I want to take a brief moment and ask this simple question:
Does anyone else remember when there was a simple though of creating a women’s premier soccer team in the Kansas City area?
A year ago I would have never believed the Kansas City Shock would have been a reality, cruising through Kansas City, talking shop, and dreaming big. I would not have imagined that we would have become so big that our tryout announcement would reach out to over 140,000 in one day. A new business would launch off of ours? Hardly doable. Done.
A week ago, I would have told you that I was anxious for tryouts, the 2013 season, and the continued growth and direction of the Kansas City Shock, and the city of Kansas City.
A week ago, I don’t think I would have pegged Kansas City as getting ‘crowded’ in the soccer world. That theory was tested on Thursday when Soccerwire.com announced that there would be eight teams in a new women’s professional league in North American; guided by the United States Soccer Federation.
Kansas City was announced as one of those eight.
In other words; Kansas City was going from a city free of women’s soccer, to a city with two programs growing in the city at the exact same time with two separate leagues.
If you can imagine, being in the shoes of the 25 year old owner, the past week has been filled with fear, ambition, anger, hope, faith, desire, and just about everything else in between.
Today, the new ownership of this professional women’s team was announced; the owners of the Missouri Comets, a Men’s Indoor Soccer League program; dictate by the United Soccer League [USL].
Suddenly, my $2,500 buy-in to the Women’s Premier Soccer League just got trumped by a $500,000 commitment of these three men [the owners of the Comets] and the United States Soccer Federation.
The official announcement of the new women’s professional league is scheduled at 10:00 AM PST via United States Soccer Federation.
This was not a position I anticipated myself to ever be in. I’m currently looking down the barrel of a new professional league, with paid players, full salaries, and national team players that will be allocated to each of the eight teams.
Again, not the picture I envisioned for the future of Kansas City, but aside from the action taken in tomorrows presser, my personal reaction in reflection to ‘sharing’ a city will dictate the success of our program in 2013. Due to this, and thankfully from having some parents who raised me with some class. I’ve had some time to filter out my thoughts for each league, sanctioning body, program, fan, player, investor, and everyone else this reaches.
We. Grow. The. Game.
I like to be honest, even if it isn’t well received sometimes, but now I firmly believe that honesty is truly the greatest asset that I hold.
My initial reaction when having all of these bombs dropped?
Fear and frustration.
I’m fearful of those with more media pull, more money, and more clout then myself or our program. The Comets are a decently established program in Kansas City, and those owners love soccer and are very wealthy. Put yourself in my shoes; grassroots vs Goliath, it can strike fear easily.
The frustration was from the lack of recognition. The Missouri Comets, along with some of their staff were at our summer tournament in July. Of course, afterwards they started working on a women’s team in Kansas City. There is that arrogant, prideful problem and not getting credit for marketing women’s soccer in Kansas City. I was frustrated because the ownership of the Comets knew very well that we existed, and the United States Soccer Federation knew we were here as well [I’m not saying that matters though].
However, my fears and my frustrations were quickly repelled as I started going through Twitter today. It allowed me to see that there are far bigger problems then even my current fears in the women’s soccer world.
It started in California [naturally], as I listened to multiple clubs rant and rave [not of best taste in my opinion] about how the new league and the United States Soccer Federation purposefully ignored these programs, etc…I got bored reading when I realized it was the same, sad sob story of conspiracy. Realistically, I just don’t care. That’s not the purpose of the Kansas City Shock.
I had just made it to my hotel room this afternoon when my phone rang. It was the front office of the Women’s Premier Soccer League. They wanted to talk about our progress, and of course; ask about this new team that’s coming in. The initial response was, “Don’t worry, it won’t affect you.” Says the office that has never worked with media and business in the Heartland. What was souring afterwards was how quickly it turned to a bashing-fest of the USL W-League [remember the WPSL broke away from the W-League], and the United States Soccer Federation. If I could have summed it up in a statement, it would go like this:
Oh yeah!?!? Well they smell funny!
That trivial. Along the same time, one of the owners of the Kansas City program announced a big announcement tomorrow on Twitter, and I watched as our interest peaked, and then dropped, and peaked, etc…we’ve made it rather clear that we’re not the new professional team in Kansas City. However, it was as I watched our ‘Like’ count on Facebook that I started to notice something. People were just looking for answers and looking for joy. Not everyone that ‘Likes’ the page is a fan of the Kansas City Shock; they’re a fan of women’s soccer.
Almost immediately I received a e-mail from an owner speaking of how gleeful of how they pressured the USSF to make the official announcement tomorrow instead of the scheduled December 1st date because, “Screaming works sometimes.”
Just as a recap: I’m the young owner in these leagues. Reading that phrase caused me to forget that realization.
So, in conclusion we know that another women’s soccer team is coming to Kansas City, and it will involve national team players.
I once had a dream of making a successful business from women’s soccer; financially. That was my mistake; I lost vision of the goal at hand. It isn’t about me, and it never was; it’s about the girl laying in bed dreaming of life past college, it’s the parents who want to be cheering their player on above and beyond, it’s the fans that get the gear, stand in the rain and go against the measures of society; it’s about the ones who dare to be different on and off the field.
Naturally, I ask that Kansas City and the soccer world doesn’t forget about us in the glimmer and shine coming in these upcoming days.
However, I also ask this to each and every owner in the WPSL, W-League, and the new professional league:
If you’re in this for yourself, and you’re not in it for the growth of this game; mark my words there are good owners with good clubs that are waiting to take you down.
Yes, we’re one of those clubs.
Welcome back to women’s professional soccer in the United States, and in North America. On behalf of the Kansas City Shock; I can’t wait to go head-to-head with some of the best in the world.
We’ve got plenty to prove.
Be sure to keep up with us at Twitter: @kcSHOCK_WPSL, and also myself @CoachDaugherty