New Minnesota Second Division Women’s Football Team Raises Over $ 1 Million Through Crowdsourcing

A new second division women’s soccer team in the Twin Cities has reached the funding milestone of $ 1 million and will begin playing in May.

Executives, however, did not find a few wealthy people to fund the team. Instead, they appealed to the crowd to get enough money.

“We are normal, everyday business people from Twin Cities,” said President and Co-Founder Andrea Yoch. “We had this idea of ​​building it together without handing over control to someone who wrote a million dollar check. As soon as someone writes a big check, they become the biggest voice in the organization. . “

The Minnesota women’s soccer team, managed by Minnesota Soccer Holdings in St. Paul, becomes the first independent female-led team to adopt the fan-based fundraising approach.

The team will be part of a new pre-professional amateur women’s football league starting in 2022. Minnesota will be home to one of the eight original United Soccer League Women’s League (W-League) franchises.

The league will provide opportunities for college players to develop over the spring and summer and potentially become a pipeline to the National Women’s Football League, the country’s top professional league. Young elite players, aspiring professional players and former professional players will also be eligible to play.

All available community actions were sold during the Wefunder campaign, which started in August and ended on December 6. A total of 3,080 people have invested in the team from 48 states, eight countries, two military bases and an embassy, ​​the team said.

The average investment was $ 324.67, but the majority of the investment was made at the minimum level of $ 100, Yoch said.

Those who have bought shares can sell them after a one-year holding period. Some of the perks of being an investor in the team include voting to decide on the team name, free merchandise, and season tickets, based on the number of shares held.

A fan-owned approach has already been practiced in sports. The National Football League Green Bay Packers have operated as a community-owned nonprofit since 1923. The team has approximately 361,300 owners.

An online fundraising campaign to fund a sports team, however, is fairly recent.

Yoch and his co-founders modeled their strategy on that of professional football teams around the world, especially a football team in Detroit. Last year, Detroit City Football Club raised nearly $ 1.5 million through a campaign on Wefunder.

Minnesota Soccer Holdings is one of many Minnesota companies to choose a community investment model to fund their launches. Last year, there were 341 community fundraisers in Minnesota that raised a total of $ 7.7 million. Of the total campaigns, 49% achieved their goal, according to Crowd Data Center.

Games, design, fashion and technology were the top four campaign categories in Minnesota last year, with games taking the biggest piece of the pie with $ 3.8 million across 36 campaigns.

Overall, organizations in the United States raised more than $ 239 million through crowdfunding in 2020, up from $ 134 million in 2019, according to California-based Crowdfund Capital Advisors.

Using a community investment model also gives the football club an integrated fan base once the season begins, Yoch said.

“He’s a role model in sport that we think will be very important for people to feel engaged and a part of what we are building,” she said.

Team owners are in the process of deciding on the final team name, which will be revealed in January. Once the team name is chosen, the organization can move forward with designing advertising spots on their jerseys, which is a significant source of revenue for the new company, Yoch said. Twin Cities Orthopedics and Explore Minnesota have signed on to become the team’s first two founding partners.

In addition to the sponsors, ticket and merchandise sales and branding on live games will also serve as revenue generators for the team, Yoch said.

With the Minnesota women’s soccer team competing at the amateur level, the players will not receive a salary. The capital raised will finance the salaries of coaches, registration fees, jerseys, equipment, transport and rental of a pitch. The capital will also be used to cover player housing costs, Yoch said.

Nicole Lukic was recently appointed head coach of the new team. Lukic is Director of Operations at Twin Cities Rush Soccer Club. She played collegially at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Former University of Minnesota soccer players Jennie Clark and Jen Larrick will assist.

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