By Kate Quesada

It is an exciting time to be a member of the The Florida Hawks Futball Club (FHFC). Three teams from the club’s competitive program recently brought home first place trophies from the Bazooka Soccer Junior Showcase tournament in Winter Haven and new board members and coaches have an inspiring vision for the future of youth soccer in the area.
Teams in the boys’ U8, U9 and U10 age groups all took first place in the tournament after playing four games each against clubs from around the region over the weekend of March 18 and 19.

“We attribute these wins to three things,” said Juan De Brigard, who recently took over as director of coaching for the club. “First, good coaching, second a promising group of talented players and finally support of their parents. Without the commitment of the parents, we wouldn’t have anything.”

FHFC, based at the FishHawk Sports Complex on FishHawk Blvd., offers soccer programs for players from fives years old to adults, with recreational and competitive teams for girls and boys. The competative program consists of 22 teams of players from 8 to 16 years old, organized by birth year, who are professionally coached to play in the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) league with games and tournaments throughout the region from the fall until early May. There is also a pre-academy program for six and seven year old players.

The club recently named a new board, in addition to making changes on the coaching side, and staff and members are working hard to make a name for the club in the area.

“We have refocused our efforts towards becoming a community service to the families in the FishHawk neighborhoods and surrounding area; and not just being a soccer club,” said Board President Tom Cool.

To that goal, the club recently invited the community to a Spring Kick Off event with food trucks, games and prizes where they collected used soccer equipment for the Fund For Armenian Relief (FAR).

But while De Brigard, who has more than 30 years experience teaching and coaching soccer from the professional level down to elementary school aged players, predicts that in five years the club will have teams that are consistently among the best in the state, he also emphasizes that this isn’t his only goal.

“The trend in youth soccer is to create huge clubs, but I have enough experience to know that quantity doesn’t always quality playing,” said De Brigard, who also coaches the University of South Florida women’s soccer team. “Quality playing comes from finding quality, engaged and dynamic coaches for the kids and giving them the right tools to create great players.”

The club will be holding try-outs for players interested in playing on its competitive teams the week of April 3 with a second date to be scheduled in May. Follow FHFC on Facebook for updated information about try-out dates and times or call 436-9377.

For more information on the club, visit www.floridahawksfc.com.