FC Tulsa expands ‘Pathway to Pro’ program for local youth soccer players

TULSA, Okla. — FC Tulsa is expanding its guide for young soccer players to make it to the pros with its “Pathway to Pro” plan.

The club announced Tuesday it’s expanding the program to get the best youth soccer players in Tulsa on a path to playing professionally for their hometown.

The program is expected to be inclusive of all soccer clubs in Tulsa.

“Tulsa has one of the best and most well-organized youth soccer platforms in the country,” said FC Tulsa president James Cannon.

“We want FC Tulsa to be the next step in that process, graduating the best youth players from the city directly to the hometown pro club. Having that doorway open to every youth soccer club in our city is vital. FC Tulsa should be inclusive of everyone, no matter what club you play for.”

Local youth soccer players can be integrated into FC Tulsa through the “Academy Contract: mechanism.

Signing an Academy Contract allows a player to be a fully-rostered FC Tulsa player while maintaining college eligibility and their future amateur status.

“As a Tulsa native and former player, I’m well aware of the difficulties players face from our state and city in finding a professional soccer opportunity,” said FC Tulsa head coach Michael Nsien.

“To be able to introduce young players from our area and various youth academies to a professional environment is a major initiative that I have. I believe in the youth of Tulsa, and I’m excited to see the impact our club has in getting them to the next level. All over the world, this is how the top players started, representing the clubs in their own backyard. If you are a committed player, and it’s your dream to play the next level, FC Tulsa is here to help you start that journey.”

FC Tulsa used its “Pathway to Pro” pipeline over the last two years and made it work with midfielder Ciaran Winters.

Winters, a Jenks native, signed an Academy Contract with FC Tulsa prior to the 2020 season. He spent the entire 2020 season with FC Tulsa in training and last month, Winters signed a professional contract with the club to be the first “homegrown” player in FC Tulsa history.

Find more information on FC Tulsa’s Pathway to Pro program here.

Ryan Love, FOX23 News

Ryan Love is a Digital Content Producer for FOX23 News in Tulsa. A Detroit area native, Ryan joined FOX23 in June 2018 after graduating from Wayne State University with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Ryan handles day-to-day digital content and social media strategy for the station.