"The supporter's culture was what really got me into it."
Gute Tag Leser! Welcome back to American Pyramid and your weekly does of reading about awesome people and awesome soccer clubs in the lower leagues of the US of A. I got tuned into Himmarshee FC while Steve Bernasconi of The Soccer Tour was staying with my wife and I this summer in KC.
I'll give you a really quick rundown before you dive in Himmarshee FC is a member owned club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Members get to vote on almost everything, like they just did for jerseys for the debut season. And they are going to be some of the most beautiful in American Soccer period, let me tell you. Derek talks about what it means to be a member, and how important it is for them to be member owned to ensure the club has a long, bright future. Check it out.
'I have been playing with the adults for the Hmong soccer tournaments since I was 13 years old. So technically I have been a "non league" Hmong player for a long time now.'
Today's interview is brought to you by Jack Nadel. Jack Nadel International has partnered with American Pyramid to provide teams with access to a full range of merchandise. You can now order anything from shirts and water bottles to umbrellas and pint glasses with your teams logo on it, giving your fans more cool team gear to buy than ever before. As a bonus, all American Pyramid readers get 10% off their first order of $300 or more in merchandise. Simply email Mark Mogle at email@example.com and tell him American Pyramid sent you. Minimum order quantities may apply on certain branded merchandise.
Good morning faithful readers! Welcome back to regularly scheduled programming! We're back on a Thursday release schedule for new interviews, and we've got some great ones lined up over the next month or so. Himmarshee, Las Vegas Mobsters, Asheville City to name a few of the upcoming interviews.
This one is different. I got to interview Peter Xiong, a true veteran of the non league scene. He's played with Minnesota Twinstars, Minnesota United Reserves, and now VSLT FC, while moonlighting with local Hmong teams and a college stop in Mississippi. Peter is a straight baller, too. Look at the goal he scored at this summer's Hmong tournament in Minneapolis.
Yeah, there's some quality in the lower levels. So check out today's interview with Peter Xiong.
The views of The Soccer Heel are their own, and not reflective of the collective writers at American Pyramid
Well, well, well. Looks like it's my turn to be The Soccer Heel. I talk to a lot of people in lower league soccer, it is a smaller community, after all, and it has caused a question to rise up in my mind. It's a simple question, really. Where is my money going?
What do you mean? You might be asking yourself. I'll show you what I mean.
The National Premier Soccer League had 84 teams at the end of 2016. 17 left, reducing it to 67, then added another 30 for the 2017 season, bringing it to 97 teams total. Here is some math for you. To be clear, my math on sponsor revenue is a guesstimate, but it will serve it's purpose.
Expansion teams in 2016: 19
Expansion Fee in 2016: $12,000
Total Revenue from Expansion Fees, 2016: $228,000
Expansion teams in 2017: 30
Expansion Fee in 2017: $15,000
Total Revenue from Expansion Fees, 2017: $450,000
Total Revenue from Expansion Fees, 2016 through 2017: $678,000
Cash Prize to winning teams: $0
What in the world is that money being stockpiled for? Where is it going? Why did the expansion fee go up in 2017, which might have been the worst off season ever for the NPSL? Per Wikipedia, the NPSL had 84 teams at the end of the 2016, and promptly lost 17. Why the increase in cost? What value are teams getting for this fee? I mean, the league did start an awesome Youtube highlight show, but did that take $3,000 from all new expansion teams to do?
I won't even get into the seeming lack of interest to find sponsors for the league, or naming rights sponsors for conferences to create more revenue to keep the cost down for clubs, and maybe even create a pool of prize money for winners.
At least the UPSL is giving teams that win the Championship $5,000. And with a Spring and Fall season, you can win $10,000 total. And I've heard of at least one of their conferences doing a cash prize for their winner. Where is that in the NPSL?
I'm going to take a long, hard look at what's best this off season. I want clarity on what's being done with my money, and frankly, there's more incentive to win when there's something on the line. We need more transparency at the lower levels from the leagues. Hopefully this will help us get some.
"As soccer players we come together and have formed strong friendships which have extended to our outreach with the community."
To be honest, I don't feel like writing an intro for this interview. The timing of it is too....heavy. For those of you who don't know, Aromas Cafe FC have made noise thanks to a couple of US Open Cup runs. They also call Charlottesville, Virginia home. We started on this interview a week to a week and a half ago. You'll notice this is a shorter interview, as we cut things short at David's request so we could spread some positive news about Charlottesville.
As you retweet and share this interview, please use #UnitedBySoccer. Not just because it's Aromas Cafe's motto, but because it's true. I've met and talked to people because of soccer that I would never have interacted with otherwise. Let's spread some good news today. Let's be #UnitedBySoccer