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Families involved with the nonprofit Loudoun Soccer organization have received final word on refunds for the cancelled spring season: There will be none.

Instead, parents who had paid the roughly $170 registration to play in the spring rec season have two options. They can either receive an $82 credit for future Loudoun Soccer programming, or they can “donate” the already paid fee to the organization.

Expectantly, parents who were already upset over what many saw as a weeks-long runaround from club leaders were angered by the decision.

“Imagine ordering a pizza online for delivery and paying for it, only to be told that not only were they not going to deliver it because of COVID-19, but they were going to keep your money,” Fred Avila, an Ashburn resident, told the Times-Mirror. “That is in essence what the Loudoun Soccer Board of Directors decided to do to all the families that paid registration fees for their child to play in the spring soccer season.”

Loudoun Soccer parent Mark Heinrich said he sees the situation as “Loudoun Soccer basically stealing” from his family.

“Loudoun Soccer has done nothing for us this spring besides sending some e-mails with zero substance, in my opinion as well as in the opinion of many others that I have talked to,” Mark Heinrich wrote to the Times-Mirror. “That was fine with me provided that I get a fair refund if the spring season was cancelled. What Loudoun Soccer is saying that they are doing here is certainly not fair and is in no way a refund. I don’t pay $82 for nothing. I didn't pay money for weak online soccer videos that I could search out on your website or social media site. We have used better soccer videos that are free on YouTube. While I can understand an administrative fee of maybe $25-$30, I cannot understand $82.”

Loudoun Soccer representatives said their decision on refunds is final. Rob Russell, the vice president of the organization's Board of Directors, said the move was driven in hopes to ensure that the organization can resume full operations in spring 2021.

While the organization hopes to resume programming in the fall, the Board of Directors is preparing financially as though fall operations will be impacted by the pandemic, Russell said.

“We may not satisfy everybody, and I don't think we can satisfy everybody,” he said. “[But] I feel very confident – and I have no doubt – that we made the decision we made in good faith with the health of the entire club at the forefront.” (Read Loudoun Soccer's original statement on refunds below.)

Russell and another representative, board member Neal Thurman, told the Times-Mirror mortgage payments at the organization's complex off Sycolin Road, salaries for the club's staff and maintenance costs have accounted for ongoing expenses.

None of the organization's approximately 20 to 25 staff members have seen a pay cut or been furloughed during the pandemic, according to the Loudoun Soccer representatives.

Loudoun Soccer, which serves more than 7,000 kids in the county, received Payment Protection Program funds from the federal government, but Russell said the PPP funding was already factored in the refund decision.

Asked whether he felt the decision not to give refunds was a fair one, Russell responded, “Given the information we had and given the objective we sought, yes, I believe it is a fair decision.”

Still, some Loudoun Soccer parents – including those who say they won't return when the organization resumes normal operations – have suggested filing a complaint with the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. On a private Facebook page devoted to the situation, one member said two complaints have already been filed.

Avila said Loudoun Soccer generated more than $6.2 million in revenue, according to the 2017 Loudoun Soccer 990 financial report. He called the whole situation “grossly unjust.”

“In the middle of an economic crisis, many cash-strapped families could really use the money,” Avila said. “Do the right thing Loudoun Soccer Board, refund the money that doesn't belong to you. I'd understand if they kept 25 percent to cover overhead, but to keep 100 percent is not right.”

Parent Stephanie Dacko Mull, who along with Angela Goodman met with Loudoun Soccer representatives to discuss concerns, said she wants to see changes from the club's leadership.

“We wanted the board to hear us about the wrongdoings of their organization and then do something about it,” Mull said. “While we were heard, we don't have faith that much, if anything, will change. Personally I'm all about action. Don't complain, don't pretend to hear concerns, don't make empty promises without any intention to change behavior. Take action. So for me, unless they are willing to change their ways, then I'm done with them.”

Goodman called the club's leadership "out of touch" and said "they don't understand how out of touch they are with the community as a whole." (Read her full statement below.)

" ... to sum up the meeting, it could've been better, it could've been worse," Goodman said. "They listened, they showed ownership in the decisions they made. Will they change anything regarding the credit, we don't think so. They cannot afford it, unless the fall season does happen. Maybe then they can offer larger credits, but I wouldn't count on any changes."

________

Statement from Angela Goodman:

"Our meeting with the Board of Directors lasted roughly an hour and 15 minutes. For those of you who have not seen the agenda we presented to them, it is in another post so that you can review.

Overall the meeting was open and informative. We started the meeting asking whether or not they planned to answer all of our questions so that we could quickly remove ourselves in the event they wanted to provide some type of block to the information we requested. Thankfully, they did agree to answer all our questions and listen attentively to our concerns as a collective unit.

The Board members were very candid with information. Yes, the did receive PPP funds to continue their non 1099 payroll. For those of you not familiar with this program, there are very strict stipulations in place for the usage of these funds (2.5X monthly payroll average). While they received a hefty amount, it was put in place to pay their employees and utllity costs. Please keep in mind, it can only be used for each employee up to $8K per month. That means the gap over and above must come from Organizational dollars. While they can keep salaries at any level they choose, they can only use the PPP for a portion for those making over $100K annually. These funds must be used in an 8 week window so it is limited and they cannot spread it beyond the 8th week (at this point in time). I am very familiar with this funding because I received it in my business. As for any other funding, they have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan that has not been granted to date.

Once we moved on to the other operational questions, we did learn that each program stands on it's own two feet financially. That being said, that is why they chose to refund some programs 100% - they literally did not incur any costs associated with those programs prior to their start and thereby could refund them. I did advise them that while those programs may not have any direct costs associated with them, they should all be funding the Overhead costs associated with staff salaries, etc. The light bulbs went off and then they quickly dismissed with the fact that those programs bring in such little revenue, it would not have made a dent in the costs associated with Rec and Travel. They did advise that due to the costs of the business, and the likely potential for not having a Fall season let alone a Spring season, they have run their financial plans to fund the positions they need until Spring 2021. Given their PPP funding and it's timing, they have not mandated any furloughs or salary cuts at this point. Their staff is still working and maintaining their pay until they otherwise cannot. We did discuss that they need to NOT REPEAT the lack of communication and timing on their decision making. This is where the meeting turned to the main issues at hand...

We then began to discuss the decision making process that lead to where we are in the present. What took so long? Why communicate people could request refunds and then take away that choice. Long and short of it, they did own up that they made a mistake. They did not communicate their financial standings well in the beginning. They are effectively functioning in a situation where they could afford a season with no play but not two seasons with no play. Their reserves are not enough to cover continuing to pay staff and the remainder of their expenses without a Fall season. They could have come out and said that in March, suspended the season, provided transparency and given everyone a choice. They didn't and they regret that now. How much they regret it, who knows, but they do, they owned it last night. They have learned from it enough to regret it but the question is, did they learn enough to do different and be better? During this point in the conversation we emphasized, emphatically, that the reason they are in the predicament they are in is because they took away people's vote, their right to choose. That's really why we are here - no one in Rec got a choice, not from the minute go and not now. Everyone is ready to slay the organization simply because they didn't give enough information to educate and provide a choice.

During the next part of the conversation we pretty much had enough data to realize they cannot afford to give everyone their refund back. They spent money coordinating a season that fell apart a week before it started. While they didn't have the Parts and Rec fees, they had the uniform cost, the labor for planning, the coordination expenses, etc. At that point, they could've called the season and made a refund choice but because the program is so large, they just don't have enough. Stephanie and I could have continued to hammer them but neither of us saw the point. We communicated that the will lose players, they will lose coaches, they will lose donors over this. They seem to be remorseful but only time will tell. We told them they aren't even doing right by their volunteers who were shafted on more than one occasion and that they need to fix immediately. We shared that we do have coaches, parent liasons, etc in the group and whatever ties are likely lost. We also communicated that some want to file complaints with the Attorney General due to believing they have misappropriated funding. They heard it, they responded physically, and had little to say. Essentially now they have done so much damage they do not know what to do.

In closing of the meeting they asked how to keep the lines of communication open, that they often ask for Parent input and they don't get it. I told them they are missing it - they have tons of volunteer coaches - listen to them, hear what they say, ask an opinion and do something with the feedback. They are out of touch, they don't understand how out of touch they are with the Community as a whole. We addressed issues with donors as well and that they don't even realize that they have issues there as well... Survey Monkey is a good place to start...

So to sum up the meeting, it could've been better, it could've been worse. They listened, they showed ownership in the decisions they made. Will they change anything regarding the credit, we don't think so. They cannot afford it, unless the Fall season does happen. Maybe then they can offer larger credits, but I wouldn't count on any changes.

Bottom line is that we attempted to turn it around. We talked about optics and perspective and communication and crisis management. We do not believe their course will be altered, but maybe they will do something. So, in the mean time, do what you feel is best for you individually. I suspect the media coverage will die down. After talking to them, I do not believe anyone is cashing out illegally - i think they are a group of men who did what they thought would be best for the organization and they fell on their sword with communication and crisis management. Their decisions missed the human component of this pandemic outside of the organization - they did ok inside, they continue to pay their staff..."

__________________

Statement from Loudoun Soccer on decision not to grant refunds:

"Dear Loudoun Soccer families,

We hope you and your family are safe and healthy, and that you enjoyed a wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend. This message is a follow-up to the announcement we made on May 4, which shared the disheartening news that our Spring 2020 Rec and Adult League seasons were canceled, and promised additional details by May 13. We appreciate your patience as we worked to finalize our review process and develop our plans in light of that decision.

You enrolled your child(ren) this season, expecting a traditional soccer experience as we all did, and, regardless of why that did not occur, that experience simply could not take place.

Therefore, Loudoun Soccer Board of Directors will enact the following plan for families with children enrolled in our Spring 2020 season:

•             Families have all been impacted by this crisis differently, none more so than those who are most vulnerable. As a result, all families who received financial assistance this season have been issued full refunds of their fees to provide immediate help.

•             All supplemental programming (Spring Break camps, Junior Development Program, Rec TTA, 7U Pre-Academy, Speed/Agility training) and TOPSoccer (special needs) given the designs of those programs, will be refunded in full by May 31, 2020.

•             For players enrolled in Micro (Pre-School), Minis (Pre-K and Kindergarten) or Rec 1 (Grades 1-2) as a primary program, the following options are available:

•             Credits: A credit of $82 may be claimed by completing this short survey between now and June 30, 2020. Once processed, this credit can be applied to any future programming (camp, seasonal registration, clinic, etc.) between now and December 31, 2021. 

•             Donations: Families who are willing to donate their registration fee in lieu of a credit may do so. Donations are tax-deductible to the full value of your registration fee and will be used to assist players in need of financial assistance, as well as to support the free after-school programs we provide to Title I schools in Loudoun County. In normal years, we offer more than $125,000 annually in assistance to enable families with financial need to participate in our programs. We anticipate an increase in need for assistance in Fall 2020 and beyond. No action is necessary to convert your registration fee to a donation. If we have not received a response to receive your credit by June 30, 2020, the registration fee will be treated as a donation. A gift receipt may be provided, as will our heartfelt gratitude.

•             Adult League team captains will be contacted separately via email regarding their credit.

•             We will provide additional guidance with respect to our Travel and ECNL programs by May 20.

This plan balances the need to support our ongoing operations with the financial needs of our families. The good news is once we can safely return to the playing field, we will be ready to serve our community as we have for the last 42 years, with our dedicated and experienced staff in place.

Our staff and Board are working closely together to ensure the future of Loudoun Soccer. Please know that the health and safety of our participants and families is more important than ever. As our staff prepares for the Summer programming and the launch of Fall registration, we are working with local, state, and national organizations to ensure best practices are adopted and new protocols are in place for all of our programs and participants (players, coaches, parents, and referees).

Our Club is committed to offering these soccer opportunities, not just for the chance to play this beautiful game but for the priceless benefits youth sports offer – the rewards we receive from effort, commitment, teamwork, and growth, and the life lessons that are taught along the way.

Our goal and mission for the last 42 years at Loudoun Soccer has been to Develop Champions for Life. This remains our north star, and we look forward to continuing that mission with you.

Loudoun Soccer Board of Directors"

(71) comments

Guest

All these comments and empty threats for what? Bottom line, if they refunded your fees, they would have to file for bankruptcy due to high overhead costs. Plus, you all have FOMO and will pay the fees to play for an overrated LS program. The club knows it and so do you!

Guest

Not empty at all. We are leaving our travel team, the club, filing a complaint, and seeking guidance on further legal action.

Guest

We are too

Guest

Does anyone have a contact information for someone/group that has already started the process of a class action or other legal action? We would like to know more

Guest

We've been with Loudoun Soccer for 10 years and have been pretty happy, but bottom line... no one should tell me how I should spend my money. It's my money; my decision. Period. I paid for a service and didn't get it. Give me my money back. I will decide how to spend it. If I want to give a donation, let me decide. Don't tell me you've decided to spend my money in another way. Not cool. Very self-serving. Bad business. Period.

Guest

Absolutely agree with everything you say. I'm not sure what can be done other than walk. Have you considering speaking with an attorney?

Guest

We don’t want to spend a single penny more on this but are considering filing a complaint with the attorney general. The article focuses on recreation, but travel parents lost a lot—I’ve got one in travel, one in rec, and lost $1,184 altogether. LS “donated” back to themselves. Not my responsibility to keep them afloat. We are walking and I know many other parents are as well. It’s a bummer. Loudoun Soccer took the fun out of soccer.

whyaskme

For many Loudoun Soccer parents - this is more about principal than anything else. We feel ripped off and lied to by an organization that we trusted. Will more than half of the parents return in the fall? Probably not. There are several other choices in the area.

Loudoun Soccer now has a bad reputation and parents will take their money and time elsewhere.

Peace Loudoun Soccer. It’s been REAL!

Guest

Loudoun Soccer chose to take care of themselves, maintain (high) salaries at 100% over the needs of their community, all under the guise of "keeping the club alive". Using the fees of people (some struggling financially) to fund the organization into 2021, not just the Spring. All the while getting money from the Paycheck Protection Plan. I cannot believe they didn't provide any pay reduction for staff. My company had across the board pay reductions and furloughs to keep the company afloat. As a volunteer coach for rec soccer for 3 seasons, I am disgusted by their lack of transparency, the "run around" on communication, & the inconsistency in the refunds. They didn't even post the meeting minutes that led to these decisions. People would be less upset if they were open, honest and completely transparent - AND put some skin in the game through a show of sacrifice on their end.

Guest

Has anyone considered legal action?

Guest

Report them to the attorney general. I’m not sure anyone is willing to incur more expenses with an attorney to fight this. We’re already struggling enough.

Guest

We are very unhappy with Loudoun Soccer. The lack of transparency and taking care of yourself first attitude is going to make us walk. Why such a rush to get travel kids registered and paid for the fall season?

Futbol_Mega_Fan

You're only unhappy because your child is probably only semi-decent in one sport and doesn't have a prayer of making a travel team.

See you next year and thanks for the donation!

Love,

Loudoun Soccer

Guest

Sterling Soccer Club offered rec families three options in an April 7 email. Donate the fees, refund less 20 percent or roll the registration fee into Fall 2020. Families were given a May 15 deadline We rolled our finds over to Fall 2020. They were very good about communications. I am sorry LCS is causing a lot of families inconvenience. Stay safe, see you on the fields hopefully soon.

Guest

I’m a parent and volunteer that’s been part of the Club for almost a decade. We donated our Spring fees.

The fiduciary duty of the Board is to the Club and it’s long term viability. Making decisions contrary to this would be the real problem for the Board members. I’m sure they weighed the go forward choices knowing they were always picking between the best bad choice. The notions of purposeful malfeasance are misguided and misplaced. On top of this, just like any corporate mgmt team during this pandemic, I am sure the Board learned about the consequences and continues to learn. LS is not the only local NON-PROFIT entity that offered credit toward next season but no refund so it is not as though they are on an island.

They’ve made major improvements to LSP over the past couple years and prior to this, I don’t recall seeing many complaints about mismanagement. I imagine those speaking to salaries have fully researched what these roles should be paid and are speaking from a learned position, right? I have no issue with a business keeping staff so they have them post-crisis, particularly KEY staff. They are also getting funds to help them keep employees.

Since we first joined the Club, the refund policy and cutoffs have been the same...go read it. You agree to many pages of terms and conditions when you sign up (e.g. use of likeness, medical waiver, parent code, etc.), including the refund policy. There was always a point when there wouldn’t be a refund issued.

Finally, even POTUS thought we might open up by Easter, so why is everyone hammering the Board for being optimistic about having a season? Most national/regional orgs were also slow walking decisions.

This is a terrible time for everyone but ripping a group trying to make the best out of a terrible situation for which nobody has a perfect answer isn’t constructive; hopefully, it is at least cathartic.

Guest

Issue is that full credit toward future season was not offered. We would have used it to register for future season, however, half credit is a non-starter.

Guest

None of the entities we joined for the Spring offered full refunds or full credits for the future because they all had costs they needed to cover in order to remain viable. Expectations for full refunds aren’t based on any contractual term but rather an individual sense of right or wrong that is clearly shared by some. We think the Board did the best they could in an awful situation, including issuing refunds to those that participated from the go as financially-challenged members among others. Generally, the notion of issuing a full refund/credit to everyone really doesn’t align with the realities of trying to make sure there is an organization in place when this generational crisis ends.

If you find an entity that offered a full refund/credit, it is likely they won’t have the Club-owned amenities and/or resources we enjoy.

Clearly we won’t be short of competitive juices when we see some of the commenters on competing clubs! 1-2-3 LOUDOUN!

Guest

AYFL gave a full refund. The Loudoun Soccer Board needs to be fully investigated for any conflicts of interest and the direct misleading of families not to request a refund until things were sorted out, you know, after the deadline in the various terms and conditions you agree to.

Guest

Has anything happened by this group that should be appreciated by the parents? Don't think so. This league is in trouble on a weekly basis. They required bale out, now won't refund and fees paid by parents.

Local citizen

But here is the rub..........Loudoun Soccer’s high operating budget comes off of the back of Recreational parents money. Looking at the spring season, what costs where left against the spring operations for REC when the county didn’t charge Loudoun for field use? The paint for the fields???.......can be used in the fall........uniforms???.......can be used in the fall.......these aren’t going to go “bad” after one season so you can make the argument that really what’s left? LSP and salaries.......

How often does Rec get to use LSP (turf)........???? My guess is not ever/ often and certainly not every Rec player and certainly not enough to hedge operating expenses for coaches salaries (those “pro” coaches don’t coach the Rec players) and LSP.....which Rec doesn’t get to use.

So really, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the “elite” status of this club is built off the backs and money of the volume of Rec players and families so that Travel get the best fields, best coaches.

What’s that old adage......oh, fail to plan is planning to fail........

Countless organizations have given refunds, Countless have offered credits.........its the lack of transparency and upfront communication that has caused the issues.

And just to be clear, all of the major leagues for youth soccer were cancelled weeks in advance of Loudoun acting........so the wait and see approach was obviously a “we need to buy ourselves time” approach for exactly what we are seeing now

Guest

As a travel parent I don’t totally agree with your commentary. We pay ALOT of money to play travel ball at LS and at that we do not get use of the fields at LSP exclusively. Travel also had no spring season but instead of being out $170 we are our nearly $2k. Our refund option was 10% toward next season🙄!

Guest

Yes! And we only have 72 hours to pay for a fall season. No thanks!

Matthew

Why on earth would someone donate to a pay to play franchise? Loudoun is trying to pass this off as normal. People paid for a service, the service was not delivered, full refunds or credit should be delivered. I am sure Loudoun has overhead expenses, but such is life. My guess would be a “donation” may get your kid a leg up for the next season, which is flat wrong.

Guest

If one is able to have perspective beyond the single transaction the Spring represents and appreciate the longer term goal of growing a player, making a donation to a non-profit org makes perfect sense. Perspective is lacking in these posts. We have taken full advantage of all seasonal programming the Club offers since our daughters first seasons, including summer camps and winter indoor sessions. The player development programs really work and it all feeds together for the long term growth of the players. Sure, I want to be watching my girls on Saturday and coaching, too. But, the Spring was cancelled everywhere so it isn’t as though you had an alternate service provider. The question is what do you want to come back to and the Board thinks this is the most reasonable path.

You can be bitter and complain; that is your right. I’m simply pointing out that that the article’s title doesn’t tell both sides; there are those of us that stand behind the Club 100%. That is our right.

PS—-as to the other clubs trolling this, stay classy!

Guest

Totally agree..

whyaskme

Totally agree!

Guest

They are Green with Greed. None of the board members of Loudoun Soccer are probably hurting for money, which factors into their decision to screw other families who are suffering.

This board lacks diversity, literally and figuratively and we are done with this organization. I'm surprised that this board lack diversity when I see people from all walks of life, color, race, creed, sex, religion bringing their kids to participate in practices, games, and other activities.

Of the seven board members, all 7 are white men. There are no African Amercians, no Hispanics, no Asians, no Indians, and no women or mothers.

https://www.loudounsoccer.com/Default.aspx?tabid=2651930

Guest

Did you know that anyone can run for the Board? These are the people who actually ran for the Board and were elected. The lack of diversity comes from the lack of people running to be board members... not because of Loudoun Soccer.

Guest

Are you sure about that? There has not been an open election in years much less an open meeting. Its time for change...of the BOD.

Guest

Go to your credit card and cancel payment and demand a refund. Write a letter to the state attorney general. This is an outrage the way they are treating everyone. It shows Loudoun Soccer doesn’t care about their community and only cares about lining their greedy pockets.

Guest

Their refusal to cut salaries or furlough anyone when they KNEW soccer WASNT happening was mistake # 1. 6.2 million in 2017 with only 1 million in the bank..assuming that came from a Loudoun Board member is problem and even if not where is the money so that’s problem # 2 !!! Overpaid salaries and mismanaging of funds If we cannot go 1 season doing right by the community and refunding a service not provided . 🤷‍♀️ Seems very hypocritical that we cannot go 1 year without a soccer season or bankrupt the club yet many maintained their high salaries and no one was furloughed while many in the community did and were !!! SO THERE YA HAVE IT !!! It’s not our responsibility to keep their lifestyles in place .. So does it seem FAIR to the two individuals who made comments to the Loudoun Times while they maintained their HIGH salaries of course it does because THEY were not affected and WE kept them afloat !!!! They are welcome but I pray the greed , dishonesty and the complaints to the attorney general will do them in...

Guest 1

Serve Camp is doing the same thing! 20% refund, they keep 80%. Seems like it should be the other way around. We paid for something, got nothing. Not right! They don't care.

SuperGuest

Serve Camp is a joke. Run out of some white people's basement.

Guest

read the 990s, guys. revenue is only half of the equation. they had about $1 million in the bank. Sure, that sounds like a lot of money to you and me, but subtract the refunds people are asking for and they would be out of business in short order. my kids and many of their friends would be devastated if loudoun soccer were not around.

applicant45554

There is a reasonable basis for Loudoun soccer to do what it did (except for not using the reserve), but Nevertheless, it is plainly unethical to take this much money from folks without delivering a reasonable value with due consideration for the circumstances. They should have made the painful choices necessary to deliver reasonable refunds ahead of the “club’s” interests

Guest

BARCA ACADEMY IS STILL PLAYING. MY BOY STARTED MONDAY. EXTENDED US TO JULY. LEAVE LS JOIN BARCA ACADEMY!!!! OR STAY WITH LS AND ACCEPT GETTING ROBBED!

Guest

We’re in this for the long term development of our players and this requires having a Club to come back to when we’re able. We love Loudoun Soccer! We’ve invested way more in hours and $$ than the fraction lost this season and that is with a $2k+ travel (yearly cost by the way so we got 3/4 value + 1st Spring tourney) and multiple years of volunteer coaching. LS has many benefits other clubs don’t and for some this may not mean much given the current situation. I suspect you’ll find out when you go elsewhere. We’ll be glad to Rep the Red with those that stay and look forward to seeing everyone else on the pitch. On the upside, traffic at the Park should get better!

jke

Randall will bail them out and have Hemstreet backload into their payment schedule.

ECBURN

What is it with Loudoun County allowing soccer to run all over us? First the BOS defers taxes due for six years for some soccer team (my taxes are due this year), and now this. Doesn't LC realize that soccer is the fifth sport in the US?

SuperGuest

Right?? And the lack of diversity and empathy of the BOS is appalling! I'm constantly shocked at the lack of Hispanic representation as well! LS will be gone in a few years if they keep this up and then those nifty soccer fields will become prime real estate for Randall and her money grubbing townhome builders.

Guest

Barça Academy is starting up their spring season Monday with extensive precautions, to play through July. Just FYI for those thinking of leaving LSC. Tryouts for new players start June 15th.

Guest

Well, when I Iearned just a couple of weeks ago that LS pays 6-figure salaries to 5 of its staff and that totals over $600,000, I had no empathy. I am one of those parents who had signed up my child for the rec. program, and I submitted registration late, since I wasn’t sure if I would need to withdraw my child due to a potential conflict with another after-school sport. I figured that I would submit a request for a refund by the deadline if that were our case, and didn’t mind losing a little money for the admin. and/or late fee. It turned out we didn’t need to do that, since COVID-19 happened, so I was patient. I waited and waited, and no communication with regard to what might happen as far as refunds are concerned, except a couple of emails with online video exercises that my child had no interest in doing. After all, soccer is a team sport. Yes, they did end up giving refunds to the special needs and another group, but I am unhappy with the decision that LS made to blindside rec. players. It’s as if they didn’t really care about all of their customers, only the ones who pay big money, like the competitive group, or those who receive scholarships so they look good in the public’s eye. My stepfather was semi-professional in Central America circa 1920’s, he taught me to play, and I developed a passion for the game. I wanted a similar experience for my children. I played throughout my childhood up until high school, with a Coed league in Fairfax, and pick-up women leagues in Loudoun up until circa 2006. I helped organize a men’s soccer tournament fundraiser for 2 consecutive years back in 2004-2006. I even served as an assistant coach for LS for the first time last Fall 2019. Fortunately, our family can afford to take a hit. I still feel that what LS did is just bad customer service, plain and simple, and unfortunately, they are going to lose clientele and players, some who were loyal followers. I wonder why LS staff cannot take a cut in pay to compensate for any “losses” they might be experiencing? Kind of like what some airline execs. have done. After all, it’s supposed to be about the kids, right? It seems like for LS, it’s more about maintaining a top-heavy organization and having a surplus/carry-over in their account that can be questionable for a non-profit organization serving the community.

Virginia SGP

LCPS pays all of its employees to do not much of anything and got have no choice.

Here, the same thing happened. I surely hope people walk. That is the only way to prevent such greed and corruption.

Local citizen

Where is all the money that was being made through the uniform deal with Capelli and all the other money going towards the CIP master plan to build the new office and indoor space on the site of the current office? Was this decision to not refund made so that they didn’t have to tap into those reserves?

Have they provided their current accounting to show all reserves? When was the last club audit?

It can’t be possible that one of the largest youth soccer organizations in the region don’t have the finances in order to survive from a missed season can it?

As an update they have cut staff salaries for the fall and have let go of some of the professional coaches.......

Well Water Person

What a gigantic frigging rip off!

Guest

Agreed! You know, Revolution soccer is right here and they do a MUCH better job. Time to make a move.

Guest

Isn't the owner of Revolution the same fraudulent guy from the Solar Panel company that was all over the news? Niko Eckart https://www.nbcwashington.com/local/virginia-homeowners-spend-thousands-of-dollars-for-solar-panels-they-didnt-receive/171080/

Guest

Yes that's correct

Guest

Those of us who own companies and employ people during this time do not have the choice to charge our customers for something we didn't deliver. We have to make hard business decisions and reduce salaries and let people go so the business can survive another day. Loudoun Soccer showed me (a 5 year volunteer house coach), they do not have the courage to do what is right for the long-term survival of the organization and do the right thing by their customers. It is inevitable they will have to lay off people eventually and after burning through customer's money and reserves, they will come out realizing they lost a lot of customers. Poor way to run a non-profit or a business.

SweetShade

LSC isn’t the only club doing this. Potomac Field Hockey gave parents who paid registration fees two options: a credit toward next year or PFH would donate the part of fees PFH hadn’t yet used to a nonprofit. They refused to give any refunds, unless a family could prove a unique hardship. So we paid money for a service we didn’t receive and the only way to get our money back is to grovel to the board? But there was registration fee money available to donate to another group? It’s crazy! And bad business!!

Guest

The difference is LS didn’t give those choices. They just said you leave you get no money. My daughter is leaving soccer to peruse other aspirations. No other reason. She loves soccer and was a hard decision. But to not offer an option for me to at least donate My money to where I want it to go makes no sense, and shows LS really could care less about the people. Just the money.

T Johnson

I get everyone's on edge, but you guys need to get a grip. Loudoun Soccer is probably the most respected soccer club in the area and has been a positive influence on our girls for years. Nobody was prepared for this. I hope they're still in business next year.

scottva

Correction, WAS the most respected soccer club

Guest

Loudoun soccer is NOT well respected and that is why it cannot get into many tournaments. It has a handful of good coaches and a lot of coaches who THINK they are good.

Guest

Yes!!!

Local citizen

Being respected because you over pay to have the perception of being the best doesn’t make you a sound organization. There are lots of good people at Loudoun, absolutely, but the elitist attitude does you no good when you don’t look out for your members......so it’s possible to have a good experience and still be done wrong by.......

Guest

Not anymore

Spartyspartan

Its soccer what do you expect. The sport where everyone gets a trophy or a medal. Or girls who beat up on the world (see Thailand 13 0) and want more money but cant sustain a league. Oh wait. Neither can the men. Remember the darts with Lincoln Phillips at wtw. Or get your kicks with the dips dips soccer at rfk. Or better yet sue bird's wife gets pissed because her owner who's a vet refused to let her embarrass herself by kneeling. What a great sport and learning moments.

John M

I was in Loudoun Soccer's corner in the beginning of this. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they were hoping to salvage some portion of the season so they were keeping our money just in case they could alter the schedule and play some games. My child plays on a Loudoun Soccer travel team, and yesterday we got this letter, stating we will get a credit for 10% of the over $2,000 we have paid for the season. What a joke! There were no new uniforms this season, so it's not like LS spent money on those, and my kid's coach sent a link to a workout video and had ONE video conference with the team- that's it. All that cost $2,000? Loudoun Soccer is committing robbery right now. Anyway, here is the letter travel parents received: Dear Loudoun Soccer ECNL and Travel Families,

We hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy. These last ten weeks have been disruptive, challenging, and confusing to say the least, and this global crisis has impacted us all, some more than others.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we transitioned to virtual programming, waited for a final resolution on the Spring season from the leagues we play in, and prepared our 2020-2021 program details, which were complicated by adapting our policies to meet the possible conditions we may find ourselves in the coming weeks and months.

Below are updates on several important areas, concluding our Spring 2020 season and presenting our Fall 2020-Spring 2021 soccer commitment; families are encouraged to read and review the additional information available on our website for further details.

Spring Season Recap:

The Spring 2020 season has officially and unfortunately concluded. Our teams participate in multiple leagues, each with its own policies and procedures, and each independently examined opportunities to extend the seasonal calendar if it were safe to return to the field, but ultimately determined that was not viable.

As we waited for the leagues to determine their paths forward and for conditions to improve to allow normal training to occur, Loudoun Soccer provided its ECNL and Travel families with online resources, including

Google Classrooms for each coach and team;

Loudoun Soccer “At Home Workouts”;

Live Strength & Conditioning and Live Technical Training through Zoom;

Virtual Team Meetings, including video analysis, positional analysis, Kahoot quizzes, scavenger hunts, team building, and leadership sessions;

College recruiting seminar with college coaches for our older players;

Q&A sessions with professionals from MLS, NWSL, and USL

Zoom, TeamSnap and other virtual meeting platforms have allowed teams to stay connected to each other through meetings and chats.

We’re also proud of the community outreach provided– recognizing our Healthcare Heroes, writing letters to Senior Citizens, and our free BBQ events – as well as your support in making them successful.

The transition from normalcy to virtual programming was abrupt, and the official end of the Spring season is disappointing. We are hopeful for our future programming, which we hope you and your family are a part of. Please keep reading regarding our Team Formation Procedure for this next year, as well as our Return to Play procedures in development.

Credit for Spring Season:

A per-player credit of 10 percent will be provided to all ECNL and Travel players eligible to return to soccer in 2020-2021; families with graduating seniors will be contacted separately given their unique situation. The credit will be automatically applied upon acceptance on an ECNL or Travel team assignment. Additionally, club fees for 2020-2021 will not increase.

The Loudoun Soccer’s Board of Directors reviewed several scenarios regarding refunds and credits of varying forms and amounts, with the goal of being fair to families who expected a soccer experience this Spring that was not delivered, but also being good financial stewards of the club, which had already paid significant money toward a Spring season that cannot be recouped. This includes maintaining Loudoun Soccer Park; continuing employment of the club’s Technical and Operations staff, and Travel team coaches; allowing virtual programs to be provided; and to best transition back to in-person training and games in the immediate future.

Ultimately issuing a credit for next year while pledging to maintain club fees struck that balance between keeping the club running, and serving the needs of as many of the club families as possible.

2020-2021 Team Formation Process

It is our goal to place every current ECNL and Travel player interested in returning for this next year on an appropriate team.

In lieu of traditional tryouts (which cannot be held given the inability to safely host them), Loudoun Soccer’s Team Formation Process for Fall 2020/Spring 2021 will be as follows:

Families must register their child online by Friday, June 5, through their Sports Connect account to be considered for placement. Note there are separate processes for ECNL and Travel, which may require families completing this process twice.

No financial commitment is required to register; it merely informs the age group coaches that your child wishes to be placed on a team.

Age Group coaches (current, incoming, and outgoing) and our Technical Staff will work together to place all eligible and interested returning players on a developmentally-appropriate team, using the last eight months (or more) as their body of work. This is consistent with our previous placement process, as we value that assessment over a single tryout session.

Players will be offered a spot on a specific team. Families who accept this offer will need to complete the acceptance portion of the registration process to officially accept the offer.

Our goal is to place all returning players, while adhering to minimum and maximum roster sizes. Individual families will be notified as soon as possible and provided alternatives in the event we cannot meet this goal.

2020-2021 Return-to-Play Plans and Financial Policies

Our hope as an organization is to return to in-person, on-field soccer programming as safe and as early as possible. The club’s leadership in the Technical and Operations staff are finalizing a “return to play” procedure that will ensure the safety of our players, coaches, and families, while complying with the standards set by local, state, and national governments and governing bodies.

Modifications to our programs are likely to occur as we progress through the return-to-open phases, with game play returning once it’s deemed safe.

“How” is more important than “When” in developing these procedures, as the health and safety of our membership is paramount. Additional details will be shared with the membership in the coming days.

The global crisis that arrived in Loudoun County in March surprised everyone. In preparing our 2020-2021 calendar and budget, our goal is to avoid surprises, and to be fair and flexible to families if the commitment they expect is unable to be delivered.

Given this reality, the following actions and accommodations are in place:

Club fees for the 2020-21 year will not increase, remaining the same amount as 2019-2020.

As in previous years, an initial payment is required to secure your child’s spot on the team.

Families who accept a position on an ECNL or Travel team can choose an installment plan during the acceptance portion of registration, if desired.

The credit from the Spring season will be applied evenly to those installments (i.e.. the full credit will be applied to families who pay their club fee up front, or divided evenly between installments if that plan is selected).

COVID-19 Refund/Credit Policy:

If on-field training never begins because of COVID-19, 100% of fees will be refunded.

If on-field training begins but the season is subsequently interrupted or canceled as a result of COVID-19, refunds or credits will be issued for the period of the interruption.

All other refund requests will adhere to Loudoun Soccer's existing refund policies.

It’s important for us that our families have peace of mind when enrolling. There is a level of flexibility needed as we navigate through the coming months, and that flexibility must accommodate both directions.

We hope for your continued support and enrollment, and look forward to returning to the field again safely, and soon.

Loudoun Soccer

scottva

We received the same email. As soon as I saw how long it was I knew it was going to be packed full of justification. It's funny how LSC is willing to be fair NEXT season should COVID strike again but does nothing about the current season when COVID did impact all of us. The numbers would be interesting to see, meaning the total number of travel players who will get the 10% credit and compare the aggregate amount to the PPP money they received. Was 10% the highest they could go to maintain their bank account without taking a loss?

Guest

I agree with you. I tried to be patient and understanding. I have one kid in the Academy and one kid in travel, not cheap! We were expecting a bit more communication than what we received especially since the leagues they play in cancelled the spring season weeks ago. We are not sure where to go from here.

Duncan Idaho

People in The Richest County in the Country are complaining about $80 - $170? Hey, I'm out $60 for the Loudoun Half Marathon that never went off. I'll consider it a down payment on maybe getting a better t-shirt next year.

scottva

Just because we live in Loudoun doesn't mean we're all rich Doogan. The richest county in the country is not impervious to the impact COVID has had. Either you're a Liberal or a disconnected conservative, either way, that was an absurd comment. You must be fat and happy because I still view $80 - $170 as a lot of money especially for something I never received. BTW, the guy that posted the letter from LSC was talking about $2,000.

John M

Duncan: You responded to my comment and maybe you struggle with math, but I paid over $2,000, more like $2,500, and am getting a 10% credit back. This is not $170 dollars we're talking about, which I would have no problem "donating", but this is about $2,250 that I won't be getting back. Will it bankrupt me? No, but is it right? Absolutely not.

Guest

If you’re paying $2500 for just one Spring season of travel soccer - you’re getting ripped off. My son plays in another local travel league that is very competitive with LS and our fees for one season are less than 1/2of that for one season.

Matthew

You must live a very unengaging life if you feel compelled to troll others about being ripped off from a soccer club Duncan.

Local citizen

What an insensitive comment........there are still people this county who need that money.....families who require school assistance, free and reduced lunch........families who have one or both parents jobs furloughed or let go to begin with.

Maybe you should keep your financial situation to yourself and be a little more compassionate for those that need it

scottva

Below is LSC's 2020/2021 season COVID refund/credit policy. They seem to be quite willing and generous AFTER the fact with the refund/credit policy. It's as if they had no idea COVID has already plagued our country and are banking on the fact that regular play will be on come the fall, but it certainly sounds fair. Absolutely insulting and absurd.

COVID-19 Refund/Credit Policy:

- If on-field training never begins because of COVID-19, 100% of fees will be refunded.

- If on-field training begins but the season is subsequently interrupted or canceled as a result of COVID-19, refunds or credits will be issued for the period of the interruption.

- All other refund requests will adhere to Loudoun Soccer's existing refund policies.

scottva

Not only did LSC NOT want to dip into their "reserve fund" as they outlined in an email sent earlier in May, but they also received PPP money. Travel is considerably more expensive but the same frustration applies. LSC demands A LOT from parents in the form of money and time and this is how they return the support? I get they have rent and other expenses and like LSC, so do we and we also have a "reserve fund" that is only used in emergencies, such as a pandemic.

Every organization and/or business I can think of has tried to ease burdens and make sacrifices for the good of their business and for the people that support them, many of which were laid off due to the pandemic, accept for LSC, zero compassion. How is the heck can LSC say that if a player does not return they will donate the money the family paid?

I don't expect a 100% refund but LSC's approach is absolutely shameful. They are thinking about Spring 2021 (which I understand the need to) and wanting parents to commit but they have completely glossed over Spring 2020 as if it never happened. The people running LSC need to be replaced because they have severely tarnished the reputation they once had. LSC has completely cast aside the very people that helped build them up. Greedy, disgraceful organization.

Guest

Will my family and I starve to death because LSC stole $170 from us? No, probably not.

Will I choose some other soccer club in the future for my boys (roughly 30 more years of collective playing time and dues) out of principle? Yes. Yes, I will.

Beefcake

^^^..I’m with you on that! Not quite 30 years of dues for me but however many it is, it will be elsewhere. I have kids in DLL and Apex and both handled this situation so much better

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