Yes, I’m proudly decked out in LAFC Chelsea gear as I bring you good news for the Club. And our U18 Academy team was also decked out in Chelsea gear as they beat the Men’s U17 National Team 1 – 0 on Saturday night. And make no mistake about it, we won that game. Last year, we beat the Mexican U17 National Team 2 – 1 and now the U.S. team. The message is clear. The top youth players in the country are being developed at LAFC. And our players’ development has now been enhanced by the partnership with Chelsea FC, in my opinion the top name in soccer in the world. A full press release follows but here are some of the specific ways LAFC will benefit from the partnership:

      • We will now be known as LAFC Chelsea, showing the world that CFC is behind our players. Our colors will change to blue and white and all teams will get new uniforms next season.
      • Chelsea will help us financially by providing some scholarships to economically disadvantaged players. They won’t contribute enough to cover all scholarships so we’ll still need to raise additional funds as we always have.
      • Annually, select players and coaches will be sent to England to be evaluated and trained by Chelsea. And annually, Chelsea coaches will come here to work with all of our coaches and kids.
      • Our girls’ program will be enhanced by the relationship with Chelsea’s womens’ program and CFC will help us with our new WPSL franchise next year.
      • We’ll get to participate in more international tournaments and Chelsea teams will come here to play friendlies with us.
      • There’s much more that will unfold over the next many months but one thing is very clear. Chelsea chose LAFC because we are the top youth club in the U.S. And we chose Chelsea because they are the top Club in the world. Here’s the text of the press release that went out.


Matt Dianella
[email protected]

Tian Lee
[email protected]


Chelsea Partner with Southern California Soccer Club
Bringing Elite Training to Underprivileged Youth

LONDON/LOS ANGELES—Chelsea Football Club announced today a partnership with Los Angeles Futbol Club (LAFC), one of the most decorated youth soccer academies in the U.S.

LAFC will now be LAFC Chelsea and host Chelsea tournaments, training sessions and a player and coach exchange program.

LAFC, a three-year-old club and academy based in La Canada, Calif., is the third club to partner with Chelsea this year, further expanding the English Premier League team’s network of top American youth soccer clubs.

As a result of the partnership, LAFC Chelsea will offer more scholarships for young athletes with financial hardship. LAFC provides kids across Southern California and throughout the country the opportunity to play competitive soccer regardless of ability to pay club membership costs.

Chelsea FC Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “Our youth super club network is designed to support soccer development in the US. LAFC shares the same goal and has demonstrated rapid growth of their club and talent.

“Since its inception, LAFC has provided young athletes the opportunity to play competitive soccer through financial support. With our new partnership, we hope that the association with Chelsea can attract and leverage additional funding scholarships, helping to further develop the academy and club.

“Providing elite training for young talent is critical to the long-term development of the sport in America.”

The club will make its debut under the new LAFC Chelsea nameplate when its U16 and U18 teams take on the US Youth National Teams on November 29 in Los Angeles.

LAFC President Don Sheppard said: “LAFC was created to provide an affordable option for skilled players to play top-tier club soccer. We’ve been able to reach out to economically disadvantaged communities to recruit some of the best talent in the US.

“For a world-renowned club like Chelsea to recognize our mission and be a part of it shows the caliber and quality of their organization and their commitment to develop US soccer.

“We are a young program and a partnership like this allows us to reach the next level on skill development, player participation and overall club exposure. We have a top-tier coaching staff and now with Chelsea our players will receive an international view of the game—something they may not have received otherwise.”

LAFC includes over 50 boys and girls teams with 800 players from ages eight to eighteen. Throughout the last year, the academy has placed seven players on US national team rosters.

Chelsea’s youth super club network began in July 2008 with the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) of North Carolina partnership. In November 2008, Chelsea announced a partnership with Match Fit Academy of New Jersey. LAFC is the third club to join Chelsea’s network.

1 / December / 2008  In the News 


#1 Bill Shannon on 12.01.08 at 2:31 pm

Congratulations Don and LAFC,
The whole club is a class act from the top to the bottom. I hope that this is the beginning of LAFC getting the recognition that they have deserved for so very long.

Keep it up!!!

#2 Richard Vaughn on 12.02.08 at 2:51 pm

Congratulations Don
This is great news for the club, especially on the women’s side. Excellent job!!!!

#3 Lupe Valencia on 12.03.08 at 3:13 am

This is a HUGE accomplishment, Don. Congratulations to you and the LAFC coaches and staff for bringing our kids such a great platform of opportunity! You are quite an inspirational and accomplished ambassador for LAFC.

#4 Lori Cappello on 12.03.08 at 4:50 pm

Don, I came straight home and read the LAFC website! What great adventures lie ahead for LAFC! Congratulations Sir, and our family look forward to being a part of this wonderful transition, and especially anxious to see what unfolds with the Women’s League!

Thank you for ALL that you do!

#5 Rick McDonald on 12.07.08 at 1:37 pm

Don, Congratulations on a phenomenal achievement and the well-deserved recognition this gives you, the Club and all of the coaches. Although this success is not surprising given your track record of success, it is still very inspirational and heartening to see. Thank you for all you do.

#6 Luis Briseno on 12.11.08 at 9:52 am

I’m not even part of LAFC but LAFC should be very proud that Chelsea chose LAFC!
Good luck next year!

#7 Hernan Villenas (Houstonians FC North U17b) on 12.21.08 at 12:45 pm

I am not member of the club but there is one thing I can say, my team is made out of young mexican-americans that they say the best soccer is not in Mexico but in Europe-England. Congratulations to LAFC members for the great accomplishment.

#8 Segun Abegunrin on 02.16.09 at 10:10 am

Don: Congratulations and keep up the good work. Thanks on behalf of the kids

Segun Abegunrin

#9 Will Celica on 03.28.09 at 10:29 am

Thanks Don,
We are so proud to be part of such an excellent soccer club. Chelsea is one of the best clubs in the World and for the future of our Kids. Thanks again for such a great move!

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