This new Starbucks is hard to get used to…
It’s been nearly a month since moving up to the northwest Missouri. I’ve found a coffee shop similar to the one down south, but it is hard to focus and be back ‘in my element’ of being able to be in a routine of writing on a weekly basis [working yesterday kind of messed with me as well], go figure.
However, the show goes on, and the soccer world of northwest Missouri is heating up something crazy!
This Is How You Grow
I don’t make this stuff up. As you’re aware of [and if you’re not…well…now you know]. I currently live in the middle of…nothing.
[I’m the red dot]
This is a town of 1,399 people [roughly of the 2000 Census], more cows in the county than people, you’ve heard the story several times over. Gower [the town] sits at a very unique location. It rests 13 miles southwest of St. Joseph [75,000 people] and 35 miles north of Kansas City [440,000].
If you wish to play soccer you can play in the recreational leagues of Gower, or even St. Joseph. However, if you want to go above and beyond to competitive soccer you will have to travel into Kansas City, and take on the clubs there. There are zero clubs in St. Joseph, and zero in the counties between St. Joseph and Kansas City.
Many of us are aware that Kansas City [KC] has five million different club programs for boys and girls. The problem with this is the cost to travel to KC from my area [Tri-County] every day, or even a few times a week. We’re blue collar/farm workers, money isn’t on trees.
- The problem: Distance to travel to club programs for girls who want to take their game to the next level.
- Why it is a problem: Everyone should have the opportunity to live their dream without completely breaking the bank.
- How to resolve it: Tri-County Storm
A whole lot of what?
Let’s start with the name: Tri-County Storm. There are literally three counties between St. Joseph [St. Joe] and KC: Clinton, Platte, and Clay. There are a few major ‘towns’ in each county [oh yes, we’re having a Civics lesson today].
- Clinton: Gower, Plattsburg, Lathrop, Cameron [technically only half of Cameron due to it sitting on the county line]
- Platte: Weston, Dearborn [I don’t make up these names], and Platte City
- Clay: Smithville, Kearney, Lawson, Excelsior Springs [the rest of the cities sit inside KC]
The goal is to pull players from these three counties [hence Tri-County] into one central location; Gower.
- Ideal, central location centered along a major highway.
- Facilities are already available [fields] that DO NOT require interaction with local school districts [most school districts here do not get along with soccer].
- Selfishly: I live there
Who will play?
Recall if you will that several of these towns have several recreational teams at the lower levels [primarily U-15 and below]. A few of the towns in Clay County have high school soccer programs in the spring [most notably Smithville, having been to the state title game several times within the past five years].
This is one of those ‘field of dreams’ moments, “If you build it, they will come”, after taking a very vague poll throughout the area many girls are wanting to play at the next level, but can’t afford the travel and expenses of being in KC. The goal is to create a atmosphere of community and family development in order to create a stable club program that is NOT involved directly with KC clubs, but merely beats KC clubs.
One of the goals is to reach the local school districts [all those towns above] and at least post a flyer advertising try-outs for Tri-County.
When will you play?
Obviously because high school athletics is pushed so hard here, plus having a spring women’s season for some of the high schools, this club program would aim to run in the summer to begin with.
How many teams?
Many businesses fail because they expand too quickly [WPS anyone?], because of that Tri-County [TC] is aiming for two teams. A U-19 program and a U-15 program. TC will never go younger than U-12. It is my belief that anything below U-12 is still an age of having fun, playing, and not screaming at little kids for playing ‘herd-ball’, there has to be balance. Year one aims for two teams, with 22 players a piece, that way 11 v 11 is completely doable during practice and there are plenty of bodies to go around [also gives the potential for easy conversion of having two teams at each level if needed/desired].
Who will follow?
Parents. If there is one thing I can say for certain about the TC area it is this; you will not find a more competitive area in Missouri. These people HAVE to win, it is their nature, no matter the sport. Because of that, the people will place their faith and money into potential teams. Especially if it something of the ‘city’ nature coming to their fields. Club programs are only heard of in softball in this region of the state. Meaning that the people understand the dynamics of club teams, but having it in a completely different sport adds a element of change that could stimulate the program. Also, supports/sponsors will go out and see if their investment is working [yes, sponsorship will happen]. Businesses understand that if their on the jersey and those jersey’s are in the KC area, that’s a lot of people seeing their business; that’s called marketing. School district individuals will come out to the games as well, they will see if this program would be beneficial for the district should it decide to pick up soccer as a high school sport.
Who will coach?
That is an excellent question. Because of TC’s unique location it sits insanely close to the headquarters of the NSCAA. This writer will be investing in the national diploma courses in 2012 to begin with. On top of those certifications, area colleges are constantly looking to get their name out. After speaking with players from area schools, there is an interest in being able to run camps, work with players, and even travel with the team to different events. Factor in some of the area universities having physical therapy degrees, trainers being on staff during the summer months…not unheard of. Truly in this section, the possibilities are endless.
What is the cost?
Costs still stand as the unknown formula. Jersey’s, equipment, field maintenance, travel expenses are just a few of the major costs of the program. It is obvious, as comes with any club team, that there will be a monetary price to play. You ‘pay to play’ with the expectations of allowing this club to get your foot in the door to the next stop for many; college. You also have to ask the question; how much will the player be responsible for? Cleats? Shin guards? Socks? Shorts? How much can you ask of one family to take a risk, and at the same time stay afloat? The whole point of TC is to give opportunity to those who consider KC out of reach for the sole reason of money [that and some people just hate the city life].
Everyone. Except teams in KC. The players benefit with the experience. Coaching staff benefits with possible future offers from larger leagues. Parents benefit from seeing their child succeed [and possibly pay for college]. Area colleges benefit from the possibility of having ‘farm-clubs’ to pick from instead of doing all the recruiting from the coastal states. Communities benefit from the added tourism, added people during the summer, added business, and the potential for economic growth would stand to be capitalized of inside Gower specifically. The TC area benefits because it creates another ID to associate with the counties instead of just what the schools are doing. It can unite one specific area of northwest Missouri for the same purpose; survive and grow.
As goes with all dreams, TC Storm is not an easy task and there stand many bugs and obstacles in the way. Only through hard work and some crazy effort can all this work correctly. We [meaning myself and some other crazies from Gower] look to have our first season next summer.
P.S Don’t worry! Wipe those tears from your eyes! I’m coming back to the global stage of writing, but I’ve got a lot to get back to. A little heads up…THERE ARE SOME HUGE THINGS IN THE MAKING ALONG THIS BLOG! STAY TUNED!
P.S.S. Yes, you know you love me and you’ve missed me dearly. Curious about the process with TC Storm? Wondering why I chose Storm? There is a rhyme and reason; find out over at my Twitter page: @CoachDaugherty