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Iowa club uses careful planning and technology to manage nine teams at USA CUP

07/20/2012, 5:27pm CDT
By Scott Clasen

Coach and club president Scott Simpson called his girls in around him after the NWIFC Galaxy U14 girls defeated the Arrowhead Agates in their first round playoff game Friday afternoon. “Ok, stay cool, get in the shade and hydrate,” Simpson implored his team. “Your next game is at 6:00, we want to get there at 5:00,” as he glanced at his watch. “I have to run to my next game!” and quickly sprinted off with his wife. Just another day in the life of a club president who brought the entire club of nine teams to Schwan’s USA CUP.

The NWIFC Galaxy club hails from northwest Iowa and is made up of players from nine communities within about a 60-mile radius. This week they’ve brought approximately 120 players to Blaine, “we probably have over 300 people with the parents and siblings that are here,” said Simpson. So how does a club handle the logistics of keeping track of nine teams as they’re playing this week? “What works really well for our club is each team has a team manager so all communication to the teams coordinate through that person. They’re responsible for the schedule, getting checked-in, getting all that done so the coaches don’t have to worry about it. When they show up they can just coach.”

Ben Macrae, Director of Coaching for NWIFC, knows how important those team mangers and volunteers can be. “For example, we have a travel coordinator who books the hotels, that’s one way to manage it all. As the coaching director I just want to concentrate on making sure my coaches are on time and making sure they’re getting to their games and there are no hiccups.” NWIFC has seven coaches for the nine teams, so they’re constantly running from one game to another to make sure every team is covered.

Scott Simpson, club president and coach of the U14 girls, prepares his team before their playoff match Friday afternoon

The club also uses technology to communicate with everyone. “We use text messages as the primary way for the team managers to get information to the players,” said Simpson, “and it works great.”

Often times getting to the games and playing can be the easy part. With so many off the pitch activities offered at USA CUP, coordinating the down time can present its own challenges. “We try to plan things as teams,” explained Simpson. “With so many different schedules it’s hard to schedule things as a club. Each team has tried to do a couple of things throughout the week. The team experience and building relationships is what we work off of.”

“There are some things we want the whole club to be part of, like Opening Ceremonies,” said McRae. “As a club I think this was the first time we all got together at a tournament and enjoyed it. Our club has many players with siblings on other teams so it was nice to get everyone together.”

Simpson explained that’s one reason they made the decision to bring the club as a whole to USA CUP. “With so many families having multiple kids on the team, we don’t want to send one kid to one tournament while the other kid is at another. We’re a big family, basically.”

One added bonus of bringing the whole club to USA CUP is that for the first time, the club got a group picture with every player prior to Opening Ceremonies. “We’d never had all the players together like that before,” said Simpson, “so that was a nice bonus for us!”  

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Tag(s): July 20, 2012