Rise (and Fall) in the East: East County $urf

(Disclaimer: This is a long post, consolidating nearly a decade of observation. This post is a memoir. It reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. Some event time lines and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated.)

I thought about responding to this thread (https://socalsoccer.com/threads/east-county-surf.18035/) a year or two ago, but with all the Covid effects on soccer play over the previous couple of years, I held off due to uncertainty of how things were really going for the club and teams. I decided to make a new thread instead of resurrecting the old thread to update how things went before and after our Club decided to franchise with Surf. We’ve played with Liverpool/East County Surf on and off for many years, as Liverpool and as EC Surf. What started as a great premise proposed by Liverpool, developing and consolidating the top players in San Diego’s East County into one organization to create top level competitive teams in our own community, turned into a business that appears to primarily be concerned with quantity over quality for the purpose of making more money with less effort.

When Liverpool SC was started in East County there were multiple small community clubs in the area: Hotspurs, OVC, United, Real Madrid, Crusaders, Sporting, Matrix. They all were competing for players and all struggling to break into the top competitive youth brackets. As players developed and recognized there were no clubs in the area moving up in level of play, they would commute west to clubs playing at a higher level: Albion, Rebels, SD Surf, Sharks, SDSC. In an attempt to stop losing East County players to the aforementioned clubs, Liverpool started consolidating coaches and players into a single organization, many of the local clubs and coaches resisted as expected.

Liverpool started on the right path. They provided training to coaches so they were all training players the same way, implemented a style of play that would progress from the U-littles into the Older Groups, and focused on playing using strategy and technique over 1v1 athleticism to increase the quality of play. After a couple seasons, the results were showing as all the teams were moving up in level of play, and players from the area started moving over.

As players started moving over and the number of teams increased, it started the churn of rosters in the area. If a player didn’t make the top team now that there is more than one team per age group at the club, they would switch clubs to one of the other local options who only had one team per age group. For the next couple of years, the same players rotated in and out of the local teams, while Liverpool struggled to provide enough coaches and fields for the players they had. Many of the players and rosters were changing, but everything else remained the same. The players who were serious, and could afford it, continued to move West to the big clubs. The core players remained and continued to contribute to the goal of building a top club in East County.

Consolidating top talent in the area into one team was not working with the constant churn of players. When Liverpool/EC Surf would move progressing players up from the second teams, and demote those who were not keeping up, they would lose groups of players to competing teams. Parents were upset that new talent was disrupting their social groups and established pecking order. EC Surf started recruiting these competing club and high school coaches as an entire package deal to keep players from club hopping in the area. Even though these were the coaches that they had been telling everyone “didn’t know how to coach,” or “didn’t know how to play possession,” “only focus on kickball that won’t be successful when they are older,” etc. This wholesale team recruitment started while the club was still named Liverpool, but really picked up with the name change to Surf. In that regard, it was a successful strategy to franchise as a Surf affiliate for the marketing recognition. As entire teams and coaches joined, the other local organizations dwindled, and most of them folded up. A few of the local teams who didn’t join with EC Surf partnered to play under other big club banners to stay together (Rebels East, Albion EC, Sporting, Legends SD), but their numbers are very limited, and they are really struggling to keep the teams going. Once the current teams start aging out of these satellite organizations, they will probably fold as well; it doesn’t appear they are building younger teams.

The problem with bringing entire teams into a club is how to integrate them with the existing players and coaches. The teams that are coming over don’t want to be dismantled, the coach doesn’t want to lose the team, and they certainly don’t want to be the second, third, or fourth team. The existing teams have the same concerns. Meetings with parents, players, and coaches assured everyone that each player would be evaluated fairly and placed appropriately for their development. Cross training within the teams of the same age group would further fine tune placement, and movement of players between teams would happen throughout the season. This was all a farce. They initially moved a couple players from each team after tryouts, but the abilities of the players moved didn’t match expectations. It didn’t make any sense based on watching most of the players for 6+ years; as many players had been on teams together at some point over the past few years of the churn. EC Surf did not consolidate the top players into one team, not even close. How did it go unnoticed for so long? Keep the teams separate, keep them separate, keep them separate. Players never moved, even though they obviously should have, teams never trained together, heck, even during covid they never even scrimmaged each other on their own fields, never, even though the teams were traveling to different states just to get some play time.

The next year, more teams were recruited. Did they get better at integrating them into the club? No. Now, there was a noticeable change in the style of play amongst the different teams. The new coaches did not appear to adopt the system Liverpool had been building, the new players of the recruited teams resisted integrating the existing players into the recruited teams, the new parents did not share the vision of building a top tier club (competitive teams over social networks). The pillars of what the club was being built on were eroded away quickly. The players lingo to describe the current club/team culture is a “toxic environment.”

A lot of good players left during these transitions. Some were not keen on the change over to a Surf affiliate, some were not keen on the obvious political nature of wholesale team selections, some just outgrew the club. I don’t recall any of the parents being excited or happy about the move to franchise with Surf when it was announced. Liverpool tried to sell the change as a coordinated pathway to move the best performing players over to SD Surf to play with them until EC Surf built up top competitive teams and then they could move back. They stood up there at a parent meeting and actually told everyone to their face, they would be working together with the coaching staff at SD Surf to move players back and forth for their best development. I don’t think anyone is surprised to hear that was a complete fabrication to get buy-in from the existing players. Prices would stay the same, we would have access to better facilities, our coaches would be training with the SD Surf coaches, all bullshit. Why would SD Surf want to franchise with Liverpool? This question was never answered by the club, the only thing they would bring up is that SD Surf would benefit from using our talent while we grow. Not a single player to anyone’s knowledge has been moved over to one of SD Surf’s top teams by the club, some have left to go play with them on their own, but it is no surprise.

Didn’t take long to figure out how SD Surf benefits from the affiliates. Our club gained access to their facilities all right, the Del Mar Polo Fields. So instead of playing on the multiple nice turf facilities we have access to in East County, we hold many of our events and games at the Polo Fields, and we and our opponents all get to pay for parking each time. Additionally, as a Surf affiliate, the players are REQUIRED to buy a COMPLETE uniform kit EVERY year. SD Surf gets a percentage of these uniform sales. There it is, that is why they are franchising faster than McDonalds. If your club is a Surf affiliate, you are funding the very organization that is working behind the scenes to keep control of the closed loop leagues, and keep your up-and-coming players locked out, but, let’s stay focused on EC Surf.

The Surf name recognition seems to have been a successful marketing strategy for consolidating the players in East County. Unfortunately, it has not been successful in keeping the top talent in East County. Even though the effects of recruiting entire teams with coaches stopped the loss of demoted players, the attrition of top players continues. This current year Hotspurs, United, and I think Real Madrid folded up in East County, and a lot of the Crusaders, Sporting, Rebels East, and Matrix teams disbanded or moved over to EC Surf. EC Surf was looking at a massive pool of players and talent this year, and also brought in some professional licensed coaches with quality experience coaching in the top leagues. They were accepted into the DPL, which is a performance dependent but realistic path into GA. Everything EC Surf needed to reach their goal of providing a top-level soccer option in East County was on the table. They chose another path.
 
cont...

What would a professional organization do with the opportunity they had? They would assess how many teams they can realistically develop with the resources they have. How many teams can a professional coach handle, and how many quality fields do we have available to us in East County? Then use that to make decisions on how many teams you will have per age group. Most of the established top performing clubs only carry two or three teams per age group. If you are truly focused on consolidating top talent, and you are still in the process of building a top tier club, two teams per age group seems like a responsible choice. Then, evaluate your talent pool and keep the players with the best soccer Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities, and let the remaining players go; you can’t build top teams by making coaches carry mediocre players, you must move mediocre players down and move good players up. This requires that the evaluators don’t have any conflicts of interest in the processes of team selection. It requires evaluators/coaches select the teams, without influence from the board or controlling members. It requires that the evaluator/coach does not have a familial relationship with any of the players in the age group, and that the coaches, board members, and controlling members of the club who do have familial relationships with players in a specific age group are not allowed to participate in talent selection. If you are integrating multiple existing teams into one, the existing coaches of those teams cannot continue to coach that age group.

Instead, after the DPL announcement was made, tryouts were complete, and team selections were made, EC Surf decided to drop the DPL affiliation, and enter a new, untried, and unestablished League called Elite 64. None of this was discussed or disclosed with the parents or players. No opportunity to let them know how we felt, or if we were even willing to participate in Elite 64. They have most of the parents and players at the club convinced that E64 is better than ECNL. I guess it is not that hard to convince them of that, as they spent months convincing everyone that DPL was just as good as the ECNL once they were accepted into the DPL. EC Surf has a trend of bending the truth to manipulate the perception of their decisions. There are certainly some very good E64 and DPL teams, but anyone who has any concept of top tier youth soccer knows there are other leagues performing above those two.

You can’t hide the backroom dealings forever; parents will talk. When parents are a part of the board and coaching staff, inevitably, drinks will flow, and lips will move. It might take a couple years for the parents to get comfortable enough with each other to expose the past, but they will. Parents have multiple kids playing in different age groups and genders, and in a very short time, you find out there is consistency to how team selections are mismanaged, and it is not isolated to genders or age groups. Team selections were and have been heavily manipulated. New coaches joining the club and taking over teams have been given a very short quota prior to tryouts of which players they could drop, and which positions on a team they could add to during team selections. One new coach was only able to cut players for two specific positions and limited to adding only two players from the lower team, and two from a wholesale team that was joining that year. Another coach was forced to take a specific number of players from another wholesale team addition resulting in cutting two good existing players because there were not enough roster spots; the new players were not even close to the same level of play as the cut players, and those weak links hurt the team the entire season. Multiple coaches threatened to leave the club and take the teams they were coaching with them if their children were not placed on the first team, after their children were not selected for the team. Coaches were denied the opportunity to bring players up from a lower-teams or move players up to higher-teams.

Year after year, these illogical team placement scenarios played out, and the staff was always quick to assure everyone that there was no bias, and selections were fair when parents would start asking questions. There was always a suspicion that the unusually high number of coaches with children playing at the club was influencing team selections. Recently many of the coaches leaving the club have been confirming what was always kind of obvious.

So how are things going this season? The Elite 64 League has not been well received, as the amount a games played for the teams that are solely dedicated to this league is sparce. EC Surf has their top teams playing only in the E64 League, while others are saying many clubs are using the E64 as a scratch league to get playing time for the players in their top teams that are not seeing much playing time in other leagues. I really think EC Surf shot themselves in the foot when they walked away from the DPL. The new highly qualified coaches they brought in this season, they already quit, walked away and apologized to the parents because they are not being allowed make changes necessary for success (multiple coaches, boys and girls side). Additionally, some of the best veteran coaches of the club have walked away as well. The EC Surf website used to have a nice coaches page, like all the other top clubs, that had pictures of the coaches, listed credentials, and provided a brief description of their experience/qualifications. That is suddenly gone, as is most of the quality coaching staff.

As far as the second, third, and fourth teams go, they are struggling, both to be competitive, and to play together cohesively. The wide inconsistency of soccer ability amongst the players on each team is creating a lot of friction and stress within the teams. Many of the second teams are playing in SOCAL’s NPL League this season. If the SOCAL League follows through with its claim to implement a three up-three down promotion and relegation between the NPL and Flight 1 this year, a lot of EC Surf age groups are going to be relegated from NPL status. There are a lot of good players looking to move elsewhere this upcoming season, and I don’t see where EC Surf will be able to pick up new players to replace them.

The problem is that EC Surf absorbed all the local options like the Borg, and there are not many teams to get players from anymore. It is ironic that Hotspurs didn’t hold out for just one more year. They would likely be picking up massive amounts of players this year if they were still around. Crusaders is still around but moved their focus to Recreational soccer this past season. I expect a lot of players will be headed west this upcoming season; our players will be. As of now, the East County area is ripe for a professionally run club focused on quality coaches and teams that can compete with top-level teams. It’s just not going to happen at EC Surf with all the conflicting interests of the parent coaches, board members, and controlling parties influencing team placements, coaching decisions, and playing time. There is certainly enough top-level talent living in the area that are commuting west to play at top level clubs to put together entire rosters of players. Just about every ECNL/RL/GA/DPL/EA/MLS Next team in San Diego (except for City up in Carlsbad) has a couple players on the current rosters that were a former player at Liverpool and/or Hotspurs.

As I’ve written this, I’ve come to realize that EC Surf’s player placement decisions, coaching staff decisions, and team placements in leagues are all aligned to increase the number of teams at the club and not the quality of players at the club. Management decisions are clearly focused on increasing club revenue and not increasing the quality of facilities and resources used for practice, training, and play. There are some great players, coaches, and parents at EC Surf. I wish them all the best, but I hope they realize things are not looking good for the future being locked into the E64 League for another two years and facing a probable relegation from NPL next season. As for the club itself, Bye Felicia.

Liverpool had some defining characteristics in the beginning: coaches focused on developing a cohesive possession style of play across all teams, soccer strategy and technique, increase quality of teams, create a top-level soccer option for East County players.

EC Surf has some defining characteristics currently: play direct, forget possession style of play just kick it over the top, quantity of teams, create the only soccer option for East County players.
 
Politics/Control have eroded several clubs from being the best versions available to them. This isn't an isolated incident. This is happening, in some fashion at every big club and some small ones as well.

Bottom line. Some club directors cannot get out of their own way.
 

justneededaname

SILVER ELITE
Disclaimer - Not trying to defend EC Surf. Just adding some of my personal experience.

I have had two kids at EC Surf at some point in their soccer careers. One kid has had three coaches she really liked and learned a lot from while getting to play with other kids she absolutely adored. For the other, EC Surf was a good place to play with friends from school while exploring other high school sports. The play was at a level high enough that when he decided to dedicate himself to soccer again, he could jump right back into a spot on a team in a brand name league getting good college exposure. For me, the experience with the other parents is exceptional.

Having been in club soccer for a long time before joining EC Surf, I had already learned to tune out most everything the club says. So I have never gotten hung up on anything they say that might be totally untrue when it is said, or turns out to not be the case as time passes.

If you accept what EC Surf is, (at least what I think it is) a local club for parents that do not want to travel to Southwestern College, Hickman, Robb, the Polo Fields, or 4S Ranch, I feel like the experience is a good one.
 
Not to point out the obvious but Surf has been around since 1977. They're 10+ steps ahead of every move Liverpool / ECS has made over the last 5+ years. Which is why ECS chose to partner with Surf vs do their own thing.

It is what it is. Try to look at the positives in that East County SD has a single voice for everything soccer. This is the first step in gaining notoriety + once this happens players will stop switching clubs as they get older.
 

Code

SILVER ELITE
My DD was with EC Surf for 8 years before we decided to make a change. We most likely have been on the same teams or at least in the same soccer social circle, because I have had many conversations with other EC soccer parents that are identical to the OP's experience. I completely agree with your assessment, but held off on commenting because I felt like my frustration with the club was probably influencing my perspective, but I agree there are some major problems in the organization. I'm a bit of a numbers person when it comes to assessing things, so I took a few minutes to review the clubs SOCAL State Cup team numbers to see how many of the teams seem to be serious about staying together this year. I know there are many reasons a team may not participate in State Cup, but usually it is one of three things: 1. Team is playing at an event that is more important, 2. Players on the team are not committed to the sport enough to participate, 3. The team is disbanding/disbanded already. Going into the 22/23 season EC Surf had 75 teams according to the E64 and SOCAL listed teams. Twelve of those teams are playing E64 and E64 only, so possibly have more important games in the schedule. I do have to point out the families I know that are playing E64 at EC are upset that they have played such a limited number of games this year. Seems like a solid option to get some good games in, and show the region what your top teams are capable of, if you are chasing the elite club status. That leaves 63 SOCAL teams. My count may be off a few, but I only saw 39 teams listed in the State Cup brackets, youngers and olders (very few olders teams). Looks like 48% of EC Surf SOCAL teams decided it wasn't worth participating in State Cup. The State Cup numbers do not indicate a healthy club environment. I'm also aware that multiple E64 teams have had a few players bail out of the club mid-season, which isn't unusual for a club, but they seem to have an major issue with keeping quality players.
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So how are things going this season? The Elite 64 League has not been well received, as the amount a games played for the teams that are solely dedicated to this league is sparce. EC Surf has their top teams playing only in the E64 League, while others are saying many clubs are using the E64 as a scratch league to get playing time for the players in their top teams that are not seeing much playing time in other leagues.
This is baffling. EC Surf's top teams are ONLY playing in E64?!?!? Based on what I've seen, E64 is exactly how you describe it.
 
(Disclaimer: This is a long post, consolidating nearly a decade of observation. This post is a memoir. It reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. Some event time lines and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated.)
I didn't read this when it was first posted because it was so long, but I should have. It answers a lot of questions I have had about the whole Surf franchise business.

(It's so long that I can't post a reply that quotes it in its entirety)
 
cont...

What would a professional organization do with the opportunity they had? They would assess how many teams they can realistically develop with the resources they have. How many teams can a professional coach handle, and how many quality fields do we have available to us in East County? Then use that to make decisions on how many teams you will have per age group. Most of the established top performing clubs only carry two or three teams per age group. If you are truly focused on consolidating top talent, and you are still in the process of building a top tier club, two teams per age group seems like a responsible choice. Then, evaluate your talent pool and keep the players with the best soccer Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities, and let the remaining players go; you can’t build top teams by making coaches carry mediocre players, you must move mediocre players down and move good players up. This requires that the evaluators don’t have any conflicts of interest in the processes of team selection. It requires evaluators/coaches select the teams, without influence from the board or controlling members. It requires that the evaluator/coach does not have a familial relationship with any of the players in the age group, and that the coaches, board members, and controlling members of the club who do have familial relationships with players in a specific age group are not allowed to participate in talent selection. If you are integrating multiple existing teams into one, the existing coaches of those teams cannot continue to coach that age group.

Instead, after the DPL announcement was made, tryouts were complete, and team selections were made, EC Surf decided to drop the DPL affiliation, and enter a new, untried, and unestablished League called Elite 64. None of this was discussed or disclosed with the parents or players. No opportunity to let them know how we felt, or if we were even willing to participate in Elite 64. They have most of the parents and players at the club convinced that E64 is better than ECNL. I guess it is not that hard to convince them of that, as they spent months convincing everyone that DPL was just as good as the ECNL once they were accepted into the DPL. EC Surf has a trend of bending the truth to manipulate the perception of their decisions. There are certainly some very good E64 and DPL teams, but anyone who has any concept of top tier youth soccer knows there are other leagues performing above those two.

You can’t hide the backroom dealings forever; parents will talk. When parents are a part of the board and coaching staff, inevitably, drinks will flow, and lips will move. It might take a couple years for the parents to get comfortable enough with each other to expose the past, but they will. Parents have multiple kids playing in different age groups and genders, and in a very short time, you find out there is consistency to how team selections are mismanaged, and it is not isolated to genders or age groups. Team selections were and have been heavily manipulated. New coaches joining the club and taking over teams have been given a very short quota prior to tryouts of which players they could drop, and which positions on a team they could add to during team selections. One new coach was only able to cut players for two specific positions and limited to adding only two players from the lower team, and two from a wholesale team that was joining that year. Another coach was forced to take a specific number of players from another wholesale team addition resulting in cutting two good existing players because there were not enough roster spots; the new players were not even close to the same level of play as the cut players, and those weak links hurt the team the entire season. Multiple coaches threatened to leave the club and take the teams they were coaching with them if their children were not placed on the first team, after their children were not selected for the team. Coaches were denied the opportunity to bring players up from a lower-teams or move players up to higher-teams.

Year after year, these illogical team placement scenarios played out, and the staff was always quick to assure everyone that there was no bias, and selections were fair when parents would start asking questions. There was always a suspicion that the unusually high number of coaches with children playing at the club was influencing team selections. Recently many of the coaches leaving the club have been confirming what was always kind of obvious.

So how are things going this season? The Elite 64 League has not been well received, as the amount a games played for the teams that are solely dedicated to this league is sparce. EC Surf has their top teams playing only in the E64 League, while others are saying many clubs are using the E64 as a scratch league to get playing time for the players in their top teams that are not seeing much playing time in other leagues. I really think EC Surf shot themselves in the foot when they walked away from the DPL. The new highly qualified coaches they brought in this season, they already quit, walked away and apologized to the parents because they are not being allowed make changes necessary for success (multiple coaches, boys and girls side). Additionally, some of the best veteran coaches of the club have walked away as well. The EC Surf website used to have a nice coaches page, like all the other top clubs, that had pictures of the coaches, listed credentials, and provided a brief description of their experience/qualifications. That is suddenly gone, as is most of the quality coaching staff.

As far as the second, third, and fourth teams go, they are struggling, both to be competitive, and to play together cohesively. The wide inconsistency of soccer ability amongst the players on each team is creating a lot of friction and stress within the teams. Many of the second teams are playing in SOCAL’s NPL League this season. If the SOCAL League follows through with its claim to implement a three up-three down promotion and relegation between the NPL and Flight 1 this year, a lot of EC Surf age groups are going to be relegated from NPL status. There are a lot of good players looking to move elsewhere this upcoming season, and I don’t see where EC Surf will be able to pick up new players to replace them.

The problem is that EC Surf absorbed all the local options like the Borg, and there are not many teams to get players from anymore. It is ironic that Hotspurs didn’t hold out for just one more year. They would likely be picking up massive amounts of players this year if they were still around. Crusaders is still around but moved their focus to Recreational soccer this past season. I expect a lot of players will be headed west this upcoming season; our players will be. As of now, the East County area is ripe for a professionally run club focused on quality coaches and teams that can compete with top-level teams. It’s just not going to happen at EC Surf with all the conflicting interests of the parent coaches, board members, and controlling parties influencing team placements, coaching decisions, and playing time. There is certainly enough top-level talent living in the area that are commuting west to play at top level clubs to put together entire rosters of players. Just about every ECNL/RL/GA/DPL/EA/MLS Next team in San Diego (except for City up in Carlsbad) has a couple players on the current rosters that were a former player at Liverpool and/or Hotspurs.

As I’ve written this, I’ve come to realize that EC Surf’s player placement decisions, coaching staff decisions, and team placements in leagues are all aligned to increase the number of teams at the club and not the quality of players at the club. Management decisions are clearly focused on increasing club revenue and not increasing the quality of facilities and resources used for practice, training, and play. There are some great players, coaches, and parents at EC Surf. I wish them all the best, but I hope they realize things are not looking good for the future being locked into the E64 League for another two years and facing a probable relegation from NPL next season. As for the club itself, Bye Felicia.

Liverpool had some defining characteristics in the beginning: coaches focused on developing a cohesive possession style of play across all teams, soccer strategy and technique, increase quality of teams, create a top-level soccer option for East County players.

EC Surf has some defining characteristics currently: play direct, forget possession style of play just kick it over the top, quantity of teams, create the only soccer option for East County players.
Brilliant! I loved reading this.
 
Great thread - this perfectly summarizes my feelings towards EC. I recently learned that Surf owns the Soccer Post stores in Chula and Solana Beach, so I'll be shopping elsewhere to avoid giving them every single dollar I have.
 

Code

SILVER ELITE
Looks like the OP was correct about EC Surf getting most of their teams relegated out of NPL; only the G2006 is still in. I guess they always have next year to go for a clean sheet :cool:. It really is sad for the East County community. The SOCAL NPL is one of the best concepts for those who do not have the resources to be apart of a travel league, but perform at a high level of play. Also, having second teams who are performing well in the NPL league is a strong indicator that the club has the depth to support play in the top leagues. http://www.socalsoccerleague.org/programming/socal-npl
 
What's clear to me is that both GA and ECNL recognize that ECS leadership is poor which is why neither have offered a spot their leagues.

It sucks for the East County kids. We all know that theres talent out there waiting to happen.

Funny how some get upset about how Surf conducts business. But they are consistantly making things happen. ECS is going the opposite direction.
 

RandomSoccerFan

SILVER ELITE
No inside info on ECS - it sounds like folks here have some detailed personal history about the club. But judging only from the results of their top teams, in no way is ECS a corner case or some weird outlier for Surf as an organization. Here are all of the Surf organizations nationwide (showing only "Both", so clubs that have at least 5 active teams for both B&G U11-U17):

Surf Clubs.PNG

ECS shows up as #7 out of 21 clubs nationwide in this list. There are a few more clubs that pop up if you sort by only B or only G, but it doesn't change the main point. If the thinking is that all Surf affiliates are going to create top teams as strong as SD Surf, (nationally: #2 girls club, #20 boys club, #4 both club), it doesn't seem like a likely outcome - and a club wouldn't be perceived as a failure if/when that doesn't happen.
 

Code

SILVER ELITE
No inside info on ECS - it sounds like folks here have some detailed personal history about the club. But judging only from the results of their top teams, in no way is ECS a corner case or some weird outlier for Surf as an organization. Here are all of the Surf organizations nationwide (showing only "Both", so clubs that have at least 5 active teams for both B&G U11-U17):

View attachment 16825

ECS shows up as #7 out of 21 clubs nationwide in this list. There are a few more clubs that pop up if you sort by only B or only G, but it doesn't change the main point. If the thinking is that all Surf affiliates are going to create top teams as strong as SD Surf, (nationally: #2 girls club, #20 boys club, #4 both club), it doesn't seem like a likely outcome - and a club wouldn't be perceived as a failure if/when that doesn't happen.

You are right about not judging Surf Affiliates relative to SD Surf. I don't know why people insist on making a connection between SD Surf and all of the other Surf Clubs. They are completely separate clubs. The only things all these organizations have in common is the word "Surf" appears in their club names, and they all have to purchase overpriced "Surf" uniforms each year, that Surf Cup Sports (SD Surf) gets a percentage of. It's simply a marketing kick-back business strategy. Very successful strategy as well, because the end consumer (parents) don't understand that they are not going to get any access to SD Surf teams or coaches.
 

polygon

BRONZE
Looks like the OP was correct about EC Surf getting most of their teams relegated out of NPL; only the G2006 is still in. I guess they always have next year to go for a clean sheet :cool:. It really is sad for the East County community. The SOCAL NPL is one of the best concepts for those who do not have the resources to be apart of a travel league, but perform at a high level of play. Also, having second teams who are performing well in the NPL league is a strong indicator that the club has the depth to support play in the top leagues. http://www.socalsoccerleague.org/programming/socal-npl
EC Surf doesn't have many teams playing in NPL anymore, because their top teams are now playing in E64. If there is a team in NPL it is likely a second team. Our family has been connected to EC Surf since the Liverpool days. While they certainly have their share of issues (we have actually recently moved our kids to other clubs) they do have some decent teams and decent coaches (though retention remains an issue). But leaving has really made us appreciate being part of well-run and organized clubs. I hope EC Surf can keep it together and provide a quality soccer experience for kids in the area, because driving 30+ minutes to practice is not appealing. I know most of us would prefer to keep things in the neighborhood!!
 

RandomSoccerFan

SILVER ELITE
The only things all these organizations have in common is the word "Surf" appears in their club names, and they all have to purchase overpriced "Surf" uniforms each year, that Surf Cup Sports (SD Surf) gets a percentage of. It's simply a marketing kick-back business strategy.
I wouldn't even extrapolate much of that as far as one might think based on SoCal alone - if the implication is that the financial arrangements make the club more expensive for parents than it would be otherwise. In other markets (including ours), Surf often goes 2 years between uniforms - and in our market in particular, it is the low-cost provider compared to the other handful of top clubs; in some cases half the cost per year.
 
You are right about not judging Surf Affiliates relative to SD Surf. I don't know why people insist on making a connection between SD Surf and all of the other Surf Clubs. They are completely separate clubs. The only things all these organizations have in common is the word "Surf" appears in their club names, and they all have to purchase overpriced "Surf" uniforms each year, that Surf Cup Sports (SD Surf) gets a percentage of. It's simply a marketing kick-back business strategy. Very successful strategy as well, because the end consumer (parents) don't understand that they are not going to get any access to SD Surf teams or coaches.
I believe being a Surf affiliate gives you preferencial access to Surf Cup events. Not sure if theres any value to this.

I've also heard that Surf provides coach training. Again not sure if theres any value in it.

The biggest value in being an affiliate that I can see is that club owners dont need to create branding + develop merchandising / uniform supplier relationships. Just play and focus on the teams.
 
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