Everything happens for a reason… the year is 1994 and the stage is set for the United States to host their first ever FIFA World Cup. FIFA surprised many with their decision to have the U.S. hold the tournament due to the global perception that the United States lacked soccer fans. FIFA hoped by staging the world's premier event in the U.S., it would lead to America's growth in the sport… time will tell.
United States national team member, Frank Klopas was in southern California for the 1994 World Cup. Bernie Towers was promoting soccer and managing some boys’ teams in Orange County. Terry Mazura was in search of a more competitive soccer alternative for his daughters. David Northridge is with Orange Coast United managing a few youth teams. Walid and Ziad Khoury were training local athletes in soccer and athletic conditioning. One by one each joined and within a few short years they converged… and the Slammers FC was born.
Growing up during Lebanon’s civil war the brothers developed a unique perspective on life and developed a true appreciation for the blessings we receive everyday. Both played soccer for Lebanese Premier League, Safa Sporting Club (SC) Beirut. “Safa” means clarity in English. How ironic this is when 7,000 miles away and a decade later the brothers would apply their “clarity” of purpose and distinct passion for teaching the game of soccer to boys and girls in southern California.
After spending their formative years in Lebanon and summers in Dubai they moved to southern California in 1984. Both went on to play soccer at Orange Coast College. During the 90’s they coached soccer at Corona Del Mar and Newport Harbor high schools.
Walid Khoury, “Skills and teamwork are everything; you train hard, learn the game, love your teammates and success will naturally follow.”
Ziad Khoury, “I love my players; I believe God put me on this planet to teach kids.”
The brothers are now commonly found around the world in soccer’s top circles for the youth, collegiate, and professional game. Combined they hold three Nike Coach of the Year awards (2003, 2006, and 2009). They share 7 National championships and 3 Nike World championships. They have prepared and placed soccer players at elite programs within every major NCAA division I conference.
A few of these players are Danesha Adams, Lexi Orand, Whitney Engen, Camille Levin, Ashley Nick, Christen Press, Ashlee Elliott, and Alyssa Dávila.
During their younger years a few boys also stopped by the Slammers program and went on to make significant impacts on the game; Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA – MLS and US National team member), Tyson Wahl (Seattle Sounders FC-MLS), and Darren Spicer (Chivas-USA).
The initial teams competed as members of Orange Coast United. In 1999, a small group peeled away to start the Slammers FC. The club faced many early challenges; no club history, financial struggles, and minimal field space. The club sought out any place available to train, day or night (grass, dirt, sand, asphalt).
A typical day was when the sun went down over the grass fields at Lincoln elementary in Newport Beach and the players moved over to the asphalt basketball courts… the parents lined up cars, turned on their headlights, and voila… lighted fields!
In the first six years from 1994 to 1999 the club included about 6-9 teams. It was after the first regional championship in 2000, that this small group of passionate parents, hardworking players, and dedicated coaches started to garner looks from around Orange County.
The Slammers FC now had their first six of years of learning, correcting, and building under their belt. The hard work started to pay off. Not only did success knock on the Slammers door, it moved in and wouldn’t leave. In seven years the club amassed 17 Cal South State Championships, 8 USYSA Region IV championships, 3 USYSA National Championships, 4 US Club Soccer National championships, and 2 Nike Youth World championships. The Slammers FC introduced a new group of kids from southern California who were ready and willing to compete and win on both national and international stages.
Three USYSA National Championships (2002, 2003, and 2005)
Now 34 teams strong including a newly founded Slammers Youth Academy for the little athletes aged U6 – U8, the club is excited for the future. Acquiring and building the right coaching staff and focusing on the club’s principles is a key to future success. Slammers FC alumni are returning and offering their soccer experiences to the champions of tomorrow.
Elevating the boys program is a key focus for the club. “We are excited to build the boys program to the same high standards we are known for on the girls side”, says Walid Khoury, “we are applying the same passion which put the girls program on the map”.
Three key building blocks still remain from the early days at Lincoln elementary on the black top with a dozen headlights shining… make each athlete a better soccer player, make each group a better team, and help each young adult to be a better person.
The inspiring stories are the hundreds of athletes who find confidence, self esteem, and attendance to the college of their dreams. The program is built on instilling character, integrity, teamwork, reliability, responsibility, and trust.
The Slammers FC is a testament to a handful of boys and girls who invested their own time, passion, sweat, and tears during thousands of hours on the practice field, and in games. Lifelong friendships are forged here. Champions are built here. We have high hopes and high expectations. This journey is not for everyone. This is where we expect more… constantly raising the bar for you and your team. One Family… Committed to Excellence.
26 CALSOUTH State Championships
28 trips to the USYSA - REGION IV Tournament
13 USYSA – REGION IV Championships
4 USYSA - NATIONAL Finalists
3 USYSA - NATIONAL Championships
4 US CLUB SOCCER NATIONAL Championships
3 NIKE YOUTH WORLD Championships
One Family... Committed to Excellence
The Home of Champions