The excitement is growing from fans and community members alike around the announcement that Memphis will be getting its own soccer team in 2016. Since then we’ve seen the club’s logo, colors, and some basic ideas about what we can expect. Now we’re hearing from the co-founders of the team… Dan Collins and Doug Kranz. Both are parents, moved by the passion for soccer and watching their own kids grow up playing competitive soccer in Memphis. Their desire to see pro soccer in Memphis is formed around those motivating factors. Check out the answers they had to a few questions we asked this week including what style the team will emulate on the field and more about how they hope to create heroes in our city for our soccer culture. There’s also a few things YOU can do to help out and some upcoming events and mile markers for the club.
Choose901: Why start a soccer team in Memphis? What’s your story?
Dan Collins (MCFC co-founder): We started a team in Memphis because we saw the long-standing potential this city has and its connection with soccer. The number of people involved from the youth ranks to the adult leagues is astounding and we felt the timing is perfect to launch a team for the Mid-South – a source of pride bringing people together the same way they do for the Tigers, Grizzlies, etc…. The demographics are changing as well – there’s a surge of young professionals moving into the region and offering new perspectives – with these younger generations, soccer has been found to be one of the most popular sports. Considering its geographical location, Memphis truly is an oasis in the region so to have a top shelf soccer club in this area is necessary and will be very powerful on many levels. Additionally, there’s a rich but somewhat brief affair with the worlds game many years back and we felt it was time for it to rise again but stay for the long haul!
“We started a team in Memphis because we saw the long-standing potential this city has and its connection with soccer… We felt the timing is perfect to launch a team for the Mid-South – a source of pride bringing people together. there’s a surge of young professionals moving into the region and offering new perspectives – with these younger generations, soccer has been found to be one of the most popular sports. ” -Dan Collins, MCFC Co-Founder
C901: How will this team be different from previous teams in Memphis history?
MCFC: The sporting environment in Memphis has grown exponentially and soccer has been right there along for the ride. There’s a new mentality and understanding of the game from the office to the pitch as it has gone mainstream – finally!!! We can’t speak to how clubs were organized in the past, but what they did obviously worked for them during that era – we believe our business model may be a little different but just as interesting and is based off of 3 main tenants:
A) Local Heroes – provide the new generation of young players someone to look up to and relate with. A very large percentage of MLS and other pro players go through the NPSL – can you imagine local kids being able to watch an MCFC player they personally know, rise through the ranks and make it to a national and possibly international level in soccer? There is nothing more inspiring than that.
We are well aware of the impact clubs like the Rogues and even other organizations like the Chicks & Showboats made on this city. So many people we’ve spoken with still offer fond memories of those times – you know you succeeded when folks are still bragging about where they were during XYZ game 30+ years later! We want to go even further and establish this team as a Memphis institution but also make MCFC a household name on a national level meaning that this area will be considered a soccer powerhouse.
B) Civic Duty – this club will contribute to society in as many positive ways as possible. Our players are not meant to be seen on the field only and have a “game day” relationship with citizens. We anticipate many interactions between our organization and contributing to the greater good. Whether it’s meeting the fans in the stands for a celebration or getting out and running a camp for those who can’t make it to the games. It’s our responsibility to touch as many lives as possible in as positive fashion as possible and be an example for as many as we can. We’ve already had some tremendous feedback and heard from so many people, but we hope we can connect and partner with a number of charities to start learning what MCFC can do to help.
C) Launch Platform – We consider ourselves primarily responsible for 2 areas of the game; the fan experience and the coaches/players progress. For coaches/players, we want to be the springboard for their careers. We will be utilizing the clubs exposure to push our athletes to their dreams whether that be to play pro, coaching ranks, or just be involved with the sport at some capacity. There are plans to work contacts at both the domestic and international levels and while we want our coaches and players to stay, we also want them to go and fulfill their visions. There’s a number of exciting relationships we’re working on right now and we think possibilities are remarkable on how we can push and promote our coaches and players. People will need to pay close attention because our future announcements will be phenomenal opportunities for our players and coaches.
C901: What can people expect from the games and the team?
MCFC: We’re aiming to provide an atmosphere unlike anything people have seen before – something the fans will not forget – this includes both in the stands and on the field. As many are aware, the other cities in TN and conference provide a fantastic example on how to do things in a very successful manner and we hope to mimic and expand on their models. When people come to the games, we want them to feel the buzz in the air like something is very different, very special. Supporter groups will be a huge asset – watching them get extremely loud and creative with their cheers (respectfully) and establish an environment of ‘discomfort’ for the opposing team will be amazing. We relish the rivalries especially with our state conference teams – it’s Memphis vs, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga!
C901: What are the next steps for the team? How can people get involved/help out?
MCFC: There are multiple next steps – almost too many to mention! To cover just a few:
- 3 to 4 tryouts in Winter/Spring of 2016
- Coach announcements
- Kit introduction
- Hosting a media day at a local establishment
- Press promotion via radio, web, possibly TV
- Presenting our apparel line (scarves, clothing, specialty items, etc…)
- Working with supporter groups for team songs and promotions
In terms of what people can do to get involved… we’re really looking for help in the following areas:
- Board members, interns, consultants, etc
- Brand – everything from website, to video production, to social media
There is a large amount of work to do and anything people can do to help out would be greatly appreciated – please contact us directly to discuss further.
C901: If MCFC is to play like a club soccer fans are already familiar with… who would you compare the style of play to?
MCFC: We sit in the comfortable position of playing pretend since the team is currently under development. The popular answer is Barcelona – and we agree with this – we like a short and intelligent passing strategy working the ball into the goal and using ALL parts of the field – especially the middle. Both of us are huge fans of creative, fast, yet patient play. To take it to a higher level, we would love to have a mix of Spanish field IQ (Barca & Sevilla), German power (Bayrern/Dortmund), and Dutch acumen (Ajax). That’s not much of definitive answer but if you know much about those teams philosophies/styles then you know there are aspects of connectivity between all of them and understand what we are aiming for.
To conclude, we want to make a few things crystal clear to everyone:
We don’t want to just put a product out on the field and see what happens. There are giant expectations including making it to the championship and the US Open Cup in the very near future – there is more than enough talent around these parts that we feel we can put together an amazing team. We want to supply the GREATEST product possible and push as far as we can to win, We want our coaches, players, and fans eat live and breathe soccer and the environment we offer can give all of us that opportunity.