Dear TSF members:
The kickoff of the NCFC season is rapidly approaching and many of you are curious about the direction our club will take in the coming year. When I announced my intention to step down as your President back in December, we always knew this would be a transition year for our organization – but little did we know there would be the (now resolved) uncertainty about the future of the NASL and that owner Steve Malik would surprise us by acquiring an NWSL franchise, essentially doubling the number of opportunities we have to watch local professional soccer live and on television during the year.
As we eagerly awaited announcement of both the NASL and NWSL schedules, my fellow officers and I conducted many focus groups and one-on-one conversations with our members to learn both the positive and negatives from your experiences with TSF and where you would like to see the club head going forward.
We learned a lot in that process and there are some things that we nowknow confidently, but there also are many things that we have yet to learn about simultaneously supporting two professional teams that have overlapping seasons.
What we know…
- TSF members will continue to support NCFC and will additionally add a focus on supporting the NC Courage
- The things you love about TSF, like tailgating before matches in Lot C, sitting in the supporters section, hosting unique events like Feed the Team and participating in charity activities will continue as they have before and expand to include the women’s team
- The current leadership structure with only 4 executive officers is not sufficient to basically double our activities with the same number of members and annual budget
- We need to “democratize” TSF more than we have in the past, meaning we need to put more power in your hands to organize events like watch parties, charity events, tailgates, etc. and not rely on a handful of people to be the gatekeeper for these activities.
- We will need to amend our mission statement and by-laws to expand beyond the stated goal of supporting “the Carolina RailHawks” and increasing our leadership team, and the membership will need to vote to accept these amendments and leadership structure
What we don’t know…
- How our membership support will break down between the men’s and women’s team, and as a result, how attendance at our events will be impacted
- Whether we should try to form up two separate supporters groups with distinct leadership, membership, and identities for the men’s and women’s team separately, or approach them under the single banner of TSF together
- The interest level in away watching parties for one team when there are potentially home matches the same weekend or even same day for the other team we support
- Which of you are willing to take a more active role in driving events like tailgates, watch parties, and community events to help us scale up to be able to effectively support two teams
Based on this situation, the leadership team has agreed that TSF should take a cautious, exploratory approach to the first few months of the NCFC and NC Courage seasons, try to understand more of the unknowns listed above, and then move around the June timeframe to firm up our approach forward, elect new officers, design our new merchandise for support of both the men’s and women’s team, and set the plan for the remaining year.
We appreciate your patience as we try to do what is best in the long term for our supporters club. When you join TSF in 2017, either as a result of having a membership included with your supporters section season ticket to either the Courage or NCFC, or if you purchase the membership a la carte, you will receive the following:
2017 TSF Membership Benefits
- One merchandise item from the TSF store in 2017 – we will be designing new merchandise, such as scarves, t-shirts, hats, etc. in the coming weeks and members will vote on designs and whether they focus exclusively on men’s or women’s team – or both.
- TSF tailgate lot access pass which will allow you to park in Lot C, directly adjacent to WakeMed Soccer Park, for EITHER the NCFC matches or the NC Courage matches*
- Assorted TSF promotional items (such as trading pins, patches, stickers, etc.)
- Ability to participate in all TSF activities and events and have your voice heard on the direction the club should take going forward as we answer the questions detailed above
- Exclusive invitation to the TSF Feed the Team events which will include both NCFC and NC Courage players
- Special discounts on TSF activities such as roadtrips and match-watching parties
- Voting privileges at TSF Annual Meeting (election of officers and board members) which we anticipate will be held in June 2017
- Ability to serve as a TSF Officer or Board member beginning in June 2017
* Please note: a large portion of your membership dues goes to providing the food, picnic supplies, grills, coolers, and propane gas for our tailgates. If you plan to attend both NCFC and NC Courage matches on a regular basis and would like a parking access pass for both teams, we request that you purchase two separate memberships to TSF (either included in your season tickets or a la carte) so that the additional membership funds can go to supporting your presence at the expanded number of tailgate events.
We wish there wasn’t so much uncertainty about the approach to the 2017 season, but given the unknowns, we do believe it’s best to learn before we leap. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events and engaging you on how we move forward as a group.
Those of you that have already purchased your memberships for 2017 may pick up your parking passes at the NCFC/Courage Meet the Team event on Sunday, March 19th, before or after the Atlas match in the Lot C tailgate area on Wednesday, March 22nd, or at any future TSF event.
W. Jarrett Campbell
President, Triangle Soccer Fanatics