Members of the All Nations Soccer Academy play on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at the Jacksonville Jaguars' flex field, where the youth clinic will be held in a month. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville TodayMembers of the All Nations Soccer Academy play on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at the Jacksonville Jaguars' flex field, where the youth clinic will be held in a month. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today
Members of the All Nations Soccer Academy play on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at the Jacksonville Jaguars' flex field, where the youth clinic will be held in a month. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today

Youth soccer clinic planned as UK teams compete in Jax

Published on June 25, 2024 at 3:01 pm

Two legendary soccer clubs in England will square off July 27 at EverBank Stadium as part of a three-game Stateside Cup match series.

The match between the two English Premier League clubs — the Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United — will follow a local soccer clinic for boys and girls right next door at the flex field.

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Sporting JAX, the United Soccer League franchise group bringing men’s and women’s professional soccer to Northeast Florida, worked with organizers of The Stateside Cup to host the clinic.

Sporting JAX co-owner Fred Taylor was part of similar youth clinics when he was a star running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. To him, this is a great opportunity to engage the community with soccer and some of its internationally famous players.

“The future of soccer in America is extremely bright,” Taylor said as the event was announced Tuesday. “Just to have an opportunity to capture these kids at such a young age — again it goes to the development side of things. If there is going to be a future, you want to make sure you developing these young stars right in your community, right in your backyard. I think this initiative is awesome. The Stateside Cup is brilliant, having the opportunity to see Wolves and West Ham go at it.”

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Sporting JAX technical director Mauricio Ruiz will lead the clinic for 300 youth players, with coaching by past and present players and coaches from the two soccer clubs.

“When you can connect what you are doing to where you want to go, you can bridge that gap,” Ruiz said. “And the opportunity for the clinic is that you get to be coached by coaches and players who have been there before, and then you go right next door to EverBank Stadium and actually get to see them in action. That is when you start connecting the dots for the kids. They can start seeing their dream come to fruition.”

Sporting JAX co-owner Fred Taylor, left, and technical director Mauricio Ruiz watch a soccer demonstration by members of the All Nations Soccer Academy on Tuesday, June 25. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today
Sporting JAX co-owner Fred Taylor, left, and technical director Mauricio Ruiz watch a soccer demonstration by members of the All Nations Soccer Academy on Tuesday, June 25. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today

Sporting JAX is part of the United Soccer League. Its women’s team will compete in the USL Super League in 2025, and its men’s side is expected to kick off in the USL Championship in 2026.

Along with Taylor, the ownership group includes Tim Tebow, Ricky Caplin, Steve Livingstone and Tony Allegretti. The club’s motto is “Lift Every Voice,” the Black National Anthem composed in 1900 by Jacksonville natives James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson.

Taylor says community engagement was a priority when he came on board,

“We speak about lift every voice, making sure we are all inclusive to all areas of the First Coast,” Taylor said. “To be able to have a sports clinic and talk about youth development, I think that’s a big thing, and really just trying to find different ways to give back.”

Members of the All Nations Soccer Academy, wearing West Ham or Wolves game jerseys, pose with Sporting JAX co-owner Fred Taylor, left, and technical director Mauricio Ruiz during the announcement of the youth soccer clinic. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today

About the games

The Wolves and West Ham will play at 7 p.m. July 27. The game will be followed by a match July 31 in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, with the Wolves against Crystal Palace FC. Then West Ham and Crystal Palace will compete Aug. 3 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. An inaugural Stateside Cup trophy will be awarded to the top performing team.

Tickets to the EverBank Stadium game range from $35 to $200. For more details, or to buy tickets, go to statesidecup.com.

The youth clinic will be from 5 to 6 p.m. on game day at the air conditioned flex field. Registration is $65 per child ages 4 to 18 and includes a ticket to The Stateside Cup. Family and friends of clinic participants also can purchase more game tickets, discounted for $55, when registering their child for the clinic. Go here for more information and to register.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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