There has been a significant amount of chatter over the past week about a potential hangup between USSF and FPF in regards to Puerto Rico BFC’s bid to join the NPSL. Yesterday, futbolboricua.co published a story indicating the rumors were true. According to the story, the FPF failed to deliver the proper paperwork to USSF in time to allow Puerto Rico BFC to compete for 2014. This was corroborated, according to the report, by Neil Beasley at USSF who indicated that USSF did not refuse the Puerto Rican team participation in the American league.
After posting a 1-1 draw against St. Rosienne, Puerto Rico BFC‘s inched closer to a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League. Though the match ended in a draw, Puerto Rico dominated the possession clock and won out on 7-2 on shots on goal. Puerto Rico advanced with the draw on superior goal differential despite being level on points with St. Rosienne after the draw. Puerto Rico BFC now moves on to the Caribbean Football Union’s semi-final stage, and within striking distance of a coveted Champions League slot. The CFU champions, runners up, and third place team each a birth into the Champions League tournament.
If Puerto Rico BFC qualify for the Champions League, they will be the first NPSL club to have done so.
Puerto Rico takes on Waterhouse FC on April 18th in the semifinal.
SDSP Soccer Marketing, Inc. have filed paperwork with the SEC indicating an intention to take the San Diego Flash public.* If successful, the Flash would be the first American soccer club to be publicly traded. As it stands, Manchester United are also tradeable in the US as are a handful of other clubs on lesser foreign exchanges.
The club has 50 or so investors, but at this stage it is unclear exactly how what a public offering would provide the club. Initially, I expect the club to see a nice boost in publicity and possibly have a successful public debut – but, a brief look at the long term history of other publicly traded clubs paints a much starker picture. To be fair, comparing some of these offerings to the others is apples and oranges in some ways, but I think there is enough evidence to be cautious about how the Flash would be any different over the long term.
I’m no financial analyst, but something seemed fishy about this story as I read about it. Upon researching this story a bit further, it appears that SDSP Soccer Marketing, Inc. (San Diego Flash) has not in fact filed any paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The filing referenced in the original post is a filing made on behalf of a company called All In Blind, Inc. and run by Adri Chimberoff, (President, Secretary, Treasurer and Director). Per the filing, On 15 January, 2014, SDSP Soccer Marketing, Inc. entered an agreement with All in Blind, Inc. where in SDSP would be acquired by All in Blind in exchange for 12,000,000 shares of All in Blind. Going forward, SDSP will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of All in Blind.
This transaction does place SDSP within what is technically a public company, albeit one that is nearly 100% owned by Adri Chimberhoff. Per All in Blind, Inc.’s S-1 filing:
There is no public market for our common stock. Our common stock is currently held by one shareholder. Therefore, the current and potential market for our common stock is limited and the liquidity of our shares may be severely limited. Other than pursuant to certain exemptions permitted by Rule 419, no trading in our common stock being offered will be permitted until the completion of a business combination meeting the requirements of Rule 419. To date, we have made no effort to obtain listing or quotation of our securities on a national stock exchange or association.
With the “acquisition” of SDSP, it would seem that shares of common stock in All in Blind will be held now by multiple shareholders. Still, extracting any value out of these holdings is nearly impossible, unless the one of the shareholders were to buy the other out.
If the stock ever becomes tradable, the trading price of our common stock could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various events or factors, many of which are beyond our control. As a result, investors may be unable to sell their shares at or greater than the price at which they are being offered.
Feel free to wade through All in Blind’s S-1 for more information. The gist of it all can be summed up in this sentence though…
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for All In Blind, Inc.’s common stock. The Company is a development stage company which currently has limited operations and has not generated any revenue. Therefore, any investment involves a high degree of risk.
Not only has the company not generated any revenue, their year-end 2013 “financials” show an accumulated deficit of $18,500.
Finally, the S-1 also contained this additional statement:
In addition to his positions with the Company, Mrs. Chimberoff has worked at Penny Lane the Salon for 13 years as a Cosmetologist and Salon Manager. Mrs. Chimberoff’s management experience allows for a basic understanding of the financials and operations of a business which will give Mrs. Chimberoff a basis for evaluating potential merger/acquisition candidates.
It is difficult to say what or whether there are really any broader implications for the filing as by Chimberhoff’s own description in the S-1, the shares are essentially valueless. But it seems to me that All In Blind is an aptly named for a blank check IPO company, especially one based in Las Vegas. I truly wonder if Flash shareholders have any idea who they’ve hitched their wagon to.
*Denotes information in the original post that has been updated below.
The NPSL season is officially under way as the West reason saw several fixtures over opening weekend. Here are the results:
San Diego Flash 3 – 1 Santa Clarita Storm
Sonoma County Sol 3 – 3 Sacramento Gold
FC Force 4 – 3 Del Rey City
FC Hasental 8 – 1 Temecula FC
CD Aguiluchos 1 – 0 Real San Jose
Greater Binghamton Futbol Club (sorry, I refuse to call them the ‘Thunder’) topped Le Moyne College 2-1 in their pre-season opener on two second half goals. Le Moyne took the early lead with a goal in the 21st minute and lead 1-0 entering halftime. Newcomer Sean Streb (Tioga County Community College and Lansing High School) tallied just 4 minutes into the second half on a solo effort to level the score. Another first year GBFC player, Nate Lewis (Central Baptist Christian School) scored the second goal on an assist from returning veteran Cody Healey.
GBFC will face Le Moyne again on March 30 away at Le Moyne College.
Two Western Michigan clubs have their sights set on 2015 entrance to the NPSL.
Muskegon Risers SC, a new club founded in Muskegon on the banks of Lake Michigan will make a major announcement about their future plans on April 4th. It is anticipated that they will release details about the clubs ownership and potentially confirm NPSL approval for 2015. They are currently exploring home venues, and are toying with the idea of hosting home matches at different local venues as they seek to establish support throughout the greater Muskegon community.
Just 45 minutes inland, a group of soccer fans in Grand Rapids has started Grand Rapids FC ostensibly with the aim of a supporter owned club modeled after Nashville FC’s recent effort. The group is working on promoting the club and garnering interest in the Grand Rapids soccer community and will be hosting a launch party on May 3rd where they will announce more details about the club and begin offering club memberships. There is a lot of work to be done, but the group has stated that their goal is to enter NPSL competition in 2015.
Dear Football Club Owners, Managers, and CEO’s:
I love what you’re trying to do. I love your mission statement about growing the game at a grassroots level, about developing local player talent, about providing a professionalized outlet for the game in your community, and I maybe even think its a little cute that you want to bring MLS to your town. And because I want you to succeed, here’s some free advice.
DESIGN MATTERS. And so does branding. A lot. It has been said that in this post-modern milieu design has become the arbiter of value and meaning. This may be overstating things a bit, but as FORBES has pointed out, we live in an ‘Era of Design’. And in this era, as Adam Swann notes, “expecting great design is no longer the preserve of a picky design-obsessed urban elite—that aesthetically sensitive clique who‘d never dare leave the house without their Philippe Starck eyewear and turtleneck sweaters and buy only the right kind of Scandinavian furniture. Instead, there’s a new, mass expectation of good design”.
For clubs, this extends to such things as crests, logos, and websites. In essence, anything that represents the club or its ‘brand’ falls into this category. It’s worth spending money to work with a professional designer. Really. There are a lot of freelancers who do great work that would put together a crest for a few hundred dollars. And for a little more, you could have a color scheme and font customized for all of your publications. Its worth it. People notice good design, and laugh at bad design.
Unfortunately, what was good design in the 90’s may not be good design today. Your clubs should be constantly looking to stay relevant. To put it plainly, here are a few design principles to help you out:
- Cartoons are generally not good design unless you work for Nickelodeon or Disney. If you want to be seen as a pro club, look like a pro club.
- Star Wars was the peak of good design once upon a time. Taking branding cues from Star Wars is no longer good design.
- Branding your club with some arbitrary moniker is not good branding and will probably hinder your efforts towards good design. At one time nicknames like ‘Thunder’, ‘Force,’ and ‘Stars’ was probably considered GREAT branding technique. But times have changed. Monikers can be used well, but should generally identify the club with a larger more significant narrative. So monikers that reference a geographical situation, a significant local theme, or something similar can work.
- Simplicity is best. This is true of your logo/crest as well as your club name, jerseys, and just about everything.
- With very few exceptions: don’t use stars in your logo unless you’ve won a championship. Don’t put a soccer ball in your logo; if it’s not obvious you’re a soccer club then you’ve already failed.
- Do have a website, and really try to host it at a .com address. And no, yourclubfc.blogspot.com does not count. This site should have pertinent club information, a place to by tickets and merchandise, and should be updated with club news and scores regularly.
- Get a Facebook page and twitter. You want people to follow you and engage you, and social media is good way to accomplish this. Also, don’t forget to update once in a while. These tools do no good if they aren’t actually used.
This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s really just something to get you started. And if you want some examples of how to do it right, check out Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, FC Tucson or Nashville FC.
Or check out Greater Binghamton Futbol Club Thunder FC, replete with stars, black and white soccer balls, and laser rays:
I’ll still support you GBFC Thunder, but you sure have made it difficult to be proud to represent my club.
“Behind goals from Eric Larson and Tyler Hurst, the Sonoma County Sol dispatched the Sacramento Gold 2-1 Saturday night at Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, Calif. to move one step closer to qualifying for the 101st edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Coach Vinnie Cortezzo said, “Last year, Sacramento knocked us out in the early rounds of Open Cup qualifying so it was nice to get a little revenge.”
Read the full match recap by Evan Ream over at TheCup.us (the best site for US Open Cup news and updates.)
Nashville FC is unique in the NPSL (and indeed, in the US) in that they are a supporter owned club. They are also unique in that they feature one of the most beautiful crests in US soccer. The crest features the club colors, which are taken from the colors of the state flag. What stands out in this crest is the seamless blend of sharp modern design with traditional elements that incorporates ‘NFC’ centered around le fleur de lis in a traditional circular crest. Each of these elements also ties the club to its local roots: the circular crest reflects the city’s musical heritage in that it adopts the shape of a record, and le fleur de lis is taken directly from the City of Nashville seal. You can find more on Nashville FC and their club crest on their website.
Mass United dropped out of NPSL play prior to the 2013 season, and when the ASL was originally announced, Mass United was immediately a consideration as a founding club.Today the rumors were put to rest as former NPSL club Mass United has announced that they will join the upstart American Soccer League associated with former NPSL technical director Matt Driver.
The American Soccer League is being formed as a professional league with aims towards USSF division three sanctioning. According to the league website, the ASL “business model resolves issues that have hindered pro leagues in the past including large travel budgets, unorganized league structure, and high entry fees.” Just how they aim to do this remains to be seen.
Displacing USL Pro (or even the PDL or NPSL for that matter) seems like a tall order, especially for a league billing itself as ‘professional’. But, you can read about that here.