The Problem: A Systematic Leak of Public School Players

  • Recreational soccer in San Francisco is 2/3 public school players.
  • Comp (club) soccer in San Francisco is 1/3 public school players.
  • Half of all private school players participate in comp soccer.
  • Only a quarter of public school players participate in comp soccer. 


When a school team or independent team decides to migrate to club tryouts, the families are aware it's expensive, well over $1,500 a year per player, but they decide to give it a look. They're thrilled their child was selected, and so they spend the money to support their child.

For some families, this is a no-brainer year after year.

But for many families, it changes the conversation with their child. Back when soccer cost only $70 a season, they had no reason to ask if they should keep playing. But when the price of soccer rises 10x, soccer is considered only worth it if the child is serious. 

And so if the club cost is an issue for a family, the kids who aren't scoring the goals for clubs or being promoted to their Gold teams eventually don't come back the next season. 

Sure, it's natural for many children to move on to other interests as they mature. However, this systematic culling is happening long before kids mature – it's happening too early in life. Between 3rd grade and 4th grade, participation in soccer drops 35% in San Francisco. 

Kids are dropping away before they've even had a real chance to get better.


  • SF used to require paid clubs to offer financial aid. That lapsed in the last few years.
  • Middle-class families aren't eligible for soccer scholarships anyway. 
  • So scholarships get directed to the players that clubs really want – the best players. Not the average ones. 
  • Many people don't want their child to be "the scholarship kid."

ONe solution: EXPONENTIALLY MORE SUPPORT FOR Volunteer and independent coaches

Independent FC brings coaches and their teams into a collaborative structure that gives the children a club identity, gives the coaches high-level support, and gives the families the assurance this is a successful way to develop soccer players.

If we can extend the tenure of a volunteer coach by a year or two, (or five), the families will save up to $24,000 a year. And more importantly. this will in turn extend the playing career of more children, affording them time to explore if they want to be more serious. Together, we'll provide a better experience and transition for players. 


Soccer instills character. Character manifests in many ways, including educational advancement. Club soccer's systematic pricing-out of middle-income kids has to be addressed. 

Why Can't EVERY Player have a club?

In the past, you had to pay to join a club. Those days are over. 

Bring IFC-X to your city

Much like the TEDx model, we will be offering free licenses to soccer programs in other markets around the country, as our curriculum and best practices evolve. 

The problems in San Francisco are repeated all over the country. Youth club sports has become a $9.5 billion industry which serves the paid clubs but isn't working for all the kids. 

Click ARE YOU IN? to contact us and learn more.