The State of our Club; 2017
By Eric Fulton
Our club is healthy. We are maturing, adapting, and maintaining a top flight level of success across each of our teams. We are setting a new standard for what an elite adult amateur club can be. Last week, we held our first Annual Club Meeting with all club leadership invited, from our Board of Directors, to team coaches, to admin leadership reviewing and discussing the state and the future of our club. This is a recap of what was discussed at the meeting to keep the entire club and community involved and invested with our future.
Competitively, we are the most successful club in Colorado. There are other individual teams in the state that can claim top honors in individual divisions, but nobody has a club-wide model of success that we produce.
Our top team, Premier, is a top-3 amateur team in the state. We’ve gone to the championship match in almost every league and tournament that we’ve participated in over the past two years, and while we haven’t added new hardware to the trophy case, the level of continued season-in, season-out success we’ve built is remarkable. Our second Men’s Open team, United, is an elite team in its own right and has proven so over the past 12 months. We made some substantial adjustments to our open program during the past winter to create more competition for roster spots and more opportunities for player promotion between teams. These changes have been remarkably successful as the depth of talent in our 50+ player open program pool is unrivaled locally.
Our Masters O30 team has been so dominant in the Colorado Premier League Over-30 division that they are closely looking into competing in the Men’s open elite division (D2) for the next upcoming season or two. Masters won both the Fall and Spring O30 league championships and won D2 of the Colorado State Cup for two consecutive years. Masters has set a new standard of what a committed O30 team can achieve. Our second O30 team, Legends, has experienced a renaissance of success this past year. So much so, that the team went from the O30 2nd division a year ago competing (against Masters) in both the Fall and Spring Colorado Premier League O30 D1 championship matches. Amazing transformation.
Financially, we’ve got ambitious plans underway to build our financial base. This is the single biggest area that we can grow our club. We can imagine a day with a diverse and strong funding base paired with the same grassroots volunteer drive and commitment we already have to vault us forward. We are blessed to have two terrific sponsors, The Ginn Mill and Novo Coffee, both strongly behind us (and us behind them) as we approach the future. We are currently looking to bring on other Denver-loving like-minded businesses who want to build with us.
Organizationally, we’ve built the depth of our coaching leadership and club administrative support to new levels. Our goal of cultivating a long-term club that proudly represents our city requires having a strong leadership group believing in the same mission. In this pursuit, we’ve added new administrative members to assist with sponsorships, design, and leadership support. Our Board of Directors had their first meeting a year ago and have been meeting frequently to chart out our future. With these pieces in place, we’ve set the stage to be able to continue to build.
We’re making a leap forward in our branding with the Hummel apparel sponsorship deal we recently announced. To be able to combine forces with a terrific international apparel provider is a great step forward for us. Our logo remake for our 10th Anniversary has been widely acclaimed. Our online presence, from website to social media is strong, although there are opportunities here for potential growth.
There are challenges which we need to be cognizant of as we approach our future. With the birth of a new league in the state, the Colorado Division of UPSL, and the financial push and marketing drive of those teams to catch up with the top teams Colorado teams, the battle to recruit and sustain the top local talent is as important as ever. Another area of consistent focus is in ensuring that our leadership maintain a good soccer/life balance required to stave off burnout while remaining competitively hungry in order to enact our club ethos of continual improvement. All non-profit enterprises, especially those such as ours that all are volunteer driven, face this same demand. And finally, as costs continue to rise for field rentals and as demands increase for more professional playing infrastructure and opportunities, we will be required to grow financially to allow our club to maintain its status as the best around,
The next steps in our progress will depend on remaining committed to the details on what makes and made us successful in the first place. Like remembering that no matter how organized or how competitive we are, that we must always allow the game to be simple and joyful. To remain organized in planning, communication, and follow-through to make it easy for players to show up and do what they do. To be able to leverage the size and depth of the club to cultivate cross-team friendships and opportunities. To continue consistent and diverse outreach to bring in talented new players. And to remain financially disciplined in maintaining and getting as much value out of our resources as possible.
The next steps will also require us to go bigger and explore new opportunities to continue to develop. We need to create the professional relationships to create pathways for emerging young players to continue to develop on to to next professional levels. To bring about more dynamic partnerships with Colorado Businesses. To create detailed longer-term funding and organizational plans. The future requires us to shore up what we do well, and plan for bigger opportunities ahead.
FC Denver is healthy. Our club is known as a powerhouse in Colorado soccer. Competitively, top notch. Financially, growing and committed. Organizationally, reliable and responsive. And as a brand, known and sharp. In each new day, we are only as strong as the people that make up our club. Your commitment, your energy and focus; whether on or off the field. Whether that be in helping to forge new business relationships, helping to recruit new players, showing up at club events to cultivate community, or in playing with 100% commitment each moment on the pitch, WE are the people that move us forward. And forward we will go. Forever FC Denver.