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Loudoun Soccer

Developing Champions for Life!

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Overview

Loudoun Soccer is committed to Developing Champions for Life, on and off the field. As one of the largest youth sports organizations in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we manage a large and complex operational budget. Loudoun 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.  Loudoun Soccer operates on an annual budget of approximately $7.6M in revenue and $7.1M in expenses before principal debt service on Loudoun Soccer Park, while serving an estimated 10,000 registered youth players each season (over 17,000 players annually), with over 1,200 adults playing in our adult leagues and approximately 2000 clinic or summer camp registrants.

It’s our belief that we deliver significant value to the children and families of our Club community, but we recognize that we can always do better, be more transparent, and learn from our Club membership’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?” or “Why does it cost so much for my young child to play soccer?”  These questions have taken on greater meaning following the cancellation of the Spring 2020 season, and the issuing of credits to the majority of families with enrolled children.

What follows below is a series of Frequently Asked Questions, to better address specific questions that members may have, and also to provide all members a broad overview of the club - including its structure, processes, and operating budget.

REC SPRING 2020 CANCELLATION FAQS

Why was the decision made to cancel the season?

The season was canceled because returning to the field would have been unsafe for our membership. We examined the option of extending the season into the Summer (if it was safe to play) but later concluded that option not viable, as it would be too inconvenient for our membership who committed to soccer in the Spring.

Other organizations canceled sooner. Why did Loudoun Soccer wait till May?

We wanted to exhaust all options - which included playing an abbreviated season if safe – before officially canceling. We recognized the importance of normalcy and routine in the lives of our members, and felt compelled to provide a safe opportunity if available. This resulted in a decision that was made later than other organizations who canceled far earlier during the crisis.

Who made the decision to cancel the season and issue credits?

The decisions were made by a unanimous vote of the club’s Board of Directors. It was implemented by the club’s full-time staff, who due to the day-to-day nature of their positions replied to messages from members.

I paid for soccer. My child didn’t receive their soccer. Why were full refunds not issued?

While that perspective is understood, and is applicable to many service-based industries, it is not applicable to the club’s primary programs, and our ability to operate as a non-profit.

In any normal season, there are significant hard costs associated with organizing the season, in addition to expenses associated with operating the club. The actual costs associated with the game itself (referees, goals and nets, trainers for Minis, etc.) is relatively small compared to the off-field expenses (staff, insurance, office space, software, etc.). Those expenses continued to be incurred during the crisis.

There are were also sunk costs that could not be recouped, as the club suspended on-field operations on March 12 (the same day Loudoun County Public Schools first suspended its operations) and team rosters were published on March 13.

The following graphic details a breakdown of expenses.

 

The Rec program refund policy also states that refunds cannot be issued due to circumstances beyond our control, given there are costs associated with managing the program that exist whether games or practices occur as scheduled.

The Spring 2020 season was unlike any other, which required accommodation and flexibility on these policies.

The Board of Directors reviewed several scenarios, with the goal of being as fair to members who expected a service without compromising the club’s ability to operate in the near future.

Full refunds could not be issued without severely compromising the club’s operations – to the extent that issuing full refunds would have violated one of our major financial policies – that each program in the club stands on its own (Rec doesn’t pay for Travel, nor does Travel pay for Rec) – and ignoring that policy to issue refunds would have likely resulted in the club closing its doors.

A balance was struck by issuing larger, flexible credits in lieu of a small refund representing the few expenses not incurred for the Spring.

Why were partial credits issued?

The partial credits issued to the vast majority of the membership reflect the small amount of unpaid expenses associated with the Spring 2020 season, an additional value to better allow families to reenroll their child in any program over the next 18 months.

The value of the credit is larger than the per-participant amount not spent on expenses like the county fields fee, referees, trainers for Minis, etc.

The credits issued may hamper the club’s operation for future seasons, but the additional lead time will allow the club to better prepare for less revenue to be generated.

How can I use this credit?

Credits must be claimed online by completing a short survey. They must be claimed by June 30, 2020.

Credits will then be imported into each family’s user account, and can be applied toward any program expense through December 31, 2021.

This includes future Rec seasons, Summer camps, Winter clinics, and Travel fees, as well as Adult League team registration. The credit can be utilized by anyone in your household; it is not transferrable.

Why did some individuals receive full refunds, and others only partial credits?

The Board of Directors considered several unique scenarios, given the variety of the programs we offer, and in our membership.

  • Financial Assistance recipients (typically families who receive free or reduced school lunch and pay a reduced rate to participate in Loudoun Soccer) were issued their fees back, as they are more vulnerable in this current crisis.
  • We were also able to accommodate individuals severely impacted by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis, providing some families with a partial refund in lieu of a credit.
  • From a financial standpoint, each program (Rec, Travel, etc.) stands on its own, as do the individual divisions and subprograms within those larger programs.  Due to their nature and structure, supplemental programs like KinderCare Minis, Rec TTA, 7U Pre-Academy, Junior Development Program, etc. were refunded in full as those programs never launched, and few if any expenses had been spent on their preparation.

 I requested a refund. Why was that not issued?

Our refund request deadline for Spring 2020 was March 28. The policy states that refunds cannot be issued due “circumstances beyond our control,” or for requests received after the deadline.

In previous years, the club has been quite liberal and forgiving with this policy as a gesture of good will to members, granting all requests before the deadline regardless of reason, and often waiving the administrative fee. Reasonable requests submitted shortly after the deadline typically have also been granted.

This was clearly not like any previous season.

Initially the Board of Directors determined that refund requests submitted before the deadline due to COVID-19 were rejected due to the “circumstances beyond our control” provision, but later reconsidered its decision given the uniqueness of the situation.

Unfortunately requests submitted after the deadline – regardless of reason – could not be granted.

Had I known refunds would have been issued, I would have requested before the deadline. Can I request a refund now?

Unfortunately, no additional refunds can be issued. It is recognized that some families may have elected not to request a refund immediately under the hope the season would take place, or under the assumption refunds would be issued if the season was canceled.

Individuals who contacted us prior to the deadline regarding a potential refund were instructed to complete a refund request survey, as all requests at that time had been suspended but we still collected details in the event they would be issued.

Due to the inability to verify specific intentions or claims, we are unable to process refunds submitted after the deadline.

Other youth sports leagues issued refunds. Why didn’t Loudoun Soccer?

While there are many organizations in the area that provide youth sports opportunities, each organization is structured differently. It is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Some leagues and clubs are fully organized by volunteers, which means they have no staff overhead. Some do not have physical office space, and thus no rent or mortgage. And some, by issuing refunds, may have compromised their future to continue to serve their members in the event future cancellations occur.

Do the Rec program fees pay any of the Travel expenses?
No. One critical philosophic point to understand is that each Loudoun 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.

Companies across the country are cutting staff. Why didn’t Loudoun Soccer do this?

The club was approved for the Payroll Protection Program, which provided short term assistance for employee payroll, rent, and utilities.

A primary goal of the PPP is to ensure small businesses maintained existing employee and compensation levels; furloughs and salary reductions, while considered, would have lowered the amount of the PPP loan that ultimately will be forgivable.

Shouldn’t receiving PPP have allowed refunds to be issued?

This allowed some expenses to be reallocated, and additional refunds to be issued, but the additional flexibility is reflected more in the size of the credit issued, which is larger than the unpaid per-participant expense associated with the Spring season.

I heard that several employees are paid over $100,000. Isn’t that extreme for youth sports?

We employ a large operational and technical staff, which we consider to be one of the best in the nation. Salaries are reviewed regularly, and are firmly in line with the industry of comparable organizations. Additionally, some staff members have multiple job titles and responsibilities, and the compensation on a tax form doesn’t distinguish operational salaries from coaching salaries.

What is Loudoun Soccer doing to shed expenses?

Program budgets have been thoroughly reviewed, with specific cuts in expenses identified. Staff salaries have been reduced across the board for Fall 2020-Spring 2021 to allow the club to continue to operate during this pandemic.

Does Loudoun Soccer have reserves? Why wasn’t that money be used to issue refunds?

Loudoun Soccer does have money in reserves. These reserves are designated for capital expenditures, such as replacing the turf at Loudoun Soccer Park or any other capital improvements needed.

These reserves may be needed in the short term to allow the club to continue to operate during this pandemic, and to reopen in the event another season is canceled. This in turn will allow the club to continue serving Loudoun County as it has over the last 42 years.

Contact Us

Loudoun Soccer
19798 Sycolin Rd 
Leesburg, Virginia 20175

Fax: 703-777-1029
Phone: 703-777-9977
Email: [email protected]

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