HAMDEN – Steve Coxon has been synonymous with soccer in central Connecticut for the better part of two decades.
The native of Newcastle, United Kingdom, first earned acclaim as a player for Central Connecticut State University. He went on to play for the former New Britain-based A-League side, the Connecticut Wolves, turned in an ultra-successful stint as girls coach at Farmington High School and was an assistant coach at Quinnipiac University.
All the while, Coxon was formulating strategy to grab the lead in the field of youth soccer instruction and development, which he has done as one of the founders of the Connecticut Football Club (CFC).
Coxon’s latest endeavor is CFC AZUL, the newest addition to the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League for 2012 and the sole franchise in Connecticut. In addition to being co-owner, Coxon will serve as president. Since the announcement was made Dec. 12, he is diligently working on providing a solid foundation for the club.
“I played in the A-League (now USL PRO, USL’s professional division) for more than six years with the Connecticut Wolves and I learned a great deal about how to run a USL team,” Coxon said.
“Many of my former teammates are still involved in the game and we are going to lean on them and many others in the Connecticut soccer scene to help make this into a top-notch franchise.”
The team has yet to decide on a home venue or coaching staff.
The AZUL will become the pinnacle team in the CFC family, which harbors more than 70 youth teams. Incorporating a PDL team, Coxon said, will enable the CFC’s top players an opportunity to return to the organization during and after competing in college.
The AZUL will play a 16-game schedule between May and August in the PDL, the top supplier of talent for professional soccer in North America.
In 2011, 37 of the 54 players selected in Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft graduated from the PDL. Eight of the first 10 selections in the draft had PDL experience, including 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong of Sporting Kansas City, who previously played for Reading United AC.
The team is co-owned by Costas Flessas.
“I believe sometimes things are just meant to happen,” Coxon said.
“Out of the blue I received a phone call from Costas asking me if I was interested in discussing some soccer expansion plans. The next day I received an email form the USL asking us if we were interested in putting a PDL team together. Six months later a new PDL franchise was born and we can't be more excited.”
CFC AZUL will hold open tryouts.
Coxon guided the Farmington High girls to a 116-10-7 record from 1999-2005. The Indians shared a 2003 Class L title with Guilford and defeated Wilton outright to gain the 2005 crown. Farmington advanced to the final four times in Coxon’s seven years.