For more than two decades, Aztec Soccer Club has been a mainstay in the soccer club industry with a stable and consistent presence in towns and communities north of Boston. From day one, Aztec Soccer has focused on training individual players to be the best soccer players, people, and leaders they can be. Our experienced and dedicated coaching staff shares a collective focus on instilling a passion for the game in even our youngest players and fostering long-term development and a lifelong love for the game. Off the field, we focus on teaching core values that impact the overall character of each individual player.
To wit, as a club, we realize that our actions and words send a message about what is important. We aim to run a program in which the following core values are constantly emphasized and reaffirmed by what we say and how we act. We strive to instill these values in our players in such a way that they ultimately learn from their soccer experiences that there is depth to life and sport beyond merely winning or losing.
Mission: Aztec Soccer focuses on training individual players to be the best soccer players, and people, they can be. Our experienced and dedicated coaching staff instills a passion for the game in even our youngest players, to help foster long-term development and a lifelong love for the game. Off the field, we focus on teaching core values that impact the overall character of each individual player.
Core Values: As a club, we realize that our actions and words send a message about what is important. We aim to run a program in which the following core values are constantly emphasized. We strive to instill these values in our players in such a way that they ultimately learn from their soccer experiences that there is depth to life and sport beyond merely winning or losing.
Commitment: Towards the complete journey
Passion: Playing and teaching the game
Respect: All voices
Community: Built on trust
Positivity: Creating an inclusive environment
Resilience: Building strong character
Here is a brief summary of the history of Aztec Soccer Club. The club's history is steeped in more than two decades of tradition (unique for Bay State based clubs) and excellence and has been at the forefront of nearly every major advancement and development in local club soccer dating back to 2000.
1987: Club soccer was introduced in Massachusetts
2000: Aztec Soccer club was officially formed
2005: The Soccer Tots program launched, a program aimed at providing soccer skills programs to players under the age of 6. This program would effectively give the club a developmental pathway from age 18 months to post high school.
The same year the club entered its first team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League, made up of local college graduates: some of our newly graduated women coaches on staff (Christy McHugh, Caitlin Leary and Kristin Macdonald): along with our senior level players in the club.
2006: Aztec founded the Aztec Boston team that competed in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), a national amateur league at the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Eastern Atlantic Division. The team played its final season in 2009.
Aztec Boston became the reserve team for the Breakers organization that same year. One of the major goals for the club to take on the Reserve role was to help continue to establish our girls’ youth program as one of the premier programs in New England.
2007: A merger between New England Soccer School and Aztec Soccer resulted in the formation of New England Aztec
2008: Aztec was one of founding member clubs of the New England Premiership
2009: The Aztec U23 Women's Team was named the reserve team for the Boston Breakers
2010: The Aztec U23 Women's Team captured the WPSL National Championship
2011: Aztec teams were accepted into the NPL division of the New England Premiership
The WPSL and our affiliation with the Breakers gave Aztec youth players and their families an opportunity to house players from all different parts of the country along with multiple internationals. This helped strengthen the culture around the trajectory of players and helped continue to build bridges with college programs for our youth players.
2018: Huntwicke Capital Group (HCG) purchased Aztec Soccer. HCG President Brian Woodland's daughter Sophia Woodland grew up in the Aztec Academy and the club. When she was age 14, she left to pursue an ECNL platform and eventually played for our years at Boston University.
2018: HCG began the process of purchasing Skillz Check Soccer Academy and named Mo Keita the technical director of Aztec Soccer Club. Subsequent and significant additions included Julius Pertillar (Senior Boys Director), Mo Souisse (Performance Director), Winston Haughton (North Region Director), Ryan Gwinnell (North Region Director), Oli Gunnarsson (Director of Operations), Ashley McGown (Junior Girls Director), Candice Dangora (Senior Girls Head Coach), and Eric Slack (Assistant Director of Operations).
2019: Aztec introduced regional expansion and introduced Aztec Boston, Aztec New Hampshire (now Aztec North), Aztec Padova and Aztec Azzurri. The club also formed a partnership with Maximum Velocity FC (based out of New Hampshire).
2020: Aztec was one of seven founding clubs of the New England Impact NPL league. Mike Kersker served as president until Dina Gentile was named president during the summer of 2021.
2021: During the New England Impact NPL inaugural season, Aztec won three IMPACT Cup titles (2008, 2005, 2003) and had teams advance to the finals in five of the six age divisions. In addition, two Aztec teams (2008, 2007) captured regular-season titles and advanced to the 2021 Girls NPL Finals in Commerce City, Colorado.
2021: Aztec enjoyed unprecedented success in New England Regional Cup play that included: 6 New England Regional Cup Semifinalists, 4 New England Regional Cup Finalists, 2 New England Regional Cup Champions, and 1 National Cup Champion.
2022: Aztec hosted its first-ever major regional Showcase - Aztec Spring Showcase & Invitational - and drew more than 200 teams over two weekends.
2022: Aztec joined the New England Club Soccer League (NECSL) and USYS New England Conference.
2022: The Aztec Girls 2008 Impact team captured the 2022 National Cup title; the Aztec Girls 2007 Impact team captured the 2022 Girls NPL national title.
2023: 3STEP Sports, the nation’s largest youth sports club and event operator, acquires Aztec Soccer Club, which has over 5,000 athletes across soccer and field hockey.
Aztec Junior Academy (U9 - U10)
PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The Aztec Junior Academy is designed to prepare players for the demands of the competitive program pathway. The Junior Academy introduces a fun, fast-paced, game-like environment that teaches the fundamentals, improves soccer intelligence, builds healthy training habits, and inspires a love of the game. Our Junior Academy coaches are keenly focused on individual player development, but also begin to introduce team play and concepts. We also educate parents about proper expectations in their child’s youth soccer experience and begin to create a proper pathway for each player.
LEAGUE PLAY: New England Club Soccer League (NECSL)
PROGRAM OFFERINGS: The Aztec Junior Academy offers a progressive curriculum and training environment that supports multiple ability levels. Individual-focused training coupled with team play fosters a community environment and establishes a technical foundation and direct pathway into Junior Teams.
Aztec Junior Teams - U11-U14
PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The Aztec Junior U11-U14 teams are designed to prepare passionate young soccer players for success. The goal is to create special players with confidence on the ball while also focusing on developing soccer intelligence, physicality, mental toughness, and character. Our Junior Teams receive a high level of training by licensed, experienced coaches with a focus on player development. Our emphasis is on individual confidence with the ball, technical development, and placing the kids in a competitive environment to expose them to all the components of the game.
LEAGUE PLAY: New England Club Soccer League (NECSL); USYS New England Conference; National Academy League (NAL); Regional Academy League (RAL)
PROGRAM OFFERINGS: The Aztec Junior Teams receive maximum technical and tactical training in team and pool settings. These sessions are complimented by a series of league matches (fall and spring), futsal and intrasquad competition (winter), classroom and remote sessions (fall, winter and spring), and tournament experiences.
Aztec Senior Teams - U15 - U19
PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The Aztec Senior U15-U19 teams prepare players for success at the highest level of soccer they are looking to play -- whether that be high school, college, or beyond. The advanced curriculum focus on the individual player and their goals. Players are allowed to compete for their high school teams during the fall season.
LEAGUE PLAY: New England Club Soccer League (NECSL); USYS New England Conference; National Academy League (NAL); Regional Academy League (RAL)
PROGRAM OFFERINGS: The Aztec Senior Teams play in the top levels of club competition and participate in intense technical and tactical training sessions during the winter through spring months. Senior players work with highly-licensed and experienced coaches, many of whom are connected with local college programs. The senior players gain access to top college showcases and tournaments and receive personalized support and services through the College Preparatory Program.
Aztec U23 Teams
PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Every summer, Aztec runs a U23 men's and women's program structured to offer players a competitive opportunity to train and play in preparation for the upcoming collegiate season. The U23 program offers players in the New England Premiership (men) and United Women's Soccer Two (women) U23 divisions, training twice a week starting in late May. Teams are coached by senior Aztec staff including many collegiate coaches. The season typically runs from late May to late July. Home field (games and training) are located on the North Shore.
PROGRAM HISTORY: Aztec has consistently been at the forefront of amateur soccer development since its inception in 2000. Most notably, Boston Aztec became the reserve team for the Boston Breakers of now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009 and just one year later captured the WPSL National Championship. Aztec presently operates a U23 summer program for players exiting high school and currently playing collegiate soccer.
College Preparatory Program
Aztec Soccer Club offers its senior players access to its Aztec College Preparatory Program which is designed to guide and assist senior players as they navigate through high school and into college. The program provides academic and recruiting guidance, information, and resources to better enable them to advance to the next step in their journey as a student-athlete.
All Aztec players receive access to the following: Personal College Advising Support, Seminars, Resource Center, College Drop Ins, Team College Prep Meetings, Player Analysis and College Coach Outreach Assistance.
Our Coaching Staff
The Aztec Soccer Club has a 24-year history of providing club soccer and player development programs for players – boys and girls – ages 4 to 23. The rich culture at Aztec has been an ideal and proven training ground for players to improve technical abilities under professional coaching direction and follow a defined developmental pathway from youth to junior to senior to college and even professional levels.
Aztec Soccer Club has a strong and experienced professional coaching staff, many of whom are either current or former high school and collegiate coaches.
Aztec Soccer Directors & Staff
The Aztec Directors work directly with all of our staff coaches to support the needs of our coaching staff and our players and families. The directors are the primary point people for any general questions, concerns or suggestions that you might have. Our directors are on the pulse of all Aztec activities and they are excited to work with each and every Aztec player.
Aztec boasts one of the most robust coaching staffs in all of New England. Our coaches bring a wealth of experience and professionalism to our teams.
Where We Play & Train
Since 2019, Aztec has expanded through the introduction of three new regions – Aztec Boston, Aztec North/New Hampshire, and Aztec Oceanside – and now services players from more than 100 towns across two states.
Central Region - Focused on players throughout Essex County and into parts of Middlesex County including towns such as Peabody, Georgetown, Wenham, Beverly, Middleton, Rowley, Nahant, Swampscott, Boxford, Topsfield, Danvers, Rockport, Essex, Swampscott, Saugus, Marblehead, Stoneham, Lynnfield, Wakefield, North Reading, Ipswich, Newburyport, Salem, etc.
Boston - Training focused on players located throughout Middlesex County and Merrimack Valley and towns north of Boston such as Andover, Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Wakefield, Winchester, Melrose, Lynn, Reading, Somerville, Stoneham, North Andover, Malden, Saugus, Wakefield, Waltham, Woburn, Wilmington and Winthrop.
North/New Hampshire Region - Training focused on players located throughout Northern Massachusetts and into Southern New Hampshire in towns such as Chelmsford, Lowell, Lawrence, Dunstable, Groton, Methuen, Westford, Pepperell, Tyngsboro, Londonderry (NH), Hooksett (NH), Hudson (NH), Pelham (NH), Windham (NH), Hollis (NH), Merrimack (NH), etc.
Oceanside Region - Training focused on players located throughout Marblehead, Swampscott, Beverly Nahant, and other coastal New England towns etc.
Aztec Soccer Club is fortunate to have access to a wide range of training facilities which allow our professional staff to provide a comprehensive training curriculum to our players year round. By implementing a variety of training surfaces, our players benefit from a diverse training curriculum that better prepares them for future soccer challenges. From outdoor stadiums, to expansive grass fields to indoor turf to futsal courts, our players have convenient access across all regions.
Additional facilities that are utilized include: Anna Parker Fields (Saugus), Beverly Middle School (Beverly), The Mill Works (Westford), and Massachusetts Youth Soccer Fields (Lancaster).
The Aztec Philosophy
Good on field coaching inspires learning. Every standard discussed below is an attempt to capture some of the choices that coaches make in order to bring about learning of the game. The words “awareness, mindfulness, and purposefulness” are qualities that could be observed in the listening, seeing, speaking, and all other actions of the coach and the players in a session where players are active learners who are growing in their technical skill set, psycho/social development and tactical knowledge. Below are summarized standards in four categories:
Player’s Practice Experience
Awareness of the Player
The Demeanor of the Coach
Promoting Citizenship and Community
These standards are not an attempt to capture all the aspects of good coaching practice but are restricted to those areas of coaching that an observer(s) can realistically hope to get a sense of in a few on field visits. Therefore, other efforts in service to Aztec such as overall planning for the coaching content over the course of a season/year, use of professional development opportunities, timeliness of returning inquiries to players and their parents, session planning, tournament planning, Aztec club work in general, collaboration with colleagues and other duties are not addressed as they are not accessible to the observer(s).
The club also brings in outside coaches and industry leaders to consult with Aztec coaches and even lead training sessions. This type of collaboration and best-practice learning helps to enhance the training sessions and introduce new concepts.
“Without a methodology, clubs are really a shopping mall, a collection of loosely affiliated teams, mutually branded and organized around a common location, but independently run based on whatever set of myths, beliefs and philosophies each independent coach ascribes to.”
A club must have a methodology because it is the methodology that is the foundation of the connections between age groups, the link between learning across age groups, and the common bond between coaches at different age groups. A methodology is fundamentally what transforms a group of teams wearing the same jersey at different age groups into a club with a learning trajectory that consistently goes up and to the right from age to age.
The club philosophy and methodology is reinforced through internal and external education programs. Internal coaching seminars are conducted and led by the club's technical directors. Industry experts and specialists are brought in to conduct workshops for directors and coaches. The club has also made a commitment to helping to fund and support advanced educational opportunities and licensing.
In August of 2021, a USSF D License on-field course was held in Massachusetts. The Aztec coaches represented three of the four female coaches who participated that day.
Thank you for joining our family. We look forward to sharing a rich future together.