Chapco Inaugural Soccer Blog


Why We Are Writing About Soccer:

 Over the course of the next weeks, months, and years, you will notice that Chapman and Company is posting significant material on soccer.  There are four reasons we are compelled to start a conversation about soccer:

1.    Soccer is an ecosystem. We build ecosystems.

2.    We love soccer. Love it!

3.    To advance the soccer conversation.

4.    To recruit communities, clients, and others to the cause.

 Soccer is an Ecosystem.  We build ecosystems.

 We help companies, cities, and communities develop ecosystems[1].  In many instances, this is a challenge because it requires an entire re-frame and re-direction of the management team’s mindset.  For example, in the entrepreneurial ecosystem world, the reset requires an economic developer, entrepreneur, and many others to see themselves as part of a bigger system – not just independent actors.  This is often difficult for individuals.  Sports, on the other hand, allow others to imagine and comprehend the interconnectedness of the ecosystem via a closed loop structure or league.  Soccer provides a concrete way to discuss abstract concepts.

 We love soccer.  Love it!

 We enjoy soccer immensely.  Across our staff, we have direct relationships to the game at every level and numerous children that play the game.  Every member of our staff has played soccer.  We listen to soccer podcasts.  We argue about strategy.  We support our teams, both locally and internationally.  We recognize our role as ambassadors of the game.  And, we work to improve the game of soccer going forward using all the tools in our toolbox. 

 To advance the soccer conversation.

 Soccer particularly in the United States, is a place where we can dramatically shift our conversation about sports (and life) away from building bigger shrines and rewarding rich almost always white owners with public money.  Instead, we believe that we should shift to rebuilding our structures around community, joy, and fulfillment. – even in small places and with small things.  Chapman and Company has been involved in sports in numerous ways – player, coach, observer, and referee. Our team has also analyzed the role of sports, stadiums, and other components on behalf of cities and communities.  We deeply understand the role of sports in the world and appreciate it.  But, we are also concerned about the nature of sports becoming less about athletics and more about economics. 

 The Olympics should not cost countries their bond rating.  The ownership of a professional club should not be a private club for billionaires alone. Cities shouldn’t lose their sports teams. Kids should not be forced to choose a select sport at age 8.  All Americans should have access to resources and coaching that will allow them to play in the future.  America should be investing in sports and athletics – not stadiums. 

 To recruit communities, clients, and others to the cause.

 Our self-interested goal is to be informative and establish a knowledge set within our team at Chapman and Company that can be deployed on behalf of soccer teams and leagues – and across industry into other sectors.  The reality is that training people to think about ecosystems is challenging.  This is a way for our team to build an entire set of work that is transparent and provides us and other practitioners with examples, illustrations, and solutions to difficult challenges.  Simply stated, we think that it will help us get more customers.  This is a marketing effort on our part, not exclusively, but we do not hide the fact that our goal is to get communities, or soccer organizations, to buy our services. 

 In many instances, our efforts with regard to soccer will fall short of what we would like and what we believe – because research, data, and even our own concepts are too nascent:  We just don’t know what we don’t know… yet. We will say many things and they will be both wrong and wrong-headed (poorly thought out).  However, the things that we say that are the most different, divisive, controversial, or challenging are often not the things about which we are wrong.  As a reader of this blog, we hope that you consider what we are saying above about our motivations because the reality is that in many places the conventional wisdom about how things work or how they must work is simply incorrect.  It is based on structures, systems, and rationales that are outdated or past their useful life. 

 Our hope is to expose some of those things in the soccer world. 

 To do this, we will be doing a couple of things.  We will be blogging regularly.  Our hope is that you will see soccer commentary about every two weeks.  We will also be supplementing our blogging with 12 podcast episodes where we go into more detail about some of the innovative concepts mentioned in our blog. Finally, we will be doing independent research regarding soccer, its structures, competition, and other things. We will use a dedicated part of our firm’s social media structure to talk about soccer. 

We are not sure exactly what we will find along the way – but we feel very positively about our ability as a firm to add a useful tune to the soccer melody.  Please join us for the ride!

Scott Bragg - Missouri Valley All Conference, 1998

Photo Credit:  University of Evansville Athletic Department 

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[1]Chapman and Company’s definition: An ecosystem is an interrelated network of economic elements that affect each other providing prime actors, culture, support structures, incentives, activities, knowledge, and relationships that shape economic activities in a community, region, or industry.

Scott Bragg