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Intro to the Development Phase with Conor Ward

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Intro to the Development Phase with Conor Ward

On July 13, 2020, Posted by , In AYSO United News, With No Comments

AYSO United Pacific Director of Coaching and Development Phase Leader Conor Ward gives an inside look into AYSO United’s newest program.


Players in the club (U14-U19)

To all our AYSO United members and those interested in joining our club. My name is Conor Ward, Director of Coaching for AYSO United Pacific and National Development Phase Director. I’m delighted to see the Development Phase program here at AYSO United start to take off and want to take this platform to provide you more information on the program. You will find below all the information you need to know about myself, the program, and how AYSO United players can benefit from the Development Phase.


About Conor Ward Development Phase Director

  • BSc Football Coaching, Youth Development Management (University of South Wales, UK)
  • UEFA B License
  • Director of Coaching AYSO United Pacific + National Development Phase Director
  • Pro Soccer Consulting Coach. Player Performance Analyst (combine events)
  • Irvine Valley College Men’s Assistant

What is the Development Phase?

The Development Phase is a program launched by AYSO United’s to support players aged 14-19 as they prepare for their next avenues in soccer. Starting with preparation for High School Soccer, and then branching off into a professional pathway or a college pathway. The program is aimed at both.


What to expect?

Players will be offered support, education, guidance and genuine pathways into the college or pro game once they start their Freshman year all the way through to High School graduation. Players will be provided a detailed timeline of events and recruiting dates they should be aware of, as well as direct access to talk with Development Phase Directors or National Staff.

The Development Phase program is aimed at helping individuals within our teams who are aspiring to play beyond the club circuit, whether that be at the collegiate level, or professional.


College +

For players looking to extend their playing careers whilst remaining in full-time education, the college pathway is best. For these players, we will work to assist with college applications, making direct contact with coaches through our own networks, and educating players on college life, and all they need to know on what it is like to be a college soccer player.

In the college world, there is a school for everyone! Players always look to the perceived top levels at NCAA D1 and the reality is that there is a lot to offer across the levels and different institutions. Our players will be encouraged and educated on how to approach schools across the NCAA, NAIA NJCAA. We want to help as many youth players reach their dreams of playing in College.

AYSO United players taking part in the Orange County College Showcase in March.

Pro +
On the Pro side, our players looking to advance either straight from High School or College into the Professional ranks will be able to take advantage of our partnership with acclaimed placement company Pro Soccer Consulting (PSC).

PSC is America’s leading company for placing players professionally with over 475 examples of professional trials and placements achieved in the last 7 years across Europe, Asia, America and Australasia.

Tom Taylor, Director for PSC, has playing experience in the professional game spanning from Europe to America, as well as coaching experience in the USL with Wilmington Hammerheads and Tulsa Roughnecks. Tom has worked for AYSO United Central for 4 years and is deeply passionate about giving players opportunities to showcase and earn professional contracts through the experiences that PSC offer. Already we are seeing the benefits for United players which I will detail further below.

PSC organizes and hosts 10 – 15 professional try-out events each year with invited Professional Coaches, scouts and directors from leagues such as MLS, USL, EPL, Championship Scandinavian top-flight leagues. Additionally, PSC offers Showcase tours for players wanting a longer experience for 10-14 nights in different locations around the world including Asia, Spain Scandinavia and the UK. During these showcase tours players are coached by elite professional coaches whilst competing against, and showcasing to, professional clubs in each country.

AYSO United Arizona players featured in the latest PSC Combine alongside Conor Ward and Tom Taylor, PSC Director and AYSO United Central 2005.

The company also has a UPSL Men’s and U23 Development team in Southern California that is made up of talented players looking to make their way into the professional ranks. Players in these squads benefit from the opportunity to work with the PSC Staff 3-4 times a week, train in a professional environment and get educated on the levels of professionalism required to play at the top level. Players perform in competitive leagues, ultimately preparing for the try-out events, where players can potentially graduate to earn Professional contracts across the globe.

To learn more about the Development Phase Program, visit www.aysounited.org/development-phase-program/.

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