United Soccer Academy North, or USA North, is going on its fifth year of existence as a soccer club, and it is giving kids in the greater north Knoxville area an opportunity at high-level soccer.
Darrick Lubell, Director of Coaching at USA North, has been around soccer for 40 years. He grew up playing in Oak Ridge and has been coaching high-level club soccer in and around Knoxville for 20 years.
“At one point, a lot of soccer had kind of coalesced into just a couple of clubs. Then, for various reasons you had teams and people break off from those clubs, forming smaller groups,” said Lubell.
Lubell was one of those who broke off from the bigger clubs in order to provide quality soccer training to a segment that hadn’t been offered anything like that before.
“There was a big north Knox County population of players and kids that wanted to play club soccer, but realized that the drive to west Knoxville was really time consuming and costly,” said Lubell.
Thus, USA North is born.
What started out as two teams has now grown to upwards of 18 teams.
Some of these teams have already gone on to win state championships.
“It’s branched out to where we’ve now got both boys and girls teams from kids as young as five or six all the way up to 18 year olds.”
As USA North has grown, players in surrounding areas such as Norris, Clinton, Lake City and La Follette now have a way to get involved with club soccer.
And not only are these kids getting an opportunity to play soccer, they are getting the opportunity to get expert level training from highly qualified coaches.
“In our club, we promote coaching development,” said Lubell. “Our entire staff is certified through the national coaching system.”
Lubell highlighted the fact that his staff is one of the most committed and hard working around, regularly going above and beyond the pay grade.
Lubell has pieced together a highly licensed staff to provide superior training at, generally, a fraction of what some soccer clubs charge.
USA North is coming to a stage where some of the players are graduating high school and pursuing college soccer.
USA North has given several players the skills they need to play at the collegiate level, and Lubell is certain that there will be many more to pursue it in the future.
USA North will be hosting summer soccer camps mid June and mid July.
There are also informal tryouts for anyone that can’t make it to the formal ones.
Lubell’s advice to anyone thinking about whether it could be a good fit for them or not is to just come check it out.
Lubell also said that soccer is a great sport for not only staying in shape, but also for developing as a person and learning how to grow as a team player and master something.
For more information or to get involved, email Darrick Lubell at Darrick.Lubell@gmail.com.