World Cup Champion Hope Solo joins forces with Tudela FC LA (TFCLA), an all-girls club in Los Angeles founded to close the gender gap in training, facilities and attention to development that exists in youth soccer between boys and girls, and tackle the pay-to-play model that makes club soccer unaffordable for many families.
Solo will support the club through mentoring and visits to the girls throughout the season. She will also provide promotional support through content and social media to increase awareness for the team’s mission and show what is possible despite the challenges of soccer’s pay-to-play structure.
TFC was founded in 2017 and achieved immediate success in its first season with the Club’s 2005, 2006, and 2007 teams going undefeated in league play and winning their divisions.
“TFC is proof of what can be achieved when clubs make an equal commitment to developing the best talent and making the game accessible to all,” says Solo. “TFC recognizes these goals are one and the same, even though it means a lot more work and investment from the club. Sadly, our current system has made the sport out of reach for so many and TFC is trying to change that for girls in L.A.”
TFC is the creation of a former stand-out player at Indiana University, 33-year-old Jacob Tudela, a coach for the past 11 years with various clubs in Los Angeles including Beach Futbol Club, Los Angeles United Futbol Club, Downtown Soccer Club, and South Bay Force. Joining Tudela is Chelsea Braun, 26, former National Champion at UCLA and TFC Youth Academy Director.
Together, they’ve built a competitive program for girls 9-13 and and a fully subsidized recreational program for girls 6-8. The club operates under a hybrid financial model that funds its programs, in part, by families who can pay, and by sponsorships, grants, and fundraising.
Unlike other clubs that allocate a certain number of scholarships per each of its teams, TFC allocates scholarships by need across the entire program.
“If we can’t break the pay-to-play model of youth soccer, we’re determined to bend it into something better,” said Tudela. “To have a champion like Hope Solo, someone who has been fighting so hard for reform in our sport, recognize the work we’re doing means so much. It’s a testament to the dedication of every coach, parent and kid in our program and their belief in our mission.”
“We want to be a model for youth development and make our club a vehicle for social change, said Braun. “We’re not looking to build hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in reserves. We’re looking at what we need to operate our business, pay our coaches and staff a competitive salary – and then invest the rest back into the kids. If we truly want to find and develop our best talent, this is the future of youth soccer.”