Christian Lavers will have key roles with two soccer organizations. (Photo courtesy of the ECNL)

KANSAS CITY – Kansas City NWSL announced Monday it has appointed Christian Lavers as its first director of sport and chief soccer officer to guide the club’s vision and strategy for technical programming and youth development.

Lavers will continue as the president of Elite Clubs National League, Inc.

“I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to help accomplish the vision that Angie and Chris Long have set out both for Kansas City NWSL, and for the game more broadly,” Lavers said in a statement. “We have the opportunity to collaboratively create one of the top development and performance environments in the world for the women’s game, and to positively impact the trajectory of the sport at the youth, collegiate and professional levels.”

Lavers, widely recognized as a leader and pioneer in the development of elite athletes, will serve as a catalyst for the team’s local and national youth programming, as well as its vision for elevating the experience for professional women’s soccer.

The team’s approach to youth soccer will be to support and amplify the efforts of local clubs by providing additional resources, education and opportunities to youth clubs, coaches and players. This approach reflects the ownership vision as well as the deep understanding and experience both Lavers and Head Coach Huw Williams bring to youth soccer. The two have a long history of positive collaboration, having worked together for years in successful youth soccer programming and sharing the philosophy that a positive relationship between the professional game and the youth soccer community is the cornerstone for growing and improving the sport.

“Christian is not only a groundbreaker in achieving superior technical performance with athletes, he is an important and respected voice in the effort to improve the youth development experience at every level, in every region, for every player,” team co-founder and owner Chris Long said in a statement. “His experience combined with his inclusive, collaborative approach and willingness to challenge the status quo make him a perfect fit for our vision, particularly as it relates to youth programming.”

ECNL is a non-profit organization with a mission of improving the development experience for young elite players. ECNL efforts are grounded in player-centered programming, which creates a better, more enjoyable experience and, ultimately, more successful players, coaches and clubs.

The ECNL Girls is widely considered the top development and competition environment in the world for youth female players. Since 2016 more than half of all players drafted in the NWSL played as youth players in the ECNL; and in the 2021 NWSL Draft, the top four players drafted, and 29 of the 40 players drafted in total, played in the league.

Lavers also will advise the team on elite youth programming, leading discussions to plan, develop and host Kansas City based national programming, as well as local programming for elite youth clubs.