Think Tank FC talks about running adult soccer clubs at the elite / semi-pro level in the state of Washington and the Northwest. David Falk is the former Media Director for the Evergreen Premier League, Western Indoor Soccer League and Northwest Premier League. He is now the General Manager for Snohomish County FC. He founded soccer news website goalWA.net in 2011.
by David Falk
It’s been almost a year since I last posted an entry into the “Think Tank FC” column. I haven’t been slacking when it comes to local soccer, though. Quite the opposite. Since then a private Facebook group by the same name has come online where NW adult soccer operators can share news and advice. It’s been an active forum. Then there is what has really been consuming my volunteer soccer time — being General Manager of the Snohomish County FC Steelheads. That’s what I will talk about as TTFC returns.
Steelheads clock is on the wall, tick tock
I was on the phone early in 2018 with Joshua Vega, operator of Yakima United FC of the Evergreen Premier League and Director of Operations as Washington State Adult Soccer. The subject was about how what was started back in 2017 with the Snohomish County FC Steelheads seemed to have stalled. I was voicing my general disappointment that efforts in branding, player and coach recruitment, and internet presence might have been in vain. “Why don’t you run the Steelheads?” Josh suddenly suggested. That idea, that seed, once planted in my brain, would sprout up into a 2018 filled with real-life lessons in running an adult soccer club.
Now It’s YOUR Turn
There was a time when I published “Think Tank FC” from a dedicated but naive ‘outsider’ perspective. A column meant to help adult premier teams with links, resources and advice — from someone not actually running such a team. 2018 has flown by and all of that has changed. It’s all real now for the writer. It has practical application.
The long off-season leading into the Snohomish County FC Steelheads debut in the Western Washington Premier League (WWPL) in 2019 has been one of planning, action, and waiting…but I ask myself every day: “Does the club need something that I can accomplish right now?” I find myself motivated by a certain dull fear that come spring I might look back at the winter and chastise myself for not getting something done when I had the time.
That’s in part why the delivery of a Steelheads wall clock just a few days ago was such a potent moment for me. The clock symbolizes how far the Steelheads have come in the last couple of years, but also how much there is still left to do.
The stuff that has already been accomplished by SnoCo FC under my watch as GM is building momentum for the club. Non-profit business license. Online banking. Insurance. Club organization. Dedicated Head Coach (Dagi Kesim.) Full social media fleet. Founders Club of local supporters. Scarves. Other gear. Dedicated volunteers. Acceptance into the WWPL. Home community.
The Steelheads are planning towards a March 9-10 Open tryouts that will engage a season stretching all the way to the third weekend of July. Exciting times and there is plenty of anticipation about what kind of talent the county might turn out now that the club is in a regional league. There are times when that clock is just moving too slow.
OK, NOW Love Us
Tick Tock. The clock on the wall says it is time to get business partners to help sponsor the 2019 season. The Steelheads have been pretty good at lining up like for like partners — the kind that don’t necessarily give cash, but do supply support in other ways. We’ve got services rendered from some great people. But in the end cash is what will decide whether or not we can establish ourselves for the long-term. Matt Tabor (Business Relationships & Partnerships) and Ruth Nicholson (Community Liaison) are on it. They are Snohomish County residents volunteering to connect the club to the community.
If we HAVE To Do It All Ourselves, Can We?
The unknowns can get to you as the clock ticks on. You just have to trust that the essentials will get done, and the club will find its way to the pitch. Matches will happen. Fans will support. Soccer will works its magic.
Besides asking myself “What can I do for the club today?,” I also ponder this at times: “If we HAVE to do it all ourselves, can we?” That question drives me to crunch numbers and to sketch out a dual path where we play with less cash but still pay the bills, still survive for another season.
I have posted elsewhere that “Survival is sexy” when it comes to premier adult (semi-pro) soccer. It’s a way of saying that living within your limited means is honorable. Maybe even “hot.”
What Time Is It, Again?
Tick Tock. Time to take a breath as the holidays ring in and 2019 makes its approach. That Steelheads clock (RedBubble.com) arrived just when I needed it. Just when I needed a reminder that we are working for something special to give to Snohomish County. It’s a semi-pro men’s soccer club under the tree in orange and black wrapping paper.
We sure hope they like it.