A New Concept
Soccer Shots is a high-energy soccer program featuring principled instruction dosed in fun. Founded in 1998 by Jeremy Sorzano and Jason Webb, the pair first met while playing soccer at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. Moving on to play semi professionally for the Charlotte Eagles in Charlotte, NC, this is where they developed their fresh concept. With a mutual love of soccer, brains in business, and a passion to inspire children to live fit, healthy lives, the two athletes developed a program to cater to a non-marketed niche group.
Launching the first businesses in their hometowns of Charlotte, NC and Harrisburg, PA, both found quick success. The idea of providing children ages two to eight with a creative curriculum that focuses on soccer skills as well as character development held appeal to many. With a growing interest from parents and former teammates to become involved, in 2005 Soccer Shots began franchising.
In May 2009, a former college teammate of Sorzano and Webb, Justin Bredeman, became the third Soccer Shots partner, bringing with him eight years of franchising experience from Auntie Anne’s, Inc., a hand-rolled soft pretzel franchising company.
The mission of Soccer Shots is to be the premier intro-to-soccer provider across the globe. The appeal of an introductory soccer program for kids ages two to eight comes from the impact children receive in both fitness education and character development. Last year over 100,000 kids enrolled in Soccer Shots to learn the fundamentals of the sport in locations across the country. This year the company is looking to grow by 50,000 more.
When Sorzano and Webb started Soccer Shots they set a goal they called “40-40-40.” This meant by the time they turned 40 they would have 40 franchisees, each making $40,000 annually. This past year Sorzano turned 40 and currently has over 90 franchisees, with last year’s highest grossing franchisee earning significantly more. It’s safe to say they have well surpassed that goal.
The Benefits of Franchising with Soccer Shots
Franchisees benefit from the low start up capital required to launch a franchise, the total investment ranging from just $18,740 to $25,500. While most franchises require expensive equipment, numerous employees and leases with hefty bills attached, Soccer Shots goes to where the kids are, running the sessions at daycares, pre-schools and in local parks.
When starting out it is recommend franchisees hire two part time coaches to run sessions during the week, though a franchisee can coach as much or as little as they wish. As a franchise grows so does the number of its employees, thus creating jobs within its community. Some multi-franchise owners have up to 25 employees.
Most importantly, Soccer Shots gives franchisees the opportunity to do something they are passionate about, a highlight that is often rare in the business world. The work a franchisee puts into the program reaps rewards that can be seen in the positive impact made on the kids.
The Franchisee Profile
For Soccer Shots, the most important thing when considering a potential franchisee is finding someone who loves kids and has a passion for impacting them positively. While this requirement may come in many different forms, what’s crucial is finding people who genuinely enjoy the concept and see the fulfillment in it.
Individuals with an athletic background, who understand the value of using sport as a platform for change and growth are also favored. Experience in sales, marketing, or operating in a small business is another asset.
Giving Back to the Community
In August 2009 Soccer Shots founded Global Goals™, the non-profit arm of the company that aims to provide opportunities to disadvantaged youth within the U.S. and around the world through soccer.
Aware of their inability to reach every child in every community, they partnered with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to raise funds as a means of bringing the game to underserved areas. In turn, it has created awareness for children who live in these communities so they too can have access to affordable, quality soccer programs.
As an issue that is near and dear to the Soccer Shots family, the company regularly donates a portion of every child’s registration fee to Global Goals in an effort to build SportCourt playing surfaces. To date they have built one in New Jersey, and another in California, giving kids a safe place to play. Soccer Shots also supports the Urban Soccer Symposium, a four-day national event that brings together leaders from different urban soccer areas to train and equip them with the resources and networking needed in under-resourced communities.
Establishing a National Brand
Soccer Shots continues to grow and is currently targeting areas including New York, City, Chicago, Boston, and Houston. With upcoming innovative plans in the works, the company hopes to expand nationwide.
Having established itself in the franchising industry, this year Soccer Shots ranked number one for Children’s Fitness Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine for the second consecutive year. They have also been recognized in Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list, and ranked number three for Franchisee Satisfaction by Franchise Business Review. Activity Tree awarded Soccer Shots with The Best Buzz Award, an honor based on parent feedback regarding activities their children are involved in.
Providing Support Every Step of the Way
Soccer Shots’ support team is immense. Providing help every step of the way, new franchisees are prepped with an intense three-day New Operator training program. Once completed, franchisees undergo an on-site sales day with a dedicated support staff member who travels to their location to visit schools and walk them through these aspects of running the business.
Franchisees are provided with ongoing assistance in various areas of the business from specialized staff including a web support person and staff members readily available to help grow the franchisee’s business plan over time.
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