#UnityThruSoccer – Does the Community Need Your Club?

Written by Alan Bahadori, owner/executive director of Lowcountry United.

“Why Does The Community Need Your Club?”

If you read Part 1 of the “Lowcountry United Manifesto”, first, thank you and I hope it was helpful. If you haven’t had the chance yet, here is the link Lowcountry United Manifesto Pt 1. In part one, we explained Lowcountry United’s founding purpose. We explained how we saw huge gaps in the local soccer landscape, with questioning where are our semi-pro clubs? Where are our elite amateur clubs? What local clubs do we see that are officially connecting with the area community, youth clubs, the indoor futsal teams, city recreation leagues and are ensuring a detailed path for the talented up-and-coming players? These questions and the answer is explained a bit better in Part 1. So we stated what problem we saw locally, which we see Lowcountry United as the solution.

Any club can build for a purpose but what is the vision of the club? Purpose and vision are two separate things. What I want to raise to you is a truly important question to consider when understanding and sharing your club’s vision.

Why does the community need your club?

This question is a heavy one, one that should make you take an honest look at your club, your vision and your overall purpose. Football clubs have a fantastic opportunity to really become a part of a community. Majority of the time, you see teams/clubs that are created because of local players’ love for the game, while others pop up to represent a specific employer or a favorite pub or restaurant, a specific neighborhood, your city or borough, or even just for fun. These local clubs are a wonderful way to join friends together for the fun of competing and doing something that you all, collectively, love. They hold a very special role in the overall soccer landscape of a community, but with that said, I raise the question again. Why does the community need your club?

While this question is a vital one, maybe look at it from another angle. You love your club, you care about the soccer league you’re in, the competition, the club colors, the awesome crest, the goals and trophies but what does that have to do with your community? Should they care? Hopefully, you guys were listening in Pt 1 when I explained about using local media & social media to build your following and if you’re already doing that for your club, then you’re laying some great foundation. But ultimately, what is your club doing for the community?  How does your club use social media to connect and unite your community with your club’s founding principles and vision?

Soccer is a huge sport. We all know the numbers of how many people it touches all over the world and how many youth, and on up, play the sport, so it goes without saying that soccer is one that is followed by more than those that don’t. Clubs have a fantastic opportunity to connect local communities with their club by reinvesting themselves as part of that community. What are you doing to show your community what you want to do for them? Make your commitment to them known, connect with local school districts on helping raise money for their athletic programs, assist underserved areas of your community with volunteering or charity support. Give a portion of game day or merchandise sales to a local homeless shelter, host fun weekend charity tournaments, sponsor a worthy event, help your local chamber of commerce, clean up trash at your parks or beaches – there is no shortage of good ideas. This community focus is what actually shows what your soccer club will truly be about. It develops deep, personal roots with your community and allows your club to be that passion in your community that will truly build #UnityThruSoccer. The game is only played for 90 minutes. It’s the other time that truly counts.

Building a grassroots soccer club is not easy. It relies on the foundational understanding of a united vision that the club has for what its purpose is. The club will rely on the community’s support, understanding, sponsorship and time, so with all that a soccer club needs from its community, don’t forget to always remember what your community needs from you. The community needs hope, opportunity, commitment and progression; hope in your club’s vision, opportunity for others to share in the club’s success, commitment to reinvestment and progression that is both for community and club. It is in these ways that we all really progress.

So friends, what say you!?

Why does the community need your club?

Jenny Smith

Birmingham, AL native. University of Alabama student. USWNT supporter. Mac and Cheese connoisseur.

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