The views of The Soccer Heel are their own, and not reflective of the collective writers at American Pyramid
Well, well, well. Looks like it's my turn to be The Soccer Heel. I talk to a lot of people in lower league soccer, it is a smaller community, after all, and it has caused a question to rise up in my mind. It's a simple question, really. Where is my money going?
What do you mean? You might be asking yourself. I'll show you what I mean.
The National Premier Soccer League had 84 teams at the end of 2016. 17 left, reducing it to 67, then added another 30 for the 2017 season, bringing it to 97 teams total. Here is some math for you. To be clear, my math on sponsor revenue is a guesstimate, but it will serve it's purpose.
Expansion teams in 2016: 19
Expansion Fee in 2016: $12,000
Total Revenue from Expansion Fees, 2016: $228,000
Expansion teams in 2017: 30
Expansion Fee in 2017: $15,000
Total Revenue from Expansion Fees, 2017: $450,000
Total Revenue from Expansion Fees, 2016 through 2017: $678,000
Cash Prize to winning teams: $0
What in the world is that money being stockpiled for? Where is it going? Why did the expansion fee go up in 2017, which might have been the worst off season ever for the NPSL? Per Wikipedia, the NPSL had 84 teams at the end of the 2016, and promptly lost 17. Why the increase in cost? What value are teams getting for this fee? I mean, the league did start an awesome Youtube highlight show, but did that take $3,000 from all new expansion teams to do?
I won't even get into the seeming lack of interest to find sponsors for the league, or naming rights sponsors for conferences to create more revenue to keep the cost down for clubs, and maybe even create a pool of prize money for winners.
At least the UPSL is giving teams that win the Championship $5,000. And with a Spring and Fall season, you can win $10,000 total. And I've heard of at least one of their conferences doing a cash prize for their winner. Where is that in the NPSL?
I'm going to take a long, hard look at what's best this off season. I want clarity on what's being done with my money, and frankly, there's more incentive to win when there's something on the line. We need more transparency at the lower levels from the leagues. Hopefully this will help us get some.
"As soccer players we come together and have formed strong friendships which have extended to our outreach with the community."
To be honest, I don't feel like writing an intro for this interview. The timing of it is too....heavy. For those of you who don't know, Aromas Cafe FC have made noise thanks to a couple of US Open Cup runs. They also call Charlottesville, Virginia home. We started on this interview a week to a week and a half ago. You'll notice this is a shorter interview, as we cut things short at David's request so we could spread some positive news about Charlottesville.
As you retweet and share this interview, please use #UnitedBySoccer. Not just because it's Aromas Cafe's motto, but because it's true. I've met and talked to people because of soccer that I would never have interacted with otherwise. Let's spread some good news today. Let's be #UnitedBySoccer
Would you look at that map? Here we are, one week into the 'launch' of American Soccer Clubs United, and there are forty two teams that have joined up from coast to coast and north to south. I'd say it's a really solid start and shows the desire of teams to work together, make their voices heard, and help each other thrive and become sustainable.
To be clear, this last week hasn't been all smooth sailing. For every club eager to sign up, we've had a club that's voiced concerns or had questions over the initial thrust of the ASCU to unite clubs for an open system, and have even been met with stone cold silence from teams that have voiced support of some of the issues ASCU was created to help clubs address.
Now, if you're one of the forty teams that has joined already, once again, welcome! Glad you're with us. You'll be receiving detailed material from us later today about what we hope to see ASCU become, as dictated by the member clubs.
For those who haven't signed up or are still thinking it over, I want to make things a little clearer for you. ASCU exists to serve the best interests of it's member clubs, as dictated by the clubs. This isn't simply an attempt to throw weight behind the promotion and relegation movement, but an attempt to give teams a united front to push for change and reform in the areas they deem important. Could be promotion and relegation, could be more of voice in league affairs, or more input in decisions that are being made by the USASA or even USSF. ASCU is designed to become a member driven vehicle to whatever end its members see fit to drive it to. Not only that, but because of its size vendors can be brought on as business members offering clubs discounted services because of the potential client pool. And who doesn't want cheaper stuff so more money can go into the club?
As it stands, we have forty two member clubs representing over one thousand players, coaches, administrators, staff members, volunteers and owners. That's a pretty big deal. No one has ever tried to get teams collaborating on such a large scale. Let's keep going. Regardless of how the promotion and relegation fight goes, ASCU will still be here, working to give clubs a fair shot at sustainability.
Will you join us?
"Regarding the name I felt like if you have the opportunity to represent one of the worlds greatest cities then why dilute it."
Today's interview is brought to you by Jack Nadel. Jack Nadel International has partnered with American Pyramid to provide teams with access to a full range of merchandise. You can now order anything from shirts and water bottles to umbrellas and pint glasses with your teams logo on it, giving your fans more cool team gear to buy than ever before. As a bonus, all American Pyramid readers get 10% off their first order of $300 or more in merchandise. Simply email Mark Mogle at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him American Pyramid sent you. Minimum order quantities may apply on certain branded merchandise.
Good morning everyone! I'm going to apologize upfront that today's intro is a little longer than normal. Firstly, as I'm sure most of you are aware of by now, I have partnered with the fine group behind American Soccer United to create an association for non-league clubs, regardless of league or size, called American Soccer Clubs United. It's a free, voluntary association to help unite teams to push for change and reform while leveraging the size of membership to get discounted goods from vendors. If you are with a club and reading this and haven't yet joined, you can do so by clicking Here.
Second, a little context for this interview. About a month ago, I started to engage with Nick Swinmurn via Twitter about his efforts to bring the USL to San Francisco. Things had started to break down a little, as they often do on the internet, as the discussion turned to the soccer scene and fans in San Fran. Thinking I might be a little too optimistic, I mentioned doing an interview to discuss the soccer scene and its challenges.
This turned into what I consider to be a very enlightening interview covering not just the scene and it's challenges, but Nick's fairly unknown involvement in the non league scene in Northern California. I know some readers might be off-put by the fact that I'm interviewing a USL guy, but withhold judgement until you've read the whole thing. Check it out.