Lowcountry United's Offseason Yielding Results
Last season, Lowcountry United burst onto the UPSL scene with a bang. Few teams, even those clubs with long histories, could compare with the LUFC’s combination of powerful branding and on the field success. The logo, the kits, the social media marketing: all contributed to a massive amount of attention for a debut season. Led by their owner Alan Bahadori, focusing on social media was part of the game plan from the beginning. “In the early days, we used social media as a way to highlight our club and what we were building, used it as a valuable tool that connects us with others.” That connection paid off in multiple ways - “We began selling club merchandise and holding events, scrimmages, posting games schedules, etc.” On the field, the club came out of the gate sprinting. Lowcountry United finished the season champions of their division before being eliminated in the Southeast Conference Final, just one match from the Spring Nationals. To describe their first season as a success would be a massive, dramatic understatement.
But while things seemed to be going great for Lowcountry United, a primary issue for the club was a lack of a permanent home where they could charge for admittance. Due to restrictions in the city of Charleston, SC, LUFC was unable to charge for matches, which resulted in loss of revenue and general disinterest from the soccer fans in the city. Because the club couldn’t charge for matches, people saw the matches as unimportant and skipped out. This lack of fan interest was disheartening, but the club continued to deliver results on the league table.
After so much success in the Spring 2018 season, Lowcountry United decided to put everything on the field on pause and took the Fall season off. The club-issued statement at the time listed the goals for the off time - “obtaining an official new home venue, finding sustainable club revenue streams, player recruitment & development, coaching staff, community partners & sponsorships.” Placing the venue first on the list was no accident. Even though much effort had already been made to find a permanent home, Bahadori felt like he could make a difference in the added time off. His efforts paid off this week.
The club announced this week that Woodland High School is Lowcountry United’s new Official Home Venue Partner. The field features a brand new artificial surface, dual locker rooms, 10,000 seating capacity, and a WiFi-equipped press box. As part of the partnership, the club will provide player development opportunities for the high school’s soccer players. LUFC went from a club without a permanent home to a club with one of the best facilities in their conference. Taking the time off seems to be paying off.
Also announced this week was another strategic partnership between Lowcountry United and Ladson Youth Organization. LYO has been in operation for over 50 years, serving the children of the community by offering opportunities in sports and recreation. Lowcountry United, in conjunction with Ladson Youth Organization, will “provide a program that offers a true player development pathway to the LUFC senior team.” Bahadori sees even bigger things in the future - “We look forward to growing this program into an elite local academy.”
For Bahadori and Lowcountry United, taking the Fall Season off just made sense. They went into the break with a plan that had specific objectives and the results are showing. For Bahadori, taking the time off was “important and necessary.” “We have to have the club be set up and in place for many years to come. This fall season has been the beginning of that process of taking the next step and letting LUFC begin to start living up to the extreme potential trial that is has as a soccer club.”
- Dan Vaughn