I made a phone call about two weeks ago; I had been carefully guided to a club program within the Kansas City area to continue to get ideas for WPSLKC and most notable the Kansas City Shock [official name now]. While talking to the director of this program; I brought up my thoughts about sponsorship for the Shock, and they were quick to remind me that companies do not sponsor programs ‘like ours’ within the Kansas City area, this club that this individual works with constantly runs at or near a loss each year. I asked what they did to try to prevent that and they made the simple comments of cutting back on spending, traveling, etc…and then I heard the echoing words of terror through my phone:
All players must pay ‘XXX’ amount to play.
Play to pay…a scheme in itself that is so unsettling that the kid typing this is already feeling sick to his stomach.
As I’ve stated in several posts before; I’m not God’s gift of a soccer player, not even close, and I am everything but a wealthy individual. With that said, there is NO REASON why I should ever have to look at a player and say, “Yes, you’re talented, but until you can shell out the money, you’re not playing for me.” I mean truthfully, what kind of person does that? Who are we to dictate that an individual who wants to play, who, for the sake of a win, should be playing, can’t play for us? What kind of image does that give myself and my club?
Let’s face facts, women’s soccer past the college level is hard enough to develop in the United States, adding financial responsibility to so many who can’t afford it; where’s the justice and opportunity in that? Because of how and where I grew up my parents once sat me down, while I was a young teenager and said this:
OK, you have two options. You can keep playing soccer and we’ll take you down to Kansas City to play club there. Or, you can play high school athletics, play with your friends, and not play soccer. It’s your choice.
Nothing against my parents, but I was a teenager; popularity was bent on everything that I did. It was my life source. I was already skinny, awkward, with red hair; I was already in the hole and had to dig myself out. Our school refused…yes, refused to offer soccer [due to the conflict against its prized possession; football], and I spent the rest of my high school days fowling out, dislocating my shoulder, and finishing dead last in nearly every race I ran. Frankly, as a teenager, I was humiliated and left without a passion. Only through college, only through the grace of a few coaches who thought I could do something along the side of the field did I stand a chance to stand where I do today.
No one should have to gamble their passions in that sense.
That’s why today, I humbly apologize to the club leader that I talked to by saying that they’re method of financial gains for their club; it’s ludicrous. You cannot tell me, out of so many million people in the area, no one is willing to fund a program through sponsorship’s?
Will there be some financial obligations by way of our players in the future? Yes. Will it fall under the category of paying to play? Absolutely not.
The Great Plains is better then that.