Graduates2By Brett Livingstone

Three years ago, when a player graduated through the Richmond Youth Soccer Association (now known as the Richmond Football Club), he would have to look elsewhere to continue playing the game. Fortunately, thanks to a great idea, hard work, and tremendous support from RFC, a club now exists where graduating youth players can continue to pursue their passion at an appropriate level. With humble beginnings in the Richmond Adult Soccer Association (RASA), The Grads have climbed through the ranks – with success measured far beyond the number located under the win column.

Starting as a single team three years ago, The Grads have now expanded throughout RASA. This means that a newly graduated player can play in a division suited to his ability. We currently have three teams; The Freshmen are a division two team, composed mostly of youth graduates getting their first taste of adult soccer. The first division Alumni are an experienced, hard-working group determined to make their mark in the league. The premier squad, The Graduates, is a team pushing for a title spot in the league’s toughest and most competitive division.

The Grads’ expansion in such a short period of time is due to the collective mentality of the club, that every player works hard for his teammates on the pitch. This sense of camaraderie is obvious and contagious among The Grads. Many former players have returned to be a part of this club and have contributed a great amount toward its success. These returning players, as well as the influx of welcomed youth players, have filled our squads and made this club the powerhouse of RASA it is today.

In three years we have exceeded all expectations. We have won two division titles and now boast a roster of over 55 players wearing our uniforms. However, our greatest achievement lies not in hoisting a trophy or claiming a title, but rather in creating a place of belonging. We all take pride in calling ourselves Grads, as we know what that name represents. We are a place where new or returning players can come and feel comfortable. We are a place where a player can develop into the player he wants to become. We are a place where the priority is keeping players in the game.

Finally, the success of The Grads speaks volumes about the Richmond Football Club and their commitment to long-term player development, as well as the Sport For Life philosophy of the organization. The Grads is so much more than simply a soccer club, as it embodies all that sport represents: teamwork, support, and friendship.

We look forward to the many future achievements of The Grads,