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New Brand, Same Purpose: Develop Young Talent

By Staff, 08/24/21, 3:00PM EDT


Pathfinder FC may be a new name, but the club has a history of producing stars with unique pathway

Photo courtesy of Pathfinder FC

NEW YORK - Pathfinder FC’s name may be new to the New York soccer scene, but the Dutchess County-based soccer club formerly known as FC Malaga City New York is embracing its new identity while maintaining the historic success the club has found in player development for almost a decade.

Focused on creating a more genuine pathway for its players, Pathfinder FC is determined to provide the experience needed for athletes to take the next step in their careers whether it’s collegiate or professional soccer.

“Our name is our story,” said Pathfinder FC Owner Colin McComb. “We're about finding pathways for young dedicated athletes.”

Pathfinder FC has multiple opportunities for players at different levels of competition and commitment. It offers a non-pay-to-play youth development program where local players can grow their skills, regardless of background. There is also a full-time residential program that competes within the USL Academy space, allowing elite talent from across the country and world to come and learn and play at a high level.

The residency program also creates a unique bond within the team atmosphere, according to McComb.

“There's a feeling of community. We've created an environment where that community and bonding extends into the classroom and extends into residential life,” he said. “Probably a third of our academy program is residential, so the rest of the players come from the local area and commute in to take part at the Academy.

“By having a residential program, we can attract players from all over the country. And by having an academic program, we can attract players from all over the world because it gives us the opportunity to offer Visa status to come here for our academic program.”

Photo courtesy of Pathfinder FC

The USL Academy League now provides a season that matches the season at the professional level in the USL Championship and League One, starting in March and finishing finals in December. Exposing young players to a professional system serves to propel player development, maintaining the rhythm of a traditional 10-month season. Players have the opportunity to train and play at the senior team level, regardless of age and the team’s professional status, without affecting college eligibility.

To continue the pathway within the Pathfinder system, the club has a side in League Two, the pre-professional platform of the USL. Through this platform, Pathfinder can play its elite academy talent at a more advanced level against a variety of experienced players before they are ready to make the jump to professional play.

“Our League Two team is an extension of our academy,” said McComb. “We really want to showcase our Academy members in League Two but it's a big challenge for them. The results of our League Two team are not what our focus is. Developing our Academy members and finding that those pathways for them, that's our focus. It needs to be about finding pathways for those players.”

Photo courtesy of Pathfinder FC

In addition to providing residency and on-campus education, Pathfinder FC offers a unique experience for players to travel and train in Spain for three months of the season, while still participating in academics. The club takes its team to Europe during the offseason to further develop and expose them to different opportunities.

By separating from FC Malaga City, Pathfinder FC has opened the doors to forming more relationships with multiple clubs in Europe. Three of the academy’s standout players are currently on trial with a second-division club in Tarragona, Spain. 

The unique opportunity has proven to be greatly influential for the athletes and coaches who participate. Players get to train at the professional level in a new environment while learning from the best coaches and staff.

Pathfinder FC has forged a pathway from local youth soccer through the elite academy system to pre-professional, and on to the college or pro circuit. The distinctive opportunities Pathfinder gives its players has and will continue to produce talent with plenty of experience to excel.

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