History. The River City Rangers Soccer Club was founded in 1991 and is dedicated to recognizing and building individual talent within the framework of a well-defined full-service competitive soccer club. The focus and dedication of the Rangers coaching staff and volunteers never wavers. Scott Placek was the co-founder and first Director of Coaching with the club.
Here is Scott’s history of the formation of the club:
“I was trying to remember just this morning who actually came up with the name. It was either me or John Muller. One of us came up with the name and the other the color. See we were trying to integrate six teams with different names and colors. I wish I could boldly claim the name, but I think I may be responsible for the color. The name Rangers was chosen because of its ability to transcend soccer and Texas. Obviously Rangers in the Scottish league are well known even today, but back in 91, QPR was in the English top league and doing quite well and even had semi-American Roy Wegerle in their squad. Of course the Texas Rangers are a historical part of the state's history (no offense to baseball fans, but we were thinking of the law enforcement agency). We thought it was a nice touch - Texas and soccer together. The name was the easiest part of the formation. Everyone liked it. The color was tougher. The red team wanted red. The green team wanted green. We had no orange team. Always a fan of the Dutch, I proposed orange (not burnt orange) and it stuck. We believed (rightly so) that if you walked into a 200 team tournament, there wouldn't be much problem picking out the Rangers. I still like it. Nobody else has it.”
“The Rangers enjoyed great success with the ’77 team in particular earning a lot of honors. The ’77 team went to state every year and split the championships with the ’77 Capitals. By the time they graduated, the ’77 boys had played in something like twelve states against 28 teams from outside Texas. The ’81 RCR team was a national runner up in the indoor “Futsal” soccer game.”
Beginning the Rangers Professional Coaching Era
The 1996 seasonal year brought major changes to the Rangers club both in its philosophy and its organization. The major change was the addition of a girls program. We were pleased to welcome our first full-time professional coach, George Ley in the Fall of 1996. George is a USSF "A" licensed coach with a distinguished playing and coaching background. A veteran of both the English professional leagues and the NASL Dallas Tornadoes, George was an MISL coach and all star with the Wichita Wings. After retiring from a distinguished playing career, George coached in Dallas before returning to England as the youth team coach for Luton Town, a First Division Club.
Upon his return to Texas, George coached the USISL Austin Soccadilloes (now Lone Stars) and most recently served as an assistant coach for Southwestern University and the University of Texas women’s teams. George initially coached the Rangers ’79 team and has continued to focus on skills development and coaching education throughout the club. In addition to coaching our players, George assumed the role of Head Coach and Director of Coaching when co-founder Scott Placek accepted the head coaching position at University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas.
Building a Girls Program
The 1996 season also brought an expanded Girls program under the direction of John Bosch. Beginning with one team in 1995, the Rangers fielded four teams in 1996 and has continued to grow this program every year since. The girls program represents an exciting dimension to the Club and is well on its way to establishing lasting traditions of competitive women's soccer within the Rangers.
Growing Our Success
In 2000, the Rangers and North Austin Soccer Alliance (NASA) opened Saint Francis field in central Austin to provide a first-class game field facility. This achievement was followed in 2002 with the addition of fields at Ranger Soccer Park, and in 2004 with the addition of the Quarry Field. As the demand for professional training for younger players increased, the Rangers and NASA hired Ivan Ruddle in 2003 as Director of Coaching of both clubs. Ivan has implemented many positive changes, including the highly successful Rangers Soccer Academy for U8 to U10 players. In 2004, West Austin Youth Soccer merged its select program with the Rangers as another recognition of the quality of our program.
Continuing the Tradition
We are continually proud of our incredible growth and ability to attract top talent in the last decade. Part of this is due to a well-managed compensation policy — coaches are now paid on a team-by-team basis. The Rangers club is built on the hard work and enthusiasm of our many coaches and volunteers, both current and past, who will continually work hard to cultivate player development and a positive learning environment.
Motto: “For the Player”
RCR is dedicated to serving the needs of all the players and has lived under this motto since it began in 1991 (now the oldest standalone club in the area). The board and the coaches believe in offering all players at every level a quality developmental program at a reasonable cost in a fun environment. This includes providing clinics and support for DIV and DIII with NASA and WAYA.
Scott Placek, the first director of coaching (“DOC”) for River City Rangers explains the meaning of our motto:
“For the player tied into the basis of why and how we started. It was my belief that the money paid to the Big 3 at the time (Capitals, Longhorns and Flyers), had a very negative impact on player development. It was more about winning games and justifying your fees than what was best for the player. Since we had a volunteer staff, we could afford to put the player first. As DOC, I didn't want the staff coaches to have to worry about getting any results to keep their job and keep a paycheck coming in. All they had to do was develop the players, and they would be retained. So rather than worry about this game or that game, we worried about the players getting better. It was about them, not our coaches, not our paychecks and not anything else. It conveniently happened that we had a lot of success using this method. In five years I can only remember two or three problems between our technical staff and the parents/board about soccer issues or results. At the end of the day, the technical side prevailed on all of them, largely because as a volunteer staff, there really wasn't any leverage to force the coach to make popular decisions rather than soccer decisions. I mean, think about it, what are you gonna do? Fire the coach so he can go off and get paid by the Longhorns, Flyers or Caps? Not a big hammer.
It still applies today, albeit differently. Soccer in Austin has changed, in many ways for the worse, since the early days of the club. You used to be able to put a team together, develop it and move it along. Today there is way to much pressure for immediate results. Parents are quick to pull their kids from a team and club hop looking to be frontrunners. Some will go back and forth between two clubs as they switch position in the standings, and if the player is good enough, the club puts up with it. Today for the player has to mean a willingness to do the right thing for each individual player. Sometimes it may mean letting a player go to a higher level, sometimes it may mean losing a team even, rather than accede to unrealistic expectations or demands of parents. Most of all, it needs to mean a shared culture, hopefully bought into by the parents, that we judge success on our players and their progress. Parents who don't buy that can leave. In the end, that focus on the player will produce successful teams.”