of our progress, not just in terms of the development of the players, but the results that will come off the field. There are many great combination scholarships out there for College, and so goals need to be set and dreams, dreamed…. it will be an ongoing process as we build on this increasingly stable foundation set by YYSA to push both programs forward.

If nothing else, the introduction of this unified youth system gives players the tools to advance through the pathway and establish their credentials for further pursuits down the line. This means a lot to us because the players mean a lot to us, and it's our job to provide something coming out the other end of this club experience. No matter what level, not only on the field to make them better soccer players, but at home, in the classroom and .in the community. We will provide the opportunities, with good information to make sure they understand what it takes, one day, to play in Middle School, or High School Varsity, maybe College…maybe free College, some may want to become a professional player, and some will dream of one day representing their country. Some maybe move onto to other things.

Overall, our goal is to feed these players into the next level, no matter what professional path they are going to choose, it doesn't really matter…that part is up to them. We get to do our part and make sure they are prepared for the future they desire, as they journey thru our Yakima Youth Soccer and Yakima Crossfire / Crossfire Jr's programs.

We understand those benefits only arrive with patience and an unwavering commitment. We know that going in and appreciate the support from the top, the committed Crossfire staff…and of course the amazingly talented players we have right here in our midst.

I will be sending out information for the players to review, about the kinds of things we will be looking for, and so we begin this Saturday, the 30th. The first invitational training night is set for Friday, October 6th….and then will be the last Friday of every month going forward. These details will be outlined on the invitations. Again, there is not cost, only benefit…it will be ongoing, so players relax, have fun and express yourselves out there.

See you at the Park!