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ECS FC 2016-2017 Uniforms – FAQ Thread

ECS Football Club

Unread postby SPQR » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16:10 pm

Thank you to all that took the time to reply to our ECS 2016-2017 uniform survey which was sent out last month. We had an excellent response rate, which makes me glad that people feel so invested in their own club that they wanted to help guide its future. The responses given to us are already helping us shape the path that we are going to take with our new uniform cycle. Right now we are in the midst of the process and hope to announce more in 3-4 weeks.

One thing we noted was that opinions were varied and sometimes directly conflicting. In short, what we do in our plan cannot make everyone entirely happy, but we are working our hardest to ensure that we best serve the desires and needs of most of our players.

I also appreciated seeing the freeform responses which many of you supplied in the survey. I wanted to reply directly to some of the most frequent responses, as well as open up a line for anyone wishing to bring any other concern up directly to me. Although this doesn’t cover all inquiries/concerns/responses that were submitted, this covers some of the most common and most pressing questions.

If you have any question which you asked in your survey but I did not cover here, please post a reply and I will try to answer it directly (note that I can’t comment on many specifics regarding brands, companies, sponsors, or specific dollar figures just yet – lots of stuff is still being nailed down).

Q: Why are we not keeping our current Adidas uniforms? Why do we need to change manufacturers?

I love the quality and look of our custom uniforms, but unfortunately it was a matter of looking toward the future. As some of you may know, we have had big issues with these Adidas kits – cost (over $160 retail for new uniforms, which priced most new players out) and turnaround time (the frequent unforeseen delays aside, these kits were taking up to 2-3 months to get in our players’ hands after they ordered! That is way too long). Basically, if we stick with Adidas, it will make it effectively impossible for us to outfit our future new players in an affordable, timely, and comprehensive manner. We have to do our best to try and create a sustainable future for our club, which means choosing an option that will let us bring on new players in the years to come.

Beyond our specific club, uniform suppliers go through manufacturing cycles with their jerseys. Generally, a particular style of uniform is only available for 1-2 years. We need to get on the front end of one of these cycles so we can continue offering the same kit to new players throughout all two years. Otherwise, we’ll look like a mish-mash of non-matching jersey styles after a few months. Just something to keep in mind – uniform cycles are (regrettably) pretty much unavoidable nowadays.

For whatever it’s worth, some of our uniform options *may* allow us to extend this next cycle beyond the planned 2 years, which would benefit new players (who have the ability to continue buying this same uniform possibly past 2017) and our current players (who get further usage out of their uniform).

As to why we are moving away from Adidas: I don’t want to get into the details too much, but the club was badly burned by them in the past. I’ll leave it at that, and say that we are looking for something that works a lot better for us.

Q: I don’t remember paying that price for my Adidas kit that I got in the initial run.

The initial, affordable price isn’t available to us anymore, unfortunately. That’s really hurt us over the past couple of years. Like I said, we’re looking for something that works a lot better for us.

Q: What are your goals moving forward with this new uniform brand/supplier?

Affordability (how can we get good value without having to wear cheap-looking and cheap-feeling uniforms?) and accessibility (how quickly can we get the new uniform in a new player’s hands? How long will this style of uniform be available?) are key. Many of you reflected these concerns in your survey responses.

Q: Will I still get to wear my Adidas jersey?

We’re looking at an idea that would let us continue to wear the Adidas jerseys for some of our indoor teams. We’re also looking at an idea to allow our co-ed outdoor Rainier team to stay on their Blue adidas jerseys as a special case. But for outdoor teams – we’d ask that you retire the old one, much like folks retired their old Diadora ones. However, if you were unable to purchase a new one, we are trying to have an option for you (see: Q: What can be done to allow people to borrow a uniform if they cannot afford one or do not want to purchase one?)

Generally speaking, most people got a lot of usage out of their Adidas jerseys. So while I feel bad that we have to move away, most folks got 1.5 to 2 years out of them.

Q: Don’t we have a jersey sponsor? Shouldn’t they be paying for our uniforms? Or our league fees?

Yes, we have a uniform sponsor already in Redhook, we’re really really pleased to have them on there, and expect to see them back in 2016!

Unfortunately, uniforms are EXPENSIVE. And team fees are EXPENSIVE. They can be feasible when you split these costs among everyone playing, but when you try to pay them from one source, that money will dry up VERY quickly.

Here’s a good example, without getting into too many specifics – our sponsorship money, which is supposed to last us 2 full years (and is probably the one of the best rec sports sponsorship in all of Seattle, I should add), would not be sufficient to cover our club’s outdoor league fees for more than ONE season.

However, it may be feasible for us to use this money to 1) partially subsidize the initial uniform purchase and/or 2) purchase some new sets of uniforms that would owned by the club and kept by the club managers but borrowed by players for each game. We’re looking into both of these options right now.

Q: Can we have names on the back of the jerseys?

Sorry, not until you guys trick someone else into taking on this Director job! In all seriousness, I feel very strongly that our club is about the badge and not about names on the back, so I do not want to allow this. Beyond that, it unnecessarily increases uniform costs for those who don’t want it.

Q: Will the new uniforms duplicate numbers? Those look silly.

In some sense, it’s inevitable with a club this large, but we’ll work to reduce this as much as we can. At least will reduce it for people on the same team, keeping in mind that players do move amongst teams every so often. Already have a few ideas on this.

Q: I prefer wearing my own socks or shorts/I don’t like the particular socks or shorts that are offered by some companies. Can I buy the jerseys only?

Looking into this. It may be an option but I can’t guarantee just yet. Keep in mind that the more we let people be flexible with the uni pieces, the more we’re not going to match. I’m OK with a little bit of variance to fit what our players are asking for, but I also want us to actually look good and look like a unified team/club.

Q: Can I have a payment plan for my uniform, so I can order it up front and pay it off in pieces later on?

Unfortunately, no. I love the idea, I empathize with the need for it, and I wish we could provide this, but there are two big reasons that stop us.

First, it will create a large amount more admin work for us. We are all volunteers here, and ECS FC is *not* our main job. We sometimes have to sacrifice options for the sake of simplicity. If anyone sees issue with this, I invite anyone to contact me directly to volunteer with the club. Team fee payment plans are often enough work as it is, and kit payment plans will add another layer of complexity for some already busy folks.

Secondly, and most importantly, we have limited recourse for late or non-compliant payments. When one of our players is on a team payment plan and does not pay their second installment on time, we have the power to keep this player off the field, and this is easily understood and enforced. If a player is on a kit payment plan and does not pay their second installment, we’re not about to go repo the uniform, and I would prefer to avoid levying punishments on playing time. It just gets ugly.

I strongly recommend that everyone start putting away $20-25 per month now if you expect there to be a budget crunch. This is why I wanted to notify everyone with plenty of advance time. We expect to put the uniforms on sale in October or November. This will allow people to save up a small amount per month for the upcoming few months. Although this isn’t offering the payment plan that some have requested, I really really hope that this is enough advance notice to make it work for most people on their own budgeting.

Q: What can be done to allow people to borrow a uniform if they cannot afford one or do not want to purchase one?

As I alluded to earlier, we are looking at an option that will allow folks to borrow club-owned uniforms for games and return them after the game to their manager. We’ve had club spares for a long time now, this would be a continuation of that. These players would be required to have solid black shorts and black socks that match the rest of the players.

We will ask and expect that all players with the financial means do purchase their own uniform within 2 months/1 full season of joining the club, as a sign of solidarity with your teammates. But we have made it a goal to *always* have one available to borrow if you are unable to purchase one.

This way, we’re not excluding players who can’t afford a uniform, and we’re still allowing for people to buy their own uniform should they desire to. (75% of people responded that they wanted to buy their own uniform, by the way)

Q: If I buy my kit in the initial run, will it be cheaper than waiting and purchasing at a later date?

Yes! If you want to save some money, I highly recommend getting in the initial run.

Q: Will you offer women’s cuts for the new uniforms?

Yes, this was a requirement we took to our potential suppliers.

Q: Can you offer special sizing (e.g. larger sizes)?

This gets somewhat complicated. Not all brands offer sizing larger than XL or XXL. Some do. Others offer it as more of a custom option which would make it a lot more expensive, but still possible. I know this is a sensitive issue so I hope to be able to outfit everyone if we can, but unfortunately I can’t guarantee it.

Q: I like Brand X, we should go with Brand X!

We’ve been trying to look at a lot of brand options here. You’d be surprised as to which ones actually work for us and which ones don’t, as well as who is offering us good discounts and who is not. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you’re trying to purchase for 200+ players, it is never quite as simple as picking one brand and going with them no matter what!

Q: Will you offer kids jerseys?

Likely no reason we can’t. Maybe we can do a limited run of this, demand will probably be small but it would be fun. As long as you’re OK with your kid wearing a jersey with a beer company on front!

Q: Can we do a reward system where players get free gear after sticking with the club for a certain amount of time?

That sounds really cool, but isn’t really financially feasible for us to give away free uniform pieces. It gets too complicated and expensive.

Q: Does this apply to Pub League?

This whole thing is entirely separate from Pub League. This applies only to our ECS FC teams which play outside of Pub League.

Q: Long sleeves available?

Unsure. There’s not a huge demand for them, so they’re not always offered by a supplier. Probably would guess not available.

Q: Black is too hot in the summer! We should switch colors.

Black is our traditional color and I plan to reiterate it as our primary. My call on this one. We will also have a lighter-color alternate that should be useful in the summer months, probably white. Usually this is only an issue for 2 months out of the year, this year notwithstanding.

Q: We should do [particular design element]!

I loved lots of the ideas you guys submitted – stripes, sashes, etc. I will see what we can do. Keep in mind that custom designs are expensive and take a lot more time – we can’t get away from our goals of affordability and accessibility.

Q: Are you really going to do collars? UGH!

OK OK, as much as I REALLY like to joke and razz you up about it…no collars, I promise.
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