I have been very outspoken with my displeasure with the state of soccer in the Corpus Christi area. I have gone so far as to post an open proposal to my peers in Corpus with a plan that I feel can start us moving in the right direction. However, I feel that to really bring Corpus soccer to the level it should be is a three step process. Here they are.
First, the clubs in the Coastal Bend need to merge into one club. We do not have the population or player pool for our area to try to field teams from seven different clubs. One unified club would allow us to put together teams of the best players from our area and compete on the level that we are capable of. Also, one unified club would allow us to hire a professional DOC who would assume responsibility for the tryout process, player development, and tournament selection. A unified club would also give us enhanced purchasing power and a better chance at getting our city to help out.
That brings me to my second step. The cities and/or counties of the Coastal Bend, have to get involved and help out. In many other areas around the state, various municipalities own and/or maintain the facilities and the clubs lease the space. In our area, some clubs lease space from the city, others use surplus Navy land but in all cases, the clubs not only pay the leasing fees, but they also must absorb all fees associated with the complexes (maintenance, equipment, etc.). If the city wants to get out of the parks and recreation business, they just need to donate the land to the clubs and let them have full ownership. At least that way, they don’t have lease fees to pay. As for the clubs using surplus Navy land, their hands are tied by rules the Navy has in place regarding what can and can ‘t be done at each location. This is why I think those locations should be used as practice facilities for the new unified club. The cities in our area are always talking about how we need to rely on tourism, etc. I can’t think of a better way to bring in a few thousand people than to have a nice complex that we could host tournaments at. Who wouldn’t want a nice weekend at the beach.
The last, and perhaps most difficult step is educating the soccer community down here. We need the families of the players down here to realize that if you want high level training on top quality fields, it is going to cost some money. I only partially buy into the “if you build it, they will come” mindset. I think the concept of a “paid trainer/coach” is one that many parents don’t fully understand. Many of them grew up in the era of volunteer coaches and the idea of paying a trainer to coach their child is foreign to them. Finally, being a football and baseball hotbed, many of our parents don’t realize that soccer players don’t get recruited from high school teams. Those players that want to play the game at the next level get exposure at club level showcase tournaments where college coaches can see many games in one weekend. Don’t get me wrong, there are some families down here that are on board with what it takes to provide high level training and games. However, many of them have chosen to take their game to San Antonio or Austin. The rest that have stayed in the Coastal Bend are spread out throughout the numerous clubs we have here.
While I will never claim that taking these three steps will forever fix soccer in the Coastal Bend, climbing them will bring us very close to the level of soccer we are capable of playing. I have extended the offer and put forth a proposal for change. I ask my peers in the Coastal Bend soccer community to join with me and make the game better for our kids.