By Aaron Tomich/NPSL.com
From the smallest mustard-seed idea sprouted a strong and plentiful club.
That, in short, is the story of Pennsylvania Classics — one of the East Coast’s most prolific developmental soccer clubs, which will be fielding a 2022 expansion team into NPSL.
Officially founded in 2004, PA Classics was first derived from President and Co-Founder Doug Harris after having the idea to find or create a better, well-organized team of the community’s best young players, including his oldest son.
At the time, Harris was the coach for the local Franklin & Marshall College soccer team. His desire to be closer to his son’s play and development led to the idea that followed.
“I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to develop a club, a youth soccer club’?” said Harris. “I was learning more about it by watching my son. Being in the college soccer part, I didn’t really know much about soccer clubs for kids.”
After attending his son’s training sessions, Harris noticed areas for improvement on the developmental level, where he felt confident he could capitalize on these kids’ quick rate of learning, particularly the technical aspects of the game. Other parents approached Harris, seconding his thoughts to form a new club.
Fast forward, and Harris’ vision became a reality. After partnering with former Major League Soccer player Steve Klein, PA Classics grew to become the area’s top club for aspiring young soccer players. To date, the club has approximately 900 travel, 350 recreational, and 200 youth development players, with notable professional alumni, particularly that of U.S. Men’s National Team and Chelsea FC star Chrisian Pulisic.
In the spring, PA Classics will field a team competing in NPSL action, a move that excites Harris on many levels. First, Harris says that this team “furthers the vehicle” of the youth developmental track for these young players and their aspirations.
“What if we took all those best kids that are graduates of PA Classics and put them on one team, and invite some of the best kids in the community and mid-state to also come on board?” said Harris. “You put all of them together, what could that look like? NPSL allows us to do that and be able to enjoy what that product might look like.”
Harris anticipates the team will consist of mostly college-level players returning to join the team, and he is excited to see the second benefit of his new NPSL squad come to fruition. The PA Classics president says that this team is one for Lancaster and that it will be “a real fun [team] to watch” after creating what he calls an all-star environment within its roster.
The community connection with this new team is one that Harris said PA Classics hasn’t been able to do up until this point. The entire club itself was founded in the rural hills of southeastern Pennsylvania, and because of its complex, PA Classics Soccer Park, it has fully established a commitment to the growth of the sport in the Amish Country area.
Word has spread around the PA Classics alumni about the new formation of an NPSL team, which has garnered a heightened excitement ahead of the 2022 season.
“To be able to go back to those college and post-college kids, even adults that maybe never went to college who were very good soccer players, to see that smile back on their face, they are asking how they can try out for the team and are really excited for that opportunity,” said Harris.
There have been 15 players signed up for the team already and the PA Classics NPSL team looks forward to continuing development of top talent and competing, all while representing the Lancaster region as best as possible.
Photo Provided by PA Classics