Armada FC Youth Academy History

 
 
Club History
 

1977 - 2000

The Beaches Soccer Association was organized in the fall of 1977 by a group of parents associated with Offshore Power Systems. There were 220 boys and girls in the program that first season. In the spring of 1995 the membership team representatives voted to establish our name as First Coast Soccer Association. They felt this name change more accurately described the demographics of the club which attracted players from all over the First Coast and beyond. A new era of the Association began in September of 1990 with the dedication of the San Pablo fields, followed by the men’s adult league being formed in 1990 and the women’s league in 1998.

 

2001 – 2009

As soccer grew in popularity and the City of Jacksonville in population, it was identified that more soccer facilities were needed. First Coast Soccer Association, with the help of the City Council, developed the master plan for the First Coast Soccer Complex at Patton Park. After much hard work by many members, City Councilmen and a grant from the City of Jacksonville, First Coast Soccer Association played its first season at Patton Park in 2001. Through First Coast Soccer Association financing and ongoing community support, Patton Park became an outstanding facility with 6 lit full size fields, 1 lit full size stadium field and 3 unlit junior fields.

 

2010 – 2011

In an effort to unite the entire youth soccer community throughout northeast Florida and create competitive boy and girl teams that could compete on state-wide and regional levels, the leadership team of First Coast Soccer Association established Jacksonville United FC as a highly strategic program that combined players from different youth soccer clubs throughout the city.  This project allowed the club to grow the sport and become more competitive on a larger stage. 

Furthermore, Jacksonville United FC also launched a 4th Division semi-pro team in the National Professional Soccer League so that male college bound amateur soccer players had a national platform to play during summer breaks from college.  In 2011, Jacksonville United FC won the National Professional Soccer League National Championship and still continues to compete in this league as the Jacksonville Armada FC U23’s. 

 

2012 – 2015

After a successful launch of Jacksonville United FC and due to the continued explosive popularity of youth soccer throughout northeast Florida, the leadership team of First Coast Soccer Association reunited with Jacksonville United FC in 2012 to create a new name - Jacksonville FC.  Under the direction of the area’s first youth club Executive Director, JFC began earning the highest caliber youth leagues in the United States. 

In 2012, JFC was awarded the United States Soccer Federation Boys U14 Developmental Academy and only two years later, JFC was awarded the U12 and U13 Developmental Academy Programs to begin play in the fall of 2016.  Also in 2013, JFC partnered with Ponte Vedra Soccer Club on a girl’s pilot program titled JFC Storm that ultimately resulted in the expansion of the 2014 girls JFC Storm program from 2 to 10 teams.  In 2015, the JFC Storm program earned acceptance into the prestigious Girls Elite Club National League (ECNL) and began play in 2015 with 5 teams.

Because of this growth and through the assistance of the 2001 City of Jacksonville grant, Patton Park received funding to construct 2 new lit full sized fields, along with 120+ parking places and new bathrooms.  This brought the total number of Patton Park fields to 8 lit full size fields, 1 lit full size stadium field and 6 unlit junior fields.

 

2016

In 2014, professional soccer returned to northeast Florida in the form of The Jacksonville Armada FC as they joined the legendary North America Soccer League.  Proudly, Jacksonville FC established a partnership with The Armada that eventually led to a re-branding of the youth club in 2016.

 

Not only in 2016 did JFC re-brand their image to mirror the professional franchise, it also collaborated with two other like-minded local youth clubs to establish a new youth club name – Jacksonville Armada FC Youth Academy.  Starting with the fall 2016 season, The Jacksonville Armada FC Youth Academy will consist of players, staff, leaders and volunteers from Jacksonville FC, Ponte Vedra SC and Arlington FC.  Along with the influx of excited youth soccer players, the Jacksonville Armada FC Youth Academy now has the ability to grow the sport in north central Duval County (Ed Austin Regional Park), eastern Duval County (Patton Park) and northeast St. John’s County (Davis Park) by adding over 12 new fields to the existing 16 fields.

 

Summary

Jacksonville Armada FC Youth Academy has been instrumental in bringing top-level soccer to Jacksonville and these events have had a significant economic impact on the city. In 1992, the inaugural First Coast Labor Day Shootout Tournament hosted over 80 teams from around the southeast and continues to be a popular season opening tournament with the total number of team registrations nearing 300.  It remains not only the oldest youth soccer tournament in northeast Florida, but also the largest.