The Kansas City Shock: Daring to Be Different and Shocking the World   Leave a comment

Shawn Daugherty, owner of the Kansas City Shock (a 2013 expansion entry in the WPSL), and our managing director are part of a new breed of women’s soccer leaders.  They believe that the game as it is currently structured leaves too many players on the outside looking in, with the cost and logistics associated with top-level competition being the major barriers to greater inclusion.  As these two programs (the Shock and Milwaukee United) are a little different but cut by and large from the same cloth, we felt it would be a good idea to share with you what they are doing to “be the change” in their part of the country.

Scott Viar (managing director of MUSC):  How did you originally come up with founding the Shock?

Shawn Daugherty:  I was writing on behalf of Our Game Magazine when the USA/Canada match took place last September at Livestrong Stadium. Make no mistake, Kansas City is a soccer city, but I was curious on how many would show up for women’s game. Not only was it sold out, it was sold out with a completely different dynamic versus the fan base for Sporting Kansas City matches. At that point, staring out at over 17,000 screaming fans I started to ponder the concept of women’s soccer at the next level in the one area that women’s soccer has barely scratched the surface; the Great Plains. Following that, utilizing my blog at Women’s Soccer United, I started to just brainstorm ideas and dreams. I placed them openly on Twitter, and before I knew it, Bryan McBeth [the club’s now-general manager] had contacted me, Ed Blythe and Jamie Wiley followed promptly. At that point, the four of us saw the future; loosely, and through social media saw that the support was already there. We just had no idea how large it was from the beginning.

SV:  What is the main focus of the club/organization (e.g. adult play, youth play, pipeline from youth to open play)?

SD:  Ask anyone around me and they’ll say that on my darker days I’m an egotistical maniac. Common concept of the Shock is this; be the best of the best. My massive, final dream: take our squad, take on the USA Women’s National Team, and win. I want to show the people of the Great Plains how great they are. I want to take their star-studded sisters and daughters, and transform them into a high caliber program that would make the likes of the Northwest Cascadia region blush. We don’t do much with youth because we’re not an academy designed program. There are already enough academies in Kansas City, we have the vision of being the goal that those kids in those academies, clubs, and high schools dream of one day playing for.

SV:  Where do you plan to draw players from, and how is that in line/not in line with the club’s mission and focus? Can you give me a couple of examples of players that are on your radar, and how will you go about bringing them into the fold (be it scouting/recruiting, combine, tryouts, etc.)?

SD:   Our players, similar to the cheesy reference to corn and soybeans around here, are home grown. We take pride in telling the rest of the United States that top tier caliber players don’t have to come from the coasts, but they exist in the Heartland just as much. It goes back to being a club by the people for the people. None of the founders are in the 1% of the American population, we’re common workers inside our local economy with a simple dream; bring women’s soccer to Kansas City. Players we’re looking at…that’s still under the radar at the moment. Tryouts however are on their way to being announced. Part of what we’ve done to make sure that we reach everyone is by surpassing just the idea of speaking to the local clubs/academies. We’ve made contact with each high school women’s program in Missouri and Kansas [over 300 programs], every collegiate program from NAIA, NCAA [DI, DII, and DIII]. Also, when we get an inquiry about our program and tryouts, we address it promptly and anticipate that they spread the word. We started talks with the vice-preside of the United States Women’s Deaf Soccer program, learned that one player was in college in this area, made contact. We’re now speaking to four or five players from just that program. We have no limitations, why should we? We anticipate, expect, and hope that our tryout procedure is going to take several days because so many people show up.

SV:  How did you raise the initial capital to get off the ground?

SD:  Initially we needed $2,500 as a ‘buy-in’ fee for the WPSL. Technically, though not necessarily easy, I could have paid the $2,500 myself. However, it was then that we started to think that it’d be fun to do things that separate us from other programs. That’s when we discovered the lifetime ticket approach. We’d sell 20 tickets at $125 a piece; that’d equal our admission fee to the league. The question was, “Will people pay money to something that they cannot see?” So, we sweetened the pot. I believed that if people are going out on faith for something that isn’t necessarily real; that they should be compensated for their loyal demonstration. Because of this, we stated that each of those twenty tickets would get you into a game at the Kansas City Shock in 2013, 2016, and 2024, and anytime between then. It was outlandish, a bit weird, but within the weekend we’d sold sixteen of the twenty, and by a weeks length; they were all gone and the WPSL had a check.

SV:  How were you able to bring a staff together around your ideas, and where did you recruit them from for the organization?

SD: I didn’t have to do a thing; literally. They just manifested and came to be. Again, all shared the same desire; to grow the women’s game in Kansas City. We’ve had Founders that are engineers, in the military, landscapers, or even myself that works with Subway on my downtime from the Shock. Our support staff has Starbucks barista’s, physical therapy Master’s students, etc…we’re just a unique group. That’s perfect in my book. We are the common person, we are not of the ‘correct FIFA oriented pedigree’. We’re business people, we’re innovators, and I firmly believe; we’re the future of what this sport could be.

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Posted October 11, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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