Coaches and players at Florida Hawks Futbol Club are participating in a partnership with FC Deportivo, a soccer club in Trinidad and Tobago. The first part of this partnership is a uniform and equipment drive where Hawks families will donate items to the partner club.

At Florida Hawks Futbol Club, skills and winning games are important, but the club, which offers recreational and competitive soccer teams from age 4 to adult, also places a big focus on growing players off the field. To this end, the Hawks have recently made three exciting announcements that will help players learn in different ways.

The first is a partnership with FC Deportivo, a soccer club in Trinidad and Tobago. According to Director of Coaching Juan De Brigard, this long-term relationship will be a true partnership with the goal of offering players at both clubs a wider worldview.

“We expect that our players will learn a lot from seeing how a club in another part of the world operates,” he said.

De Brigard is starting the partnership with a uniform and equipment drive where Hawks families will pass no-longer-needed items to the other club, but he also plans to set up a coach exchange program where he and other members of the Hawks will travel to Trinidad and Tobago and representatives from there will come to FishHawk.

Florida Hawks FC was also recently recognized as a Players First licensed club, an honor given to few organizations nationwide after a rigorous application process.

According to De Brigard, the Players First membership requires that clubs are player-centered and provide support in five key areas: Club Development, Coaching Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety. Clubs applying for the Players First license, which must be renewed every two years, are reviewed by US Club Soccer.

“We believe this to be the most rigorous and comprehensive attempt in U.S. Soccer history to identify those clubs that have demonstrated a commitment to creating the kind of infrastructure and culture necessary to provide the best overall environment for players,” US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne said.

One of the ways the Hawks are offering development to players is through a new agreement with IMG Academy to be a part of the IMG Academy Affiliate Club Program. The program allows select players to gain exposure to IMG Academy training and performance plans and participate in up to 12 games in a seasonal year.

Try-outs for the club’s competitive teams are scheduled for early May.

For information on all these programs, visit www.floridahawksfc.com or contact De Brigard at doc@floridahawksfc.com.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.