STATEMENT BY BUGEATERS FC
Summit for American Soccer (Chattanooga, TN) - Meeting Notes
Last weekend I attended the The Summit for American Soccer hosted by Chattanooga FC at Finley Stadium and led by its Chairman Tim Kelly. The primary goal of the event was to discuss the current state of the game in the United States and how clubs outside of the existing “Pro” divisions 1 to 3 could make an impact and further the development of the game.
I must admit that none of these concepts surprised me as I had this exact discussion last May on these subjects. In fact, that’s how Tim Pendrell and I teamed up. I felt that the path forward was building a community based club, not one based on designation funded budgets. I said that fans wanted sustainable teams that enable them to enjoy the game (regardless of designation). That’s how Bugeaters FC came to be.
The Summit was a non-political focus and kept the aim on development and sustainable business models. It was all about teams that embody communities and inclusion.
It was a “bottom up” discussion focusing on community, fans and the athletes. Questions included, “what can we do to help the athletes with housing and outside income and jobs” and “how do we further what we are today and establish infrastructure to help these clubs”?
Ultimately, there needs to be a new level added to the USASA with an extended season to allow clubs that have topped off at the existing level to build. There could be Pro/Rel between the levels within the USASA. Find a way to develop extended seasons, get league partnerships and pass along that income.
The simple fact is that the bulk of teams in the United States fall in to the USASA and its time to focus on structure. This model can have the biggest representation in the USSF.
Let’s focus on the entrepreneurs who own these clubs and find a mutual path forward and engage and build the communities.
Discussions included fan engagement and how to get “elastic” fans to becoming returning fans and developing and enabling them.
Many questions were discussed including league structures within the USASA. There was a discussion on ‘Teamonomics’ and how funding clubs could be developed and sustained. A key point is that each community has its own model. Ultimately, it is my belief that this is why this model is so vital to the United States. It’s not a “one size fits all” and to have Pro/Rel means to build sustainable and fundable models to enable it.
It was amazing to represent at this Summit attended by top clubs and officials at this level. Keep in mind that we haven’t played a single game but are nationally looked at as making a change. Bugeaters FC was pointed out as a model of a community club and also the top launch in the United States.
We expect additional Summits to follow while the model is built. Bugeaters FC will be involved in building this model.
None of this would be possible without YOU the community and YOU the fans.
Chairman / Founder
Nebraska Bugeaters FC