I’ve been lucky enough to be a member of the 3four3 community over the past few years.
These days, I’m working on something a little different.
I’m helping lead a group of passionate soccer-football folks in launching a supporter owned professional soccer club in San Francisco. We recently kicked off our membership campaign, and we’re excited to announce the project here on 3four3!
We’d be honored if you checked out the SF City project at our website, or joined us on twitter or Facebook pages. Our plan is to continue building our membership, and begin competing in the 4th division National Premier Soccer League in 2015.
The SF City project embraces the revolutionary spirit and the entrepreneurial philosophy that defines the Bay Area.
Not only are we building this club as a community organization from the beginning, through our supporter ownership structure we will ensure that our supporters and football community have a legitimate stake in the management and growth of the Club.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban describes the ideal live sports experience as akin to a great wedding:
The feeling of some magic that grows from the right mix of love, atmosphere, and art.
It’s an apt comparison for a feeling football supporters have long embraced but can easily escape description.
Because the reality is, while great football is art worth watching, the atmosphere created by the supporters can expand the experience to something different. Not just a competition or performance that lacks meaning after 90 minutes are over, but something that can’t quite be described or maybe even comprehended.
Something that stays with us long after the match is over and keeps us thinking towards the next match, the next opportunity to express the joy of life, art, and football with our friends, family, and community; The commitment of organizing around something we believe in and giving our best so that, even if we don’t win, we know we took a risk and put ourselves out there to try to make something beautiful and worthwhile.
It is a challenge worth taking and, in fact, we have some catching up to do. Lower division (non-MLS) clubs across the country are already building wildly successful clubs upon the symbiotic relationship between community supporters and football club.
The match support for these clubs is cause for celebration, drawing anywhere from 2,000-5,000 devoted supporters per game at the Fourth Division in places like Detroit, Nashville and Chattanooga, and close to 20,000 supporters per game up the road in Sacramento for the Third Division Sacramento Republic.
In fact, a recent Chattanooga FC (NPSL 4th Division) US Open Cup home game outdrew the MLS Chivas USA home game played on the same night.
The enthusiasm, commitment, and organization of these supporter groups rivals that of the Timbers Army (MLS’ Portland Timbers) or even longstanding European and South American supporter groups.
It’s authentic, dynamic, and a little messy. It’s also wildly inspiring and creating the future of American football.
We’ve set out in the San Francisco Football Community to share our passion and vision and hopefully recruit people who want to help build a football Club that reflects the soul of San Francisco. Whether it was at Kezar Pub for the Champions League final, McTeague’s with the American Outlaws, or supporting the National Team at Candlestick, we met people who shared the philosophy, values, and vision that are at the core of the SF City project.
Our core group has done the work so far, but the reality is we need you to help make this a success: To help SF City become the first supporter owned Club competing at the top level of U.S. Soccer.
We need your help to organize, lead, and think creatively about how to build SF City into something that our local footballing community can be proud of. We need you to help spread our message and connect with folks who believe in building a Club this way.
We’d love to have you drop us an e-mail to say hi and share your ideas on how to do this the right way, and even become a member.