"Where Does All the Money Go?”
Alexandria Soccer is committed to being the gold standard for community based youth soccer clubs in the region. As one of the largest organizations serving youth in the City of Alexandria and state of Virginia, we manage a complex operational budget. It is our belief that we provide a great deal of value to the children and families of our community, but we recognize that we can always do better, be more transparent, and learn from our Club participant’s questions and concerns. One of the most frequent questions asked of our Board Members and operations staff is “Where does the money from our fees go?”
Alexandria Soccer is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and as such our fees are set to cover our costs, not to provide revenue or profit beyond what it takes to successfully run our programs. Alexandria Soccer operates on an annual budget (July ‘16 to June ‘17) of approximately $2.2M in revenue and $2.1M in expenses. Alexandria Soccer serves an estimated 4,000 registered players annually and over 1,000 in outreach clinics. The resulting $2.2M in revenue consists of monies generated from registration fees paid by players in our youth programs, including all summer and winter programs, as well as income generated from events such as the ASK tournament. We’re fortunate that our sponsors and other fundraising events also contribute significantly to that $2.2M number (approximately $100-120K), with an intent to focus on incremental sponsorships and fundraising to increase this contribution percentage. All sponsors, fundraising contributions and donations benefit the entire Club by enabling us to make needed investments without having to raise fees.
Our goal is to keep our fees as low as possible, while continuing to offer high quality programs. One critical philosophic point to understand is that each Alexandria Soccer program stands alone from a fee perspective, with one exception – TOPS Soccer (for mentally or physically handicapped players). Thus recreational players are not funding our travel program or travel players from one team funding fees for another team. We believe Alexandria Soccer provides great value for the money and remain committed to continuing to do so. Our 2014/2015 customer survey reinforced this belief, as over 89% of respondents were satisfied with the club considering all factors, such as being enjoyable and educational to your child. It is our commitment to continue to provide the best programs possible to our community. We completed a comparison of our fees to the fees of other soccer clubs in the Washington Metro area and our research clearly indicates our fees are comparable, while Alexandria Soccer offers more training, technical support, office support and development programming as part of the fee structure. The comparable research document can be found here.
On the expense side, our operating budget for the 2016-2017 seasonal year is $2.1M. As with most small businesses, our largest expense is labor, with the most significant portion covering coach and trainer salaries. These coaches serve our travel teams as professional coaches or train our Recreational players running supplemental camps and clinics. Additionally, our coaches are managed by a dedicated Technical Staff (overseeing the coaches and trainers) and are supported by an Operations Staff providing Club administrative services. Astoundingly, almost $150,000 goes to field expenses, largely to pay City of Alexandria for field/court use, to line fields and provide all of the small sided goals. In recognition of this, the Alexandria Soccer Board of Directors has established facility development as a core element of our strategic plan and fundraising focus. Another significant percentage of the budget covers program expenses, including coaching equipment and supplies for all coaches, marketing, website management and credit card processing fees. Referee expenses are significant as they serve both our Recreational and Travel programs. The “merchandise” category of our budget accounts for recreational, travel uniforms and any spiritwear. Finally, a major amount is allocated to General & Administrative expenses, covering the normal G&A items such as insurance, taxes, office supplies, telephone and utilities. Our 2016-2017 budget is in line with the budget from prior years, with the net cash flow in the same range year over year. For those members interested in a more detailed overview, please see below.
Detailed Cost Overview
Coaches and Trainers: Our largest expense category, as would be expected, is the salary/expense cost of retaining our paid professional coaches and trainers. These coaches and trainers serve all programs (Recreational and Travel, as well as Camps and Clinics). Soccer coaches are licensed by US Soccer Federation at levels F through A, with A being the highest licensing level available. The course requirements are quite rigorous, and to achieve A, B, C or D level licenses takes an immense amount of time, dedication and a large expense. We are very proud of the fact that Alexandria Soccer has over 30 coaches on staff with at least their D license and ten with their National “A” or “B” licenses. We are also very proud that so many of our Recreational coaches have taken initial licensing courses, obtaining their F or E licenses. Alexandria Soccer reimburses all coaches for the cost of coaching education, and also offers the VYSA F and E license courses locally so it is easy for Rec coaches to participate.
In addition to the salaries of the professional coaches and trainers, the cost of coach education is included in the expense allocation. Alexandria Soccer also offers extensive support and mentoring to all coaches, with the large amount of program support going to our volunteer coaches. In addition Alexandria Soccer kicks off each season with coaching clinics (for all volunteer coaches) and follows up with weekly emails providing session plans. The Club cannot mandate attendance and participation in these clinics but we have been delighted that over 50% of our volunteer coaches participate.
Our coaching staff is supported by a Technical Staff that determines and designs our player development programs. This includes the Club Technical Director; our Academy Director; Director of Youth Development; and Director of Recreation. In addition we have part time Age Group Head coaches for our travel programs.
Operations Staff: Our second largest expense is also labor related budgeted expenditures allocated to operational staff (this bracket happens to include payroll tax for all staff, both coaching and operational). Alexandria Soccer employs approximately ten full and part time staff to support the Club’s programming, including Program Management, Sponsorship and Fundraising, Finance, Marketing, Social Media, Fields, Equipment and Coach Education.
Director of Recreation and Programs
Community Outreach Liaison
Director of Youth Development
Facilities: This expense bracket includes player fees paid to the city of Alexandria for the use of all Parks and Rec fields and court rentals from private facilities. In addition, this includes the cost of field paint and labor to line all mini fields in the county for game play. It also includes small sided field goals, nets, sandbags, corner flags, storage units and other field related equipment costs. The Facilities manager oversees the club's relationship with the city to ensure that the fields are kept in condition for play, schedule all of the practices and work with the internal and external leagues to schedule the games throughout the year.
General & Administrative: These costs include normal G&A expenditures and include insurance (both supplemental insurance on players but also staff and BOD members), office costs, taxes, telephone and utility costs.
Program Expenses: Expenses directly related to each of our programs. These expenditures include equipment for all programs (balls, cones, first aid kits, pinnies, etc); marketing flyers for distribution at schools; signs and books for tournaments; fees paid to VYSA on each player; and League Fees paid to leagues in which our teams play (ie. EDP, REGION I, WAGS, SFL, NCSL, ODSL). All expenses are reviewed carefully and controlled tightly.
Referees: Similar to field expenses, Alexandria Soccer would not be able to offer successful soccer programs without providing Referees for all games – youth and adult, for all but our very youngest players. This category includes both fees paid to Referees, as well as to Referee assignors.
Merchandise: The majority of this line item is for the expense of purchasing Recreational and Travel uniforms. Also included in this category are purchases of merchandise to sell at the office and at field concession stands (note that revenues from the sales of all items in this expense category result in positive net cash flow for the category).
Financial Assistance: While the city of Alexandria is an affluent community overall, there are many families within the City that are in need of financial assistance for their child to participate. Alexandria Soccer prides itself on providing an opportunity for all children to play, regardless of ability to pay. Families in both our Recreational and Travel programs may apply for scholarships to receive a discount on our player fees. Last year Alexandria Soccer distributed over $135,000 in scholarship to more than 1,000 kids. This accounts for more than 25% of our participants.
This is another area where the Club relies on donations from members and businesses within the community to supplement our allocated budget dollars. What can each member do to help keep costs low? The Alexandria Soccer Board and staff are extraordinarily grateful to all members and businesses that “give back”. As a non-profit entity we strive to keep fees as low as possible and provide outstanding service in exchange for those fees. We rely on Club members to donate time serving as coaches, age group coordinators, event volunteers, travel team administrative support, uniform distributors, and many other roles. In addition we rely on financial donations from both businesses and individuals to supplement money raised from membership fees. We urge each member to volunteer, donate, or help spread the word and get business contacts to help sponsor our programs.