The Game Planners Blog

Our team has spent over one hundred years contributing to different areas of soccer both nationally and internationally. Those areas are, but not limited to, player development, organizational development, and business development. Our team realized that there was a need for an integrated and data-driven approach to soccer organization development. This blog will feed into those areas and bring light to a myriad of topics in this arena.

The Importance of Club Development (Part 2)


The Importance of Club Development (Part 2)



Partner, The Game Planners, LLC


The first step is to understand that there is a real need for ‘Club Development’ just as much as there is a need for player, coach, and referee development. At the same time, our National Governing Bodies (e.g., USSF, USYS) should actively encourage and advocate for Club Development, and promulgate a threshold set of standards to help guide such club development.

Club boards also need to realize that developing elite players will require not only good coaches, a well-planned player development curriculum, and a playing philosophy but also a sound business plan and a supporting organization/governance structure. In any soccer – or other sports organization – there are three foundational pillars needed to underpin success: 1) Player/Game Development, 2) Business Development, and 3) Organization Development.  I refer you to The Game Planners website ( to find more information on these three critical drivers of club success.

From my many years serving as a soccer executive, I have concluded that successful soccer organizations – National Associations, Leagues or Clubs – all have a well-thought-out governance structure supported by a clear strategy and functioning organization design, as well as a corresponding talented staff that allows them to enjoy the widespread success that they do. In fact, I believe that the Organization Development pillar is first among equals, and once settled, allows for more seamless integration of the Business Development and Player/Game Development pillars at the club.

Despite the growing recognition of the important role organization design/governance structure can play, in the U.S., the non-profit nature of most clubs continues to pose a challenge. Specifically, with most non-profit club set-ups, it has proven very difficult to get the board to assess itself. In our soccer landscape, for youth soccer clubs, the parents are, in effect, customers, and the players are the end-consumer. For non-profit clubs, this scenario unfortunately allows the governance structure or board to essentially morph into a glorified “parents association”. Parents usually serve as board members and officers of the non-profit club. In most cases, when these parents’ children become non-consumers – either age-out or quit playing – these same board members typically move on from the club, as well.

Succession planning for the board to ensure stability and continuity has traditionally been more of an afterthought for many clubs. Planning beyond a single term tends to be more the exception than the rule. Unless the board and other club leaders (e.g., ownership) recognize the importance of club leadership stability and continuity, very few will feel the need to challenge or regularly assess the efficacy of existing governance and organization structures in optimally supporting the club’s mission, vision, and objectives (business or otherwise).  There are professionals, like The Game Planners, who provide consulting services to clubs to help them systematically think through and design best-fitting organization structures.  In the end, it is critical that youth soccer clubs begin moving beyond the simple “parents association” mindset and set themselves up to run more like a well-functioning business.

(To be continued)

The Importance of Club Development (Part 3 Final)

Latest Blogs


The Game Planners
353 Capstone St. Belton, Texas 76513

Mo-Fr: 9.00AM - 6.00PM