by Brian van Buren
When I first joined the board for DeKalb County United, my knowledge about lower division soccer was limited. My only experience was casually following our temporary rival, Aurora Borealis. Even then, it's difficult to grasp everything it takes to start a team. With that being said, I believe the volunteers and supporters of DKCU take it to a level that the majority of lower division teams could only dream of. Season ticket holders, social media supporters and simply having fans attend your games is unheard of among the majority of teams we play.
From the outset, it was never a goal to provide financial benefit to board members, volunteers or players. Quite honestly, at this level, that's unrealistic and a recipe for failure. Our hope has always been to give the community something to support for the greater good which is why we take our community involvement so seriously and value every sponsor and supporter who attends our matches.
These same sponsors and supporters are the reason this team is possible. As previously mentioned, lower division soccer is fraught with owners who view it as a money making venture. Those same teams are often non-existent after 2-3 years. Our primary objective is financial stability while we continue to build our following in the community. The expenses to run this team are significant and the Board of Directors continuously evaluates all outflows to determine their necessity.
Building a supportive community culture takes time. We have worked diligently to produce new sources of revenue for the club both in the form of youth camps and tournaments. We've also added the U-23 boys program (season kicks off next week, June 5th) and hope to launch a U-23 girl's team next summer. Finally, we're always producing new merchandise for our fans both online and at games (make sure to visit Morgan's great merch table at the next match!).
At the end of the day, we rely on our community. Every person who attends a match, buys a t-shirt or registers their child for a camp is contributing to the success of this club. The next time you come to a match, bring a friend or family that hasn't attended before. The players and volunteers are appreciative of your support and don't take it for granted.