• Story by Thomas Mims

Bluegrass Soccer Club partners with Kings Hammer Soccer Club to form Kings Hammer Bluegrass

For the first time since their founding in 2001, Bluegrass Soccer Club will have a new name. The club has begun a partnership with Kings Hammer Soccer Club and will be known as Kings Hammer Bluegrass moving forward. The move is expected to bring changes that will greatly improve the development and opportunities for local youth soccer players. “Kings Hammer Bluegrass will be about representing our community, reviving the Bluegrass brand and providing a positive culture,” said Kings Hammer Bluegrass General Manager and Technical Director Daniel Hensley. “Who we are will not change, but what we do and how we do it will be most affected. Setting and keeping high standards is hard but pays off for all of us in the long run. We realize that some changes may happen slower or faster than others and that’s okay.” Kings Hammer, a club that originates in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area, operates out of Wilder, Kentucky. The club has been existence for over 25 years and boasts a strong track record of both player and team success. Per their website, “Kings Hammer SC staff has arguably had more student athletes play college soccer than any other club program in the area.” The club’s self-proclaimed mission is to, “Provide our players with the best opportunities to develop successfully, by providing the highest level of soccer training, education and programming in the area. Kings Hammer SC provides all of its members the opportunity to contribute to, and benefit from, the positive learning environment.” When asked about the new benefits Kings Hammer Bluegrass players will have access to, Hensley said that the club will provide players with access to, “Club-centric programs as well as a clear development pathway that links all the way to the US Soccer Development Academy.” The US Development Academy program is one that focuses solely on player development with a goal of finding and developing elite talent without overly focusing on game results. Another immense benefit offered to KHB players will be gaining access to something Kings Hammer already has in place for their Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati players. Players will now have access to a college recruiting coordinator and software which allows for players to create and hone their individual player development program (PDP). This customization will allow players some agency in their growth as they develop new skills or refine their existing ones. The key to great player development is coaching, and this is another area Kings Hammer believes it can be of great benefit. Coaches will be afforded the opportunity to grow as they have access to feedback and constant coaching education. Development of both players and coaches has been a staple of Bluegrass in recent years, and a large portion of the BSC staff has stayed on through the transition into Kings Hammer. Director of Coaching Brandon Cummons has stayed on in the same role as the partnership moves forward. Cummons began his Director of Coaching tenure in the spring of 2018, taking over for Derek Willis. Willis now oversees player development for the entire state as the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association’s Director of Player Development. An optimistic Hensley said, “Together we will come together to raise the standard of our staff. We have fantastic leadership in place with Brandon and Assistant Director of Coaching Mike Hayes. I hope to add my guidance and expertise in club development to move everything forward together.” Hensley believes the biggest change to the current structure will come from the off the field decisions he will make. “Kings Hammer is trusting in me to lead this partnership in a positive direction with strong critical thinking and organization in order to grow and improve all club aspects,” said Hensley. The Kings Hammer structure breaks down into several programs. The Juniors program is for players under-7 and will be heavily focused on developing players technical skills as well as agility, balance, and coordination. The Youth program targets players between the under-7 and under-10 age groups where committed players will continue to grow and learn the game. The Academy program is for players 10 and up and will serve as a high-level development ground for players as they work on their games as they reach middle school and high school age. Here, players will be given the resources to grow their game to better prepare themselves for possible college careers. The top level of the development program offered by Kings Hammer will be access to the Cincinnati Development Academy and the FC Cincinnati Development Academy. Elite female players will be given a chance to play and grow in the Cincinnati Development Academy, and later this year FC Cincinnati’s MLS Development Academy will be an option for boys who possess elite talent and skills. Time will tell how much this partnership impacts the local club soccer scene, but Hensley says early feedback has been positive and full of excitement. “People are excited to add experienced soccer staff at the highest level and more importantly be working with an organization in Kings Hammer that has a proven track record of successes both on and off the field. To know that King Hammer will bring their full breadth and depth of support to make sure this partnership is a success is very reassuring for our players and parents.” Tryouts for the newest edition of club soccer in Versailles are underway as the 2009-2013 birth years tryouts are taking place this week. 2006-2008 birth year tryouts will be June 5 and June 6, and 2001-2005 birth years will be June 8 and June 10. All tryout times will be 6-7:30 p.m. The club requires players to register online at least 24 hours in advance of their tryout time. Any players who missed or will miss their tryout time are encouraged to register and then contact the director of the program/ or age group that they are trying out for. Supplemental tryouts will be held throughout the year as well for any late additions. Each player that participates in tryouts will receive a free tryout t-shirt per the Kings Hammer Bluegrass tryout information. All tryouts will be held at the WYSA soccer complex.

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