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Update: May 4, 10:25 p.m.

Loudoun Soccer on Monday announced its spring recreational and adult seasons have been cancelled, and the organization said it will issue “financial recompense” to spring participants.

“With reopening phases now clear, and the season calendar shrinking, safely conducting the Spring season in any format or reasonable timeframe is not viable,” the organization said in a statement. “Therefore, Loudoun Soccer’s Board of Directors is officially canceling our Spring Recreational and Adult seasons.”

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Monday issued guidelines for a phased-in approach to reopening Virginia businesses and other activities that have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Loudoun Soccer's Board of Directors' statement said the nonprofit is finalizing details of the recompense program and will release details by May 13.

“The following elements are part of our consideration: As a 501(c)3 non-profit, all Club revenues go to cover expenses, invest in the maintenance of our Loudoun Soccer Park facility, or to cash reserves to prepare for future needs or emergencies like this one,” the statement reads. “ … In addition to payroll, we incur fixed costs related to operating Loudoun Soccer Park, maintenance of county-owned fields, insurance, and Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) registration fees and dues. We will likely be required to draw down on our cash reserves to meet our expense obligations in the coming months. If we are unable to play this Fall, it is possible that the Club will be forced to suspend or curtail operations.”

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Original story: May 2, 10:25 a.m.

Parents involved with Loudoun Soccer are voicing concerns over a lack of clarity and communications from the organization's leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic that has halted the club's spring season.

Parents say they're seeking refunds for spring competition, which was supposed to get underway in mid-March, and that organization officials have been vague in direct communication with parents.

Loudoun Soccer, a nonprofit organization, holds programming for more than 16,000 players from ages 3 to 18, according to its website. Fees range from roughly $150 for rec leagues to well more than $1,000 for travel teams.

According to parents, Loudoun Soccer representatives have been unresponsive or evasive regarding questions about refunds for the spring season.

“ … The most up to date information is that we are under a stay at home order until after the season is scheduled to end. It’s irresponsible to keep up the pretense that the season will happen,” Sara Fisher Pollack commented on Loudoun Soccer's Facebook page, “and all you are doing right now is creating a lot of ill will with parents by ignoring us, deleting our posts, and not issuing refunds for families who are not comfort[able] with your leadership right now.”

Loudoun Soccer's Board of Directors offered an update on the situation April 28 – after the Times-Mirror inquired about the parents' concerns – but the organization would not commit to issuing refunds.

“ … we’ve made no final decision to cancel the season, and as such have made no decisions regarding refunds or credits,” the organization said. “We fully understand the frustration of the unknown, as that’s where we all live right now, but we want our membership to know that some form of soccer season, even if modified, will play an important role in our community's return to normalcy … If spring on-field programming becomes impossible, we will make a final decision with respect to registration fees.”

The club's statement this week was largely met with criticism, with some parents labeling it tone deaf and others calling the situation flat-out theft.

“ … many soccer families are struggling right now due to lay off, reduced schedules and income,” Ross Rab responded on Facebook. “Those families paid $150-175 per child for spring soccer – to be played safely – not summer soccer in a non-social distance unsafe environment. You cannot live up to your side of this agreement anymore. So, issue the refund!”

"Do you think we’re all stupid?” added Mark Mogle. “We know what you’re doing. It’s disgraceful. It’s theft. You mention in your statement that you’re evaluating your financial position, and that your long-term interests are a priority. Let me help with that evaluation – you’ll be in much worse shape after such a bad mishandling of the situation. Not a single parent I know plans to return to Loudoun Soccer after this. Your ineptness is astounding.”

A Loudoun Soccer spokeswoman on Friday said the board will resolve the issue next week, though what form that resolution will take remained unclear.

(48) comments

doverboy

I sat on the board of one of Loudoun's youth sports and waas a director of fundraising. These were all volunteer positions but I made it my goal to have the cash reserves at the end of my time to be able to play 2 seasons if the economy went off the rails. I started with a little over $5000 which would not have covered much in the way of equipment, referees, or insurance. At the end of 2 years we had over 50K which would have covered everything, including new jerseys. To pay executives over 100K with the kid's money is atrocious. To keep the money from a cancelled season is outright theft. I understand servicing debt but it does not appear that Loudoun Soccer knows how to plan reserves and needs the income to pay their employees. They do not have the reserves to pay salaries or the needs of the organization for more that a quarter of the year. That is shameful

Local citizen

Loudoun has the money...........look at their capital improvement plan......they were planning to build new offices and an indoor training space where the house is currently. My guess is that this decision is being made so that it doesn’t set their project back 10 years. They don’t want to come out and say it because this project doesn’t benefit the rec side unless families pay extra for additional training......

I think a full audit would show Loudoun holding millions in reserve......

Seems to me that if the organization was so cash strapped that it was 1 season away from collapse that it would furlough some of those employees.

Additionally, someone should ask if they applied for and received a PPP loan to cover salaries and if so, how much did they receive.....

These decisions were made to protect someone’s agenda......and btw, those Board members likely have to be re-elected every year......might want to check the bylaws and maybe there is a group of parents that want to change the leadership.

DrDoctor

Dispute credit card charge to Loudoun Soccer...Excellent 007. Thank u!

DrDoctor

No Refund. Outrageous. Notifications went out last week.

Loudoun Soccer plans on keeping $150 for each player and giving parents an approximate $80 credit for future play.

LTM, PLEASE PURSUE this story!!!!

007

Contact your credit card company/bank and dispute the charge. I just did.

rickyraccoon

While their communication could have been better, they have a very clear refund policy: "No refunds will be made for cancellations due to inclement weather, injuries or other circumstances beyond our control. While all efforts are made to schedule and reschedule soccer events (practices, games, tournaments, etc.), Loudoun Soccer cannot guarantee all events will occur due to variables beyond our control."

Loudounlistener

I think it's incredible Loudoun Soccer don't even answer emails requesting information regarding their recent "credit" only policy.

Loudounlistener

Loudoun Soccer, do what's right, refund the money to parents. Trim down (from 14,000 players) and reorganize for next season.

Justwatching

Just drove by Loudoun Soccer Park at 9pm on May 5, 2020 only to notice that the lights were on for all of the fields. For an organization that is so concerned about taking care of their employees and watching their finances, you would think that they would have figured out how to turn off the the stadium lighting. If the answer is that they don't pay for the electricity, then they should be better stewards of the environment and cut back on their wasteful ways. An oversight of this size makes one think that someone is benefiting from the continued and excessive use of electricity.

John M

I am loving some of these comments. The amount of whining is unbelievable from a bunch of professional second-guessers who have never volunteered for anything or coached a youth sport in their lives. Stop crying, parents- you'll get your money back.

Loudounlistener

And how do you feel now John M? no refunds...

antman

Well your comment couldn't have aged any worse.

DrDoctor

Easy Francis.

No one is upset with LS for the cancelled spring season. It is the lack of communication that is troubling.

Within two weeks of the school year cancellation, another organization emailed the parents a simple update that stated two items. The field trip would be refunded via a credit and a transportation refund was TBD. Simple. This particular organization is all volunteer unlike Loudoun Soccer. That email took all of 60 seconds. What is LS waiting for?

My gratitude to fellow parent volunteers that dedicate their time to our Loudoun organizations!.

The silence from Loudoun Soccer is deafening.

TJsoccer

Shoddy journalism - copy and paste from a social media post. And from the editor in chief no less. It's a local paper, but that doesn't excuse laziness.

Keyboard warriors are upset, and they have the right to be. But let's give a long standing community organization some benefit of the doubt here before we crucify them.

CindyLou

Team and travel soccer has always been a joke in Loudoun County. Parents are rude and coaches are a disaster. Maybe they can keep the money and educate the coaches and parents can take anger control classes or just a basic "good manners" class at the college.

More Cowbell

Unsure why Loudoun county soccer would need money if the season is cancelled? I did look them up in SCC and it shows the names, which will be passed to Feds/IRS for an audit.

ace10

Your property tax bill is increasing by far more than $150. Is the County facing this much heat from residents?

antman

Because shelter is necessary to live, soccer isn't. Also, If I found out the county was going to take my property for a year but I would have to pay the taxes anyway, yeah, the county would have to answer for that.

pooge30

Their EIN: 54-1076172 in case anyone else wants to verify and look up their taxes, income and expenses.

Katmandu

Oh boy. Ticked off soccer moms....there's nothing worse in this world....or is there?? These are unprecedented times with this virus, people. As previously mentioned by others, this orgnanization is run by volunteers, folks who don't have answers right now. Relax. See how it plays out. They will make it right at the appropriate time. So of you people need to grow up

More Cowbell

Not all are volunteers, some are paid. Think Red Cross, CEO makes over $700K for a mostly volunteer organization.

pooge30

In 2017, they listed an employee that made $190k. The tax form on requires orgs to list employees with a salary over $100k. I think their total salary compensation was 7 figures, so people got paid.

AreYouKidding

They are required to report employees making over 100K on their IRS Form 990. The last one filed was for 2018 and reported 5 employees meeting that threshold. Director of Finance: $132,023, Executive Director: $140,192, Director of Player Development: $126,355, Assistant Technical Director: $122,560, and Technical Director: $161,608. A total of $682,738 for those 5 employees. Their total salary and wages expense was $2,166,599.

Out of total expenses of $6,143,501, $2,913,026 was spent to provide program services. The rest went to management, general and fundraising expenses.

Their total revenue for the year was $6,577,594 which means they banked $434,093 that year. They ended the year with net assets of $3,352,920.

pooge30

I am not sure how PRCS lets them use their fields. PRCS has a policy that board members can not be paid. At least they did back in 2016/2017.

DrDoctor

Every 501(C)3 has to file a 990 form with the IRS. All the names needed for a lawsuit can be found on this public document!!!!

Unacceptable behavior Loudoun Soccer. You had a good run. 1978-2020.

WesternSky

Loudoun Soccer is a non-profit -- and run largely by volunteers. Everyone complaining should take a chill pill - and I bet from the tone of some do not lift a finger to volunteer themselves. Those paying $150 are getting a bargain -- even if it ends up being a donation. While I can see how this is a bigger deal, the $1000 for travel may have already been spent on tournaments and they may be weighting to see if they can get a refund.

amerigirl

Agreed.

Loudounlistener

Like the guy said above you, They are required to report employees making over 100K on their IRS Form 990. The last one filed was for 2018 and reported 5 employees meeting that threshold. Director of Finance: $132,023, Executive Director: $140,192, Director of Player Development: $126,355, Assistant Technical Director: $122,560, and Technical Director: $161,608. A total of $682,738 for those 5 employees. Their total salary and wages expense was $2,166,599.

Out of total expenses of $6,143,501, $2,913,026 was spent to provide program services. The rest went to management, general and fundraising expenses.

Their total revenue for the year was $6,577,594 which means they banked $434,093 that year. They ended the year with net assets of $3,352,920.

Mark Carney

Loudoun County has the highest per capita income in the country and it also has the highest per capita of whiners and cheapskates. This care being the prime example.

I shelled out $150 for the Spring season just like everyone else and I'll wait until Loudoun Soccer decides what they intend to do (play a Summer season, play a Fall season, cancel the season, etc.) before I cry to the Loudoun Times.

Also, we in the middle of a pandemic. Why not focus your time and money on helping others? I've donated far more money than my Loudoun Soccer registration fee, which is the least of my concerns right now.

scottva

Well Mark, many of us have shelled out $1,000's for travel. So I am focused on time and money. Money spent that is not able to be used, not LS fault but times are tough and not just for LS. Glad you are rolling in the dough but not everyone is financially well off like you.

sterlingVA

I'm not sure how this soccer league is structured, but youth sports parents should know that the local Little League baseball leagues are operated 100% by non-salaried , non-compensated, volunteer parents, and nobody profits from retention of registration fees. The Governor's stay-at-home order, together with his unwillingness to offer any cooperation or direction to youth sports organizations, is what is really to blame for the current chaotic situation. Many of these leagues could operate safely, and responsibly, especially since all our children have been effectively quarantined for six weeks. But they are stuck in limbo until the Governor rescinds his lock-down order which currently extends through June 10.

John M

I'm a long time Loudoun Soccer parent, in both the rec and travel programs and I have had my issues with LS in the past, namely, the quality of the coaching has decreased significantly because the program has grown so quickly. I have a child who is on a travel team for the Spring/Summer season and I've probably shelled out closed to $2k in fees and expenses. However, I understand we are in unprecedented times and nothing is normal right now, so I'm not going to disparage LS for their response right now, they don't know what the future holds and they ARE trying to put together some kind of season if conditions improve over the summer, so all we need is a little patience right now. People should stop freaking out and slamming the league on Facebook and other social media and just be patient. I was part of a local little league's board of directors for a long time, and I know that long before games are scheduled, the league shells out a lot of money to prepare for the season, so right now, without knowing exactly what type of program they can put together on the fly over the summer, they won't know how much to reimburse everyone. I'm sure everyone will get some portion of their money back as the situation unfolds and we find out if there are going to be any games. Once this is figured out, LS can calculate what amount of money they're going to reimburse. I've kept in touch with my old little league friends and they haven't reimbursed their membership either, because they do not know how many (if any) games they will get in this summer. People seem to look for reasons to get hysterical.

Local citizen

How do you explain that clubs all over the state and region have already processed rec and travel plans who have similar types of complicated club structures and assets?

Richmond Kickers processed theirs over a week ago for travel and SYA have now completed their process for Rec and Travel as of Friday.....maybe the number of participants differ in those organizations from Loudoun but both have full time staffs as well as large assets (complexes) and operating expenses.

Well run and financially sounds organizations don’t require 2 months to understand their financial standings.....

Also keep in mind that when things open back up this virus won’t be gone. It’s entirely possible and reasonable that some families my want to continue social distancing for their families.

scottva

It's clear COVID-19 is not LS fault and I don't think anyone has blamed them. I'm sorry John, once what is figured out? The state of VA was shutdown in early-mid March which included schools, businesses, LS and virtually everything else. All businesses, schools and people were forced to come up with a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and so on to figure out how to be prepared depending on which turn or turns this COVID-19 disaster took. One thing we all know for certain, LS is not governed under separate rules as it relates to this lock-down. The people running LS have access to the same COVID-19 news and updates as the rest of us and yet their "updates" are as if they just heard about the state/country wide lock-downs. LS April 28th: "if there is any opportunity to safely get teams on the field this season, we want to do so. As volunteers with a duty to the Club and its members, we are evaluating a wide range of options related to programming. But our fundamental policy objective is to play soccer as soon as possible." This has been the same messaging since the start. So I'll go back to my "news and updates" comment, is LS tuning into the same news/updates as the rest of us? Is it not short sided to even suggest that LS is looking to see if there are any opportunities to get on the field this season OR play soccer as soon as possible? LS claims they are "evaluating a wide range of options related to programming" but if these options are only centered around playing normal soccer, well their options are very limited at this time.

If other businesses, restaurants, schools, etc. are figuring out how to survive and all options are less than ideal but they are trying. We are in month #2 of this shutdown and LS needs to get off the bench and provide suggestions, alternatives, OPTIONS. Personally, the fact that LS is a "non-profit" is not a valid excuse for poor communication or communicating the right message. Parents and players don't want to see LS fail, but right, the fact that they are a non-profit is meaningless because parents are paying for our kids to play not providing a donation. In closing, I think you would see less angry messaging from parents if someone from LS could simply speak to the million dollar question instead of providing a flowery wish list that we already have.

whyaskme

The handling of this spring season by Loudoun Soccer is absolutely ridiculous! As a parent of a Loudoun Soccer player - I am completely appalled by the handling of this season. The world has completely closed down, but they seem to still hang on to the idea that they are somehow exempt. I know the ONLY reason that they haven’t cancelled is because they want to hang onto the money. REALLY, LOUDOUN SOCCER? You’ve basically jeopardized losing more than half of your players permanently over ONE SEASON?!?! Even if you were to “have an accelerated season”, as their email to parents stated , how many parents would actually agree to allow their kids to play? This, not making it possible for them to have teams. I’m fed up with Loudoun Soccer and I know I’m not the only one.

LeesburgLiving12

You know who DID issue a refund as soon as they realized there would be no spring sports? Ashburn Bandits Lacrosse. Tiny organization, not a lot of overhead, great communication, and handled the refund process fair and equitable. LS could learn a thing or two about customer service.

John M

You said it yourself: "Not a lot of overhead". It's pretty easy to offer refunds when your program is small and you have no overhead.

fbiwatchingyou

Someone is going to jail $$$$$ Fraud

scottva

Restaurants have and will go out of business because of COVID-19 but some are doing all they can to hang onto their customers. Loudoun Soccer has offered NOTHING to hang on to their players and parents. Offer options or solutions not emails that blow smoke. Disgusted and won't return.

whyaskme

Agree 100% - we need options offered

FormerLoudounGuy

Thought you readers might be interested in how other leagues are handling this question. The Kickers club in Chesterfield County Va has already agreed to this for their rec players. They’ve not commented on the travel fees yet. “ 3 options for spring rec fees. 1. Donation, 2. Refund minus $30 admin fee, or 3. Full credit toward future season!!” These options were published last week.

pooge30

If someone knows the EIN number or their official name with the IRS, you can look up their taxes and see how much money in assets they claimed on their taxes. Then you can see if they have enough money in reserve to offer a refund.

applicant45554

I read there’s from a few years ago. Very few people taking any pay and salaries seemed very reasonable. The highest paid employee guy barely made over 100k. They may be on the hook for costs they can’t get out of

LoudounandOut

Don't you parents know that they have exorbitant expenses to keep that park running, coupled that with high salaries for their staff and directors. Loudoun parents need to be happy that they are part of an organization that puts kids and family needs right after the needs of the club and coaches. So, stop whining and keep paying your dues, or next years fees will be tripled!

scottva

I appreciate your sarcasm! Well done!

LoudounPulse

Nobody wants to give refunds. Its like pulling teeth. They rather just roll your funds into the next season/event.

LeesburgFan

Is Loudoun Soccer related to Old Dominion Soccer Club?? A couple have been charged with stealing $50,000 from that Loudoun club. Sounds like this Board learned a few tips from Old Dominion.

LeesburgLiving12

No that's a different club. Not related.

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