Once Flourishing Youth Soccer Development Business Closes Amid Growing Turmoil

Published by Chris Wangler - June 22, 2020.

From the second floor of a nondescript office building on Central Street, Global Premier Soccer (GPS) ran one of the largest youth soccer development organizations in North America.

At its peak, GPS boasted 95,000 youth players between 8 and 18 in more than 25 states and Canada.

But now the Waltham-based company has closed after a series of crippling setbacks, including a federal investigation over immigration visas for foreign workers.

On Friday, the company CEO announced that all GPS staff had been laid off as its parent company prepares to file for bankruptcy.

“Certainly, the last few months have been challenging―from the federal investigation into past activities to COVID to the involuntary bankruptcy petition to everything in between,” said GPS CEO Keith Caldwell in a message to GPS families.

Club fees were not due until July 1, but the closure leaves many youth soccer players who participated in GPS training camps and tournaments with nowhere to play.

A screengrab from the company website. The player depicted wears a jersey with a FC Bayern Munich crest, reflecting a partnership that lent major credibility to the GPS brand. The company’s swift expansion coincided with growing interest in youth soccer development across the U.S.


“There are a lot of kids left without teams who are scrambling to find a team this fall,” said Paul Bucelwicz, vice president of Waltham Youth Soccer (WYS). “Many clubs, including the one I coach for in Winchester, don’t have room to absorb those kids.”

Bucelwicz said WYS hired a full-time director of coaching from GPS. At one point, the company had roughly 6,000 coaches at 100 youth soccer clubs nationwide, with the goal of producing elite players bound for college programs.

GPS was founded by two brothers from Northern Ireland, Joe and Peter Bradley―former club players who turned their passion for soccer into an American success story.



They grew the sport in Massachusetts, eventually becoming the biggest soccer camp provider in the area. Other states followed as GPS expanded, leading to a landmark youth development partnership with German soccer giant FC Bayern Munich in 2014.

In 2016, the brothers sold most of their interest in GPS to a larger sports company, Legacy Global Sports (LGS).

Things began to unravel. In a civil suit later filed by the Bradleys, the brothers claimed that LGS and its partners failed to pay them in full and then forced them out of the company they built.

In October 2019, federal agents raided the GPS office in Waltham as part of an investigation involving visas for foreign coaches. Joe Bradley denied any wrongdoing.

Gavin MacPhee, a former GPS employee from Scotland, pleaded guilty in May to federal obstruction of justice charges and will be sentenced in September. He is the only person to be charged to date.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 put youth sports on hold as creditors moved against GPS’ parent company LGS. GPS had not paid rent at its Waltham office since February.

CEO Keith Caldwell said a bankruptcy trustee would be appointed to handle assets and liabilities. “I am very, very sorry I could not do more,” he told GPS families.