One of the first tasks for the new board was to make some decisions about how to replace our aging uniforms. About every 6-7 years, USA spends in the vicinity of $30,000 to replace uniforms. After months of research and discussion, we reached a decision to move to a new model where players purchase their own uniforms that they keep. Nearly every other town and club has moved to this uniform system. This applies only to age levels U10 through U14 for this upcoming season.
There are a number of benefits to having players purchase their uniforms.
- This greatly reduces issues with sizing, and the league not having enough of a given sized uniform.
- Players get to keep their uniforms, which they like.
- Because uniform styles are frequently discontinued, it can be impossible to replace uniforms that are lost or ruined leading to limited size and uniform number availability.
- Leagues including USA, spend a tremendous amount of time, effort and money sourcing, distributing, collecting, replacing, cleaning and storing league-owned uniforms.
- Due to sizing and variations in the number of players each season, USA needs to purchase upwards of 500 uniforms in order to outfit the 300 or so travel players each season. The other uniforms sit unused, and need to be stored.
- Soccer.com will assist with uniform ordering management (sizing, numbers, etc.), and your order will be delivered directly to you.
- Soccer.com will also be setting up a United Soccer Spirit Store. You will finally be able to order USA logo items easily and have them delivered to your door. We expect about a dozen or so items to start, you can see an example at the Mass Youth Soccer online store HERE.
While we struggled with the idea of increasing the costs to our families, we came to the conclusion that this is the right move for the long term.
The plan is that the uniforms will last for 2 years – or 4 seasons – at a minimum. In most cases, players would need to buy a new uniform when they move up to a new age group. So a U8 player moving to U10 this fall would purchase a uniform, which they would use until they move to U12.
The uniform kits cost about $50 for shirt, shorts and socks. This works out to $12.50 per season. Since United Soccer of Auburn has historically set aside money to replace uniforms every few years, and because this is a new program for our league and our parents, the Board of Directors voted to subsidize the cost of these uniforms by 50% for the first cycle this fall.
While you will have to go to Soccer.com and pay the full cost of the uniform up front, when you register for the fall, you will notice that the registration fee has been reduced from $85 to $60 for the Fall 2015 season. (Note – fall U16+ registration will remain at $40 and will not be required to purchase a uniform).
As has always been United Soccer’s policy, we will continue to provide assistance to families for whom the registration fees or uniform cost are unaffordable.
The cost savings over the long term will enable USA to put resources into areas we have identified as key initiatives:
- Player development
- Coach development
- Expand program offerings
- Equipment and playing areas
In the end, United Soccer of Auburn should focus on developing players and coaches. A significant amount of our expenses and efforts go into managing uniforms and other equipment. This system will allow us to redirect those resources back to our players and families in a variety of ways.