Yes, you read the title correctly.
Someone who is known for building multi-million dollar tech companies just started a fourth-division soccer team. He’s written about why he thought that starting a soccer club from scratch was a good idea. He’s also published all of the financial information that went along with starting a new club.
Why the heck would he do any of that?
Because, Dennis Crowley (@dens on Twitter), is the co-founder of Foursquare and numerous other ventures. He is a builder. He is a doer. And he is also a believer.
Dennis believes that if more teams are formed in the lower divisions that communities across the country will improve, interest in the sport will increase, and eventually, glass ceilings will be broken.
Do I agree with Dennis? I’m not sure. We already have hundreds of professional teams within our top four divisions. Add in NCAA and that puts us in the thousands. Add in youth soccer clubs… and… yeah, thousands more. Literally, millions of people are playing and watching soccer every single day in the United States.
Could we serve our communities better? Of course. Could we use more teams in America? Sure. If we add more professional teams to our lower divisions will that lead to the opening of our soccer pyramid? Maybe?
There is only one way to find out- try it.
And Dennis wants to help other people try it, too. He is dedicated to being transparent throughout the process of building and growing Stockade FC. Transparency is something he has gained an affinity for during his time in the tech world. And the lack of transparency in American soccer is something that frustrates the hell out of him.
He’s got a cool story to tell. And if all goes to plan for him out in Kingston, things could get a lot cooler.
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Charles Kerr says
Greatest. Podcast. Interview. Ever.
Interesting conversation. You got me thinking about pro/rel.
In the following blog post from Gary, he lists some country stats on players and clubs: http://blog.3four3.com/2015/10/28/us-soccer-development-problem-video/
One thing that jumped out is the number of clubs. US has 9,000 clubs, compared to England’s 42,000 and Germany’s 27,000. Using Germany, Brazil, France, Italy and England as a model, the US should have about 50,000 clubs, not 9,000, based on the number of players it has.
I think it’s worth exploring what drives the difference in club numbers.
One guess: sports aren’t tied as much to schools in those countries. The clubs serve that purpose and fulfill it from entry level play all the way up to their top team, which breeds a following and intense loyalty.
With 50,000 clubs, there might be a better chance of having ones that can build leagues that rival the MLS and bring about pro/rel.
What we think of as a club and what clubs are in other countries are fundamentally different. I think it’s also worth exploring those differences.