With the San Antonio Scorpions looking towards Major League Soccer and Spurs Sports and Entertainment rumored to be looking at the same prize, it may be helpful for both organizations to look back on what has and has not worked for teams that are currently in the MLS.
Have your own stadium
The teams that are doing the best off the field in the MLS are those that have their own (or share like the two LA teams) soccer specific stadium, this is a crucial part of the puzzle. The Scorpions have already found this one out, if you have to go somewhere else it means you have to play by their rules, and your fans might not always like that, so get a stadium deal before announcing anything to do with the MLS.
Expect to suck
You’re not going to be very good in your first season, so don’t expect to be, expect your first season to be a building season. Don’t do what Gold Coast United did when they entered the A-League and say you’re going to win the league undefeated, it just sets everyone up to hate you (Gold Coast didn’t by the way, came 4th and lost in Round 4). Look at the example of the Philadelphia Union, they didn’t exactly blow everyone away last year, but they never claimed they would, slow patient work over their first year lead to them topping the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break in their second.
This is a lesson the Scorpions have definitely heard, they involve the fans on almost everything, and the key is to keep this going should they end up in the MLS. Community engagement means more than just giving fans a voice it also involves engaging the whole community. You have to make it hard for people in San Antonio to ignore you, go to schools, go to hospitals, go train kids at the various soccer clubs we have here in San Antonio, host a 7-a-side tournament. The Scorpions again have a great leg-up here, the involvement with Morgan’s Wonderland is fantastic community engagement, what they must be careful of is not sitting on that, go outside of Morgans and in to the community at large.
These three points are merely the start, but if followed it should lead to a successful MLS club, they don’t even cover things like recruitment, back-office staff and promotion, but from a start-up point of view this is where they need to go.
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