Maryland Soccer Clubs Are Free To Switch Technology Providers
Our on-going soccer series is picking up steam. Adam Manning, our in-house youth soccer expert, was trained on the Stacks Sports platform last summer in the Maryland State Office. This hands-on experience is in addition to the countless hours he’s spent with organizers around the state. Adam isn’t just a Maryland aficionado, he’s lived the soccer organizer lifestyle himself.
A life long soccer fanatic, residing in Salisbury, he’s encountered the same headaches and pain points as countless organizers trying to efficiently run a soccer organization in MD. If you have questions for Adam related to technology or compliance regulations in Maryland, you can email him by clicking here. Now onto Adam’s insights into the tech scene in the “Old Line State.”
In the last couple of years, the soccer community has been thrown for a loop with state associations switching to a platform currently called Stack Sports, formerly known as Blue Star. After Blue Star purchased numerous sports technology companies, they gained a contract with US Soccer to build the “National Data Center” (NDC). The NDC is a database used to collect and track youth and professional players in the United States; a FIFA requirement for every country.
As previously reported in an article earlier this year, Stack Sports is using state soccer association contracts to sell their technology platforms to the clubs within those associations. Now that many clubs have used the Stack system at a club level, the complaints are piling up:
- “It took three calls to Stack to get my free platform access to register my players last summer.” The Maryland Office instructs clubs to call Stack to get their free platform for reporting to the state. After calling, I was urged to switch our registration over to Stack and I refused. I was ensured that I would get our platform assigned, but it took two follow up calls to complete the process. On each call, I was continuously pushed to switch to Stack at the club level. I am curious if the state offices around the country are aware of the pressure the sales staff was putting on the clubs as they requested their “free state reporting platform.”
- “The system is confusing and hard to tell what page I am on as an administrator.” As I went through an in-person demo in the Maryland State Office, there was one phrase repeated over and over. “It is important where you click.” That is an understatement, at times you think you are on the correct page, but that may not be the case. This should be easy considering many of the club administrators are volunteers with full-time jobs.
- “I was excited when we were offered the platform for free, only paying for credit card processing. I quickly found out that you get what you pay for.” One reason Stack was able to bring clubs to their platform was offering it for free. Many clubs we interacted with would gladly pay for a more user-friendly platform and felt tricked when they look back at how they switched over to Stack.
The bottom line is that Stack Sports does not have the capacity to serve state associations and clubs at the highest level. They are now bogged down building additional requirements for state associations, leaving helpless soccer clubs with questions about updates that can not be answered.
The good news is that Maryland soccer clubs are starting to realize that they can use an innovative platform like LeagueApps to manage their registrations, operations, and communication with unmatched customer support. While there are state reporting requirements that mandate you use the Stack Sports system, you are NOT compelled to use them as your all-in-one technology solution. LeagueApps platform can even help you get the proper data into the Stack Sports system. If you’ve felt let down by Stack, now is the time to reevaluate your technology solutions to reduce the headaches and put your data to work for you.