As we celebrate the start of our 9th year of kicking some major butt as an elite amatuer adult soccer club here in Denver, we look forward with a clear focus to what lies ahead. We have a strong foundation of success and some notable challenges to be aware of, so it is a good time for an overview of where we are and what’s next.
We have unparalleled club size, leadership, determination, competition and environment when compared to teams in the Rocky Mountain region. Let’s take stock:
SIZE: We boast 4 competitive outdoor teams that each will be competing for league titles this season, plus a winter semi-pro indoor team. That is unheard of in Colorado. We have two strong D1 Men’s teams, an Over-3o’s Masters team that is the most talented and committed team in it’s division, and a rejuvenated Women’s program that downsized from two teams to one this season to increase numbers, commitment, and quality. Our teams are deep, talented, and ready to compete.
LEADERSHIP: We have a leadership group that cares about the players and product we put on the field. These men and women care about our success and volunteer their time to help their team be the best they can be. We go pretty much year-around these days so finding committed and reliable managers is critical to the success of the club as a whole. Other clubs are very reliant on one or two people to carry to load, while we have several members involved to share the responsibility.
DETERMINATION: We have a work-ethic and determination to succeed that it’s difficult to imagine that our competitors possess. We practice in the snow, in the heat, we run sprints, and we work for it. We do this to be our best and to be able to prove ourselves against top competition as much or more than we do for pure enjoyment of it. Usually, and optimally, they go hand-in-hand though. It is important to remember that the club was originally founded out of a determination to go for it, to be the best it can be, and that has become ingrained in our collective club psyche.
COMPETITION: We offer competition at each level (Men’s Open, Mens O-30, and Women’s Open) that is unique amongst our rivals. Our Men’s teams (Premier and United) play alongside and against each other in competitive weekly practices. They push each other to excel and use the other for a measuring stick of their progress. Some of the most exciting soccer all year is when these two teams face off at practices. Our Men’s O-30/Masters team is our most talented O30 team ever. They practice weekly as well (pretty unheard of for an O30 team) and have a top recruiting pipeline as some of our Premier/United players get older. Our Women’s team is more competitive than ever as well after squeezing all of the talent we had in two teams into one formidable squad. Once they get clicking, they should be a team to reckon with.
CLUB: Partly because of our size and partly because of our commitment to building a Denver soccer family, we have a club environment unlike others. We are interested in having positive and authentic people involved in this club. We value our individual diversity while working create something bigger than any one player. We get together for regular club events, award parties, match-viewing parties, and support each other in our own personal pursuits. For example, we’re gearing up (pun-intended) for our first ever Pub Bike Crawl club event next month! We’re building a family, a community of players whom become friends on and off the field.
Plenty of good things, huh!? Lets also be mindful of some of the upcoming challenges facing our football club.
TOP TEAM IN THE STATE? Laying claim to being the top amatuer team in the state is a massive achievement for any team or club. Our flagship Men’s Premier team has some work to do to be once again considered the powerhouse in Colorado adult soccer. This has more to do with the rising quality of our competitors than with any step-back on our part. There are legitimately two or three other local teams that can state to be in that conversation. We achieved our major goal last year of winning the Colorado State Cup (which was huge). That said, we didn’t win either Spring/Fall league championship (first time that has happened since 2010) nor the recent USSSA National Championship in KC (which was our biggest goal of them all). We are committed to learning and getting stronger from these setbacks. It is an important year for our top team to achieve their goals to get that psychological and recruiting edge back over our rivals.
BURNOUT: Keep consistent, take breaks, enjoy yourself, and keep fresh. That’s the mantra. We do this committed soccer thing on a pretty much year-around basis these days. And as an amatuer club, it’s asking a lot of our players and coaches to keep the same high energy and consistent drive on a 24/7 basis. This hobby, however committed and high-level we consider it, is still a hobby (at least until the day we can pay these guys/gals). It’s important that we take breaks in our schedule, keep tabs on ourselves and players, and prioritize the moments we want to push ourselves.
MONEY: To stay consistent in our competitive pursuits, we could use additional resources. We want to make it easy for our players to play, both in terms of the amount of dues they pay and in terms of providing quality practice fields and practice gear. To grow this thing into something bigger, we definitely need additional resources. We are looking to create revenue streams through tournaments and camps. These revenue streams are critical for future potential loan opportunities. We are looking for investors who can relate to what we have done thus far with a limited budget and can see the untapped potential of where we can go. And we are talking to potential sponsors whom grasp how we can use our size, demographics, and marketing strengths to create win-win mutually beneficial partnerships.
PEOPLE: People and money go hand-in-hand in regards to potential growth. We would love to be Colorado’s amatuer-to-semi-pro grassroots success story, but in order to do so, we need more boots on the ground (i.e. volunteers willing to promote the club, do admin work, raise capital, etc) and/or money to be able to pay people to do this work or both. We can likely maintain our status as an example of an elite Denver amatuer soccer club without more leadership individuals, but we absolutely cannot grow without it.
This is an honest assessment of where FC Denver, as a modern day American football club, stands on its 8th birthday. It’s amazing to see how far we come.
We are proud. We are FC Denver.