Schedule Announced for the 2021 USL Academy League: Atlantic Division
Nine teams will kick off the season on June 6
TAMPA, Fla. - The United Soccer League (USL) announced today the schedule for the 2021 Academy League season for the Atlantic Division. The division’s first matchup will be between VBR Star and Charlotte Eagles on June 6.
The Atlantic Division will consist of nine clubs that represent at least one senior team from each of the three tiers of USL competition. The clubs participating in the inaugural season of the USL Academy League are the Charlotte Eagles, Charlotte Independence, Combine Rush Academy, NC Fusion, North Carolina FC, Tri-Cities Otters, VBR Star, Virginia Beach United, and Wake FC.
By design, the USL Academy League season is structured around the seasons of the senior teams in order to give players the best chance of training and potentially playing at a higher level.
To get ready for the Atlantic Division 2021 season, here’s a look at three clubs and how they’re going about building their USL Academy pathways & programming:
There are a lot of opportunities to compete at the highest level for those in the North Carolina FC youth network, and now more than ever with the addition of the USL Academy League. With teams in both USL League One and the National Women’s Soccer League in the pro ranks, North Carolina FC provides a direct pathway to the professional level for its youth talent. For the 2021 season, North Carolina FC’s First Team has joined USL League One to create even more opportunities for its top youth talent to compete at the professional level. Currently, North Carolina FC has 15 USL Academy signings on its senior team.
Tri-Cities Otters is planning to use its new USL Academy side to strengthen relationships with the surrounding youth clubs in its area to create a foundation for the local talent to have a pathway to the senior team. The club is planning to use the pipeline to identify and provide the top teens the opportunity to train and play at the highest level in the organization. Tri-Cities Otters is also providing coaching education resources free-of-charge through a collaboration with the Tennessee State Soccer Association.
“Investing in coaching education is the best way to help improve the coaching and the future of our young players,” said Otters Head Coach David Strickland. “This is the most impact we can have as the Otters Academy to help develop new talent on multiple levels through coaching education.”
Charlotte Independence oversaw and guided one of the largest youth club mergers under its banner two years ago. Now, the club uses the established local youth network to identify the top talent in the area to feed its USL Academy team with stars with potential to make the jump to the USL Championship side. The Independence have already seen success with their academy through the team’s success in the USL Academy Cup East Regional Event in early 2020 and at the USL League Two side where the U23 team plays. Through the multiple tiers the Independence offer, top talent in the area has a multitude of opportunities to grow to the professional level and different paces best suited to their needs.
The Atlantic Division will see a strong competition throughout the season between established youth networks and dedicated organizations in the area.
To view the entire Atlantic Division schedule, click here.
Roanoke, VA. - Michael Lobbo will join the VBR Star staff as a Technical Trainer. His position will include running technical sessions for our Chanpionship and Premiership teams u11-15, in addition to their regularly schedule team trainings. More details will come out during the summer.
We are excited to partner with Lobbo, as he is very passionate about the technical aspect of young players, which goes in line with our club philosophy of helping players “Achieve their Next Level.”
“Better technical ability will help players make quicker decisions, which will help the overall speed of play throughout the club, I look forward to working with Lobbo on this new project.” - DOC Chris McClellan
Roanoke, VA. - VBR Star welcomes Lizzie Boone as the Director of Female Development for the upcoming 2021/2022 season. Lizzie’s passion for the game is a big reason for having her in a position such as this, and VBR Star hopes the young female players in the club will seek the same passion for the game. In this position, Lizzie will work specifically to help the female players grow in their technical skills, as well as their relational skills. All female players will train a minimum of one hour per week with her during the season. Lizzie played her club soccer at Star, and went on to play collegiately at King University.
“Lizzie is the type of coach and mentor for the young ladies in our club, that will get to know each player personally, and will have a positive impact on the culture of the female game here in Roanoke. “ DOC Chris McClellan
VBR Star Soccer Club All Girls Clinic!
We are excited to announce a FREE all girls clinic that will take place every Tuesday in April at Kroger Soccer Park! The goal is to encourage and empower girls through soccer. Players born between 2010 - 2006 can register! Any female player playing youth soccer in the Roanoke Valley. All players need to wear soccer cleats and shin guards, bring their own water, and soccer ball. If you have any questions about the program please contact Noah Jefferson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: Kroger Soccer Park site 1: 2102 Highland Farm Road or site 2: 2350 Ranch Road (you will receive email update about field location prior to practices)
Dates: April 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
Erin Saleeby, Head Coach @ Ferrum College, April 13th
Cameron Keating, Assistant Coach @ UNC, April 20th
Lisa Buckley, Head Coach @ E&H, April 27th
VBR Star Joins USL Academy League
Roanoke, Va. club will participate in the Atlantic Division’s inaugural season
Roanoke, VA. - The United Soccer League (USL) today announced VBR Star as the latest club to join the USL Academy League. Based in Roanoke, Va., the club’s Academy team will compete in the Atlantic Division of the USL Academy League beginning in 2021.
“I’m thrilled to welcome VBR Star to the USL Academy platform,” said USL Sr. Director of Youth Development Liam O’Connell. “The addition of the Academy League’s elite level of play to the club’s competition schedule is sure to bolster their efforts to grow the game in southwest Virginia, and I look forward to seeing VBR Star continue to lead the way in creating a pathway from youth to professional soccer for players in the region.”
Established in 1986, VBR Star’s location makes it one of the main attractions for the best young players in its region, drawing talent from a wide-ranging area. The club owns Kroger Soccer Park, a complex which features six grass soccer fields. VBR Star sides also compete in the highly-competitive Club Champions League.
“VBR Star Soccer Club is committed to developing soccer in this region,” said the club’s Executive Director Danny Beamer. “This gives our players and club another awesome avenue to grow. We’re looking forward to working with the USL and the new USL Academy League.”
“VBR Star is excited to join the USL Academy League in its inaugural season, and we look forward to what the future holds for the youth-to-professional model in southwest Virginia,” added the club’s Director of Coaching and Player Development Chris McClellan.
The USL Academy platform’s collaborative approach to youth development will allow the club’s best players to seamlessly compete in multiple competitions, while getting exposure to the top prospects at clubs with senior teams in the USL Championship, USL League One and USL League Two.
VBR Star will handle tryouts for the USL Academy team internally for current VBR players. Players from outside of VBR Star are welcome to tryout for the upcoming season. USL Academy will be in addition to their current club league play. Team creation will take place in Feburary with training starting in March. Please contact Director Of Coaching, Chris McClellan, at email@example.com for more information and/or to set up a tryout.
All VBR players will compete in the USL in addition to their current CCL teams.
VBR Star is looking into future opportunities offered by USL regarding Girls' USL-A.
As VBR Star joins the USL Academy League, the club’s leadership is currently exploring the potential of bringing a senior professional team to Roanoke, which could feature in USL League One.
To learn more about the USL Academy League, visit www.usl-academy.com/academy-league.
We are partnering with The Rescue Mission of Roanoke this holiday season as we participate in their annual toy drive! Your donations will make a difference in the lives of children of all ages at the Rescue Mission.
Items requested: Sports Balls, Toys, Art Supplies, Gift Cards, Movie Passes, Books, & Ipods/Earbuds.
Please drop off your (unwrapped) donations at Roanoke SoccerStop by December 14th!
Call (540) 343-7227 for more information
We are excited to announce the new partnership between VBR Star and Valley United to host the Kimoyo Cup on August 22nd and 23rd. The current health crisis from COVID-19 created many...
"It Does Not Matter What League You Play In."
VBR Star Soccer Club March 24th, 2020
VBR Star Families,
After hearing the Governor speak yesterday, we will continue to follow all state and federal guidelines during the Covid19 time frame, and postpone recreational activities. ALL VBR programs will be suspended until April 23rd. By that point, we will hope to have more answers, and be able to guide you in the direction of what will be going on.
Our goals and objectives for Spring Programming, is that we are able to push everything back, even if it falls into the summertime. We believe that it is important to get the players back into a structured environment, and believe that this may create some hope for them, that will create a positive work ethic during this down time.
While we are still in isolation, please make sure to stay connected through our Social Media platforms. We will be continuing to challenge players in different ways, in order to keep our club culture strong during a time that could tear us apart.
· Player Development Projects—Like the one sent out by coaches last week, to watch a game and break it down. Great to do with your parents.
· Skill Acquisition Videos—Things you can do at home with the ball.
· Social Media Challenges—Let us know if you have any that we should try.
Tryouts: All tryout dates are remaining as scheduled, but will be tentative, as we may need to adjust dates and times. Please do your best to get registered, www.vbrstar.com. Even with these setbacks now, we are looking to grow and build our programs for the upcoming Fall season. Please get any new players to register as well. We will have several club informational promotions going out through social media in the upcoming month to help families in the conversations you may have.
Pro23—As of yesterday, the CCL communicated that the Pro23 season is on as scheduled. Players looking to player this summer (U16-Current Collegiate Players), can register online, www.vbrstar.com.
If you are looking for Summer programming, VBR will be hosting three camps during the months of June & July.
· Full Day Camp—June 8-12, $250
· Goalkeeping & Finishing Camp (Half Day)—June 22-26, $150
· Half Day Camp—July 13-17th-- $150
Please let us know if you have any questions. Please know that it is our primary objective, is to get the players out on the field, even if it takes us into a time of the year that is outside of our normal dates. All Spring programs have the ability to be pushed back, even in a modified format.
We miss being out on the fields with the players, hopefully the time comes sooner than later that we will be able to be out on the field again. We value your commitment to our club, and appreciate your patience during this time of uncertainty.
Director of Coaching & Player Development
2002 Highland Farm Rd. NW
Roanoke, VA 24017
540-345-7820 ext. 106
March 14th, 2020
VBR Star suspends all soccer programs until March 27th
As mentioned in previous communication with staff and membership, we are committed to the health and safety of our players, coaches and families. From the start, we have been committed to following the information provided by our local government regarding the Condiv-19.
VBR Star Soccer Club will be suspending play until March 27th, 2020. By March 27th, we will reevaluate our situation, and determine if more time is necessary to help combat this tough illness, or if we will be able to determine a specific return date for our players. Our decisions to move forward will be based upon the school system and guidance from our governing soccer bodies.
The uncertainty of it all can be overwhelming, and our staff would like to continue to evaluate the situation, in order to help players, return to a safe and accepting playing environment.
This is a complex situation, that many of us look at with uncertainty and lack of knowledge. Our best decisions are based around the local government, and the league we participate in. With our club culture comprised of players from so many different schools and localities, we encourage all families to also understand their own needs.
Below is a list of all VBR Star Soccer programs that will be impacted by this decision. Return date for each program may differ, as outside influences may have a different return date in place.
- Elite & Championship Teams (u11-u15 Boys and Girls)
- Youth Academy (u5-u10 Boys and Girls)
- Botetourt Youth Academy (u7-u10)
- Club Champions League Games
- VYSA ODP
Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have a question regarding this situation, please feel free to contact the VBR Star office during regular business hours as it will remain open. Coaches and managers will remain in communication with the teams, as needed throughout the break, please keep an eye out for updates.
October 24th, 2019
For Immediate Release.
VBR Star Soccer Club is excited to announce a new partnership with major grocery store retailer, Kroger, as the main facility sponsor of the fields at Countryside Sportsplex. As of October 1st, the complex will officially be called Kroger Soccer Park. VBR Star and Kroger have been working together as a tournament and training...
For the 27th consecutive year we are sending groups to the Gothia Cup! Considered the youth World Cup, the tournament brings in over 1700 teams from over 80 countries! Three teams from our club will represent in the Swedish capital early next month as our 03 Boys, 04 Boys, and 05 Girls are making the...
May 11th | 4-8 PM | Valley View Mall
Support VBR Star Soccer Club by eating at Panera ( Valley View Mall location) on Saturday, May 11th from 4 - 8 PM! Panera will donate 20% of your meal when you show our flyer. This is a perfect option for dinner after Day 1 of the Kimoyo Cup!
You can Order Online and still have your order count towards the fundraiser by using "PRFUND" in the promo code box!
Looking for more information on the CCL divisions our club plays in? Check out the following descriptions:
CCL PRO23 - Top level high school players along with current and former collegiate players. 2018 Mens Champions. Compete against SOCA, FC Richmond, VDA, Loudoun, Richmond Strikers.
CCL Premiership - VBR Star Elite Teams compete against top teams from across VA, MD, & DC. Includes top class showcases, festivals, and Adidas tournaments. Competition against the following clubs: SOCA, Arlington, Loudoun, Alexandria...
Winning vs Losing
VBR Star’s approach to developing players at younger ages, and goal of creating a pathway for players to reach the next level.
This is a one of the most highly debated topics in youth soccer and sports. One that can define a club’s long term viability, or short term success. As a parent of players, I understand the desire of wanting your child’s personal and team success. Being one of the more competitive coaches you will ever meet, I put my focus for players into being the best individually and showing improvement within the...
The College Recruiting Process
Roanoke, VA (April 19th, 2019) - “Helping Players Achieve Their Next Level.” The VBR full time staff, along with the coaches have adopted this phrase over the past few years. Our ultimate objective is to help players of all levels, reach their goals.
For some young players, the goal may be as simple as playing at the high school level and being one of the players to lead their community team to success. But for others, the goal may be...
CCL Championship Expands To West Divison!
Roanoke, VA (April 16th, 2019) – VBR Star Soccer Club is excited to announce our participation in the CCL Championship West Division beginning in the Fall of 2019. Clubs participating in this new division will include: Central Virginia United (CVU; Lynchburg, VA), New River United (NRU; Blacksburg, VA), Shenandoah Valley United (SVU; Harrisonburg, VA), and VBR Star (VBR; Roanoke, VA).
The West Divison will be regionally based, also including games against teams currently playing in the CCL...
The Tryout Process
Roanoke, VA (April 12th, 2019) – The late Spring across the United States is one of the hardest times for youth soccer staffs. It is chaotic trying to finish the Spring season, but also get players organized for the Fall season, and also dealing with the school year is ending.
The ultimate goal is to place players in a team/training environment that will allow them to be successful for the entire year. Here at Star, we have three different ways to place...
Roanoke, VA (April 5th, 2019) – On Tuesday, April 2nd, we were recognized by Visit VBR as receipents of the annual Patrick A. Mcmahon tourism ambassador award. This award is given to an individual or individuals for their outstanding efforts, dedication, and support towards the promotion of the region and its many tourism attributes.
Pictured above is Executive Director, Danny Beamer, and Director of Coaching, Chris McClellan recieving the reward.
VBR Star now has 3 Youth Academy Locations for Spring 2019!
Roanoke, VA (February 26th, 2019) – VBR Star Soccer Club is thrilled to announce 3 locations for our 2019 Spring Youth Academy in Roanoke, Botetourt, and Franklin County! VBR Star Youth Academy is a great place for players who are looking to get involved in soccer or continue their soccer education....
Supplemental tryouts scheduled for today, 1/21, have been postponed due to weather to next Monday, 1/28 at 5:30 PM, at Patrick Henry High School soccer stadium.
Please reach out to our Director of Coaching, Chris McClellan, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding supplemental tryouts.
VBR Star Soccer Club began in 1986 with the aim to become the premier youth soccer club in the Roanoke Valley. Over the course of 35 years, it has grown to over 1200 kids and 52 travel teams, competing in some of the top youth soccer leagues on the east coast, ECNL - Regional League and NPL.