Huw Williams steps down from FCKC post

Dan Lauletta December 9, 2016 64
Huw Williams, right, stepped down after four seasons working closely with Vlatko Andonovski. (photo courtesy: FC Kansas City)

Huw Williams, right, stepped down after four seasons working closely with Vlatko Andonovski. (photo courtesy: FC Kansas City)

FC Kansas City general manager and assistant coach Huw Williams resigned from the club on Thursday. Williams assisted Vlatko Andonovski during the Blues’ inaugural season in 2013. He was promoted to general manager during the championship season of 2014. A native of Wales, Williams has been a Kansas City fixture since 1985 and owns the sports marketing and event company Global Sports International (GSI). It is GSI where Williams’s focus will go following four seasons with FC Kansas City and the Missouri Comets.

“I’ve loved being a part of this venture since the beginning,” Williams said of FC Kansas City in a team release. “I wish nothing but the best for Vlatko and the team and the NWSL. I have learned so much and made many lifelong friends in the past four years. I will miss being here every day, but I will be a Blues fan for life.”

Williams and Andonovski made a dynamic team and combined on developing the trail blazing style in NWSL that saw the club become the only one to qualify for the playoffs each of the first three seasons. The 2014 and 2015 seasons ended in championships. Williams also collaborated with Andonovski on a draft strategy that has seen FC Kansas City parlay several deep picks into quality players. Second round pick Erika Tymrak (11th overall) was 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year. The 2014 rookie class included Kassey Kallman (No. 5) and Jenna Richmond (No. 16). Both became regular starters on the 2014 championship side and Kallman was later used in a package to acquire Heather O’Reilly. In 2015, Shea Groom (No. 12) was a Rookie of the Year candidate before missing time with a broken foot.

“There are not words that can explain how thankful I am for everything that Huw did for this organization, team and especially for me personally,” Andonovski said. “He has been my mentor from day one and helped me grow as a coach throughout these four years. I’m sad that decided to go, but at the same time I’m happy for him and his new opportunity.”

The club has recently come under the microscope thanks to an internal lawsuit among owners. The club is also said to be for sale.

  • Steglitz49

    Best wishes for the future, Huw.

    One gets the impression that success on the field was not rewarded with higher attendances but that might be explained by the size of the where they played. Does anyone know?
    Or, was it just the usual that people pay lip service to WoSo but don’t bother to go along and watch?

    • Guesting

      Location is also a problem for them. They need to find someone with deep enough pockets that will buy the team and immediately move the team into the MLS Sporting KC stadium to play all their games. I believe they could draw at least what Houston draws, if not better, by doing that. Granted, based on the high rent, they would have to pay to play in a “state of the art” soccer facility, they would have to be strong enough financially, to absorb the loss while trying to build up their attendance.

      • Steglitz49

        The advantage with MLS-affiliation is that the “rent” for the stadium is carried by the men. In short , the men subsidize the ladies.

        There is no problem with that route for WoSo as long as the fans accept that it is not a stand alone viable sport. It is dependent on the men and fans of the men’s game.

        It is, of course, what has been happening in Europe over the past decade or so. Soon all the semi-finalists in the ladies Champions League will be the females of rich men’s clubs. This season they are 6 of 8, 75%.

        • guest

          The the Sporting KC MLS club (who would seem to be the most natural buyer for FCKC) has not expressed interest in buying FCKC. So as “guesting” suggested IF a buyer wanted to purchase FCKC and keep them in KC then they would have to pay rent to Sporting KC to use the Sporting KC venue

          • Steglitz49

            Might as well move the franchise.

          • Todd Palmer

            The Likens family destroyed all momentum the franchise built in year 1. The team averaged more fans at a run down HS football stadium that first year then they did last season at Swope soccer. Most businesses in Kansas City don’t want to work with the team because of the ownership issues now. And the constant turnover of front office staff hasn’t helped ticket sales either. You literally don’t see any advertising for the team in the city. It’s just been poorly ran the last few years.

          • mockmook

            So, they should have continued to endanger their players’ health by continuing to play on a decrepit artificial turf pitch?

          • USMNTfan4life

            Advertise with what money? The Portland Thorns are anomaly in WoSo.

          • Steglitz49

            WoSo is the archetypal middle-class sport. The middle-class wants someone else to pay and do the work. They put themselves first and not the group.

            Men’s soccer in Europe was a working-class sport. The working-class, like the aristocracy, understand the need of standing shoulder to shoulder, working together for a common good.

            Allegedly the FA Cup changed sport forever because at its inception it was open to all clubs, that is professional as well as amateur. This was at a time in sports when amateur was the rule and the FA went against this convention.

          • Steglitz49

            At the time of starting the NWSL, there was another WoSo club in KC that bid to be in but the NWSL leadership favored the FCKC outfit that got the deal. At the time, some saw this as a step in the wrong direction but success on the field silenced the criticism.

            Winning the Championship in 2014 should have generated buckets of free media exposure. Winning it back to back in 2015 even more. As far as I know, it didm’t.

            This is the experience of women’s team sports at club level the world over. Only when nationalism is involved as in the NT, is there some interest but still trivial compared to the men.

          • JL

            Thank the Likens for SKC not wanting anything to do with buying FCKC.

        • Guesting

          That is the reality of the situation, and the reason for my concern with all the independently owned teams. Like Kansas City, they lack the capital, and in some cases, access to large enough soccer specific facilities with all their amenities that really limits what they can do in growing their fan base. They are between a “rock and a hard spot” in what they can do. While having to rely on a slow growth process that is a financial burden for them and the league, especially when you are having to deal with the salary cap issue that is already taking it’s toll on players going overseas or opting to retire early.

          In the past, I have been positive about the direction the league was taking, but now I have my concerns. First, expansion via MLS clubs, is stalled, and may be predicated now on what Houston and Orlando are able to do in the upcoming season. The thought that the league would be entertaining the idea of taking anyone else, other then an MLS club in 2018, I feel would be risky business, especially with what is happening with Kansas City. I am disturbed they have not been sold at this point. I was expecting to see Kansas City sold as well as Sky Blue being sold and moved elsewhere, but that doesn’t look like either will happen before the start of the season. Year five for me is a big question mark??

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for your clarification. As I tried to do elsewhere in my calculation, KC’s stunning success on the field has not translated into success at the box office.

            This does not matter when your parent company is wealthy, like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Chelsea, Lyon, PSG, Man City, Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and the like.

            Why people are not prepared to go and watch women play soccer is an interesting question, not least in the US.

        • guest

          “the men subsidize the ladies.” Not true, they’re sharing expenses. Think of ride sharing where the women pitch in money for the gas. Wouldn’t the women be subsidizing the men in that case?

          • Steglitz49

            Last season Bayern Munich averaged 1375 at home but so far this season it 807, yet they acquired Fridolina Rolfö from Linköping to add to all their other players.

            Chelsea have just added Maren Mjelde and Ramona Bachman to their stable. In 2015 Man City averaged 1500 at home, which was the highest in the FAWSL1.

            Who is sharing what with whom?

          • USMNTfan4life

            LOL. No.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. It is this lack of realism that is holding WoSo back.

            Where is Slicey when we need her to explain the situation.

          • guest

            “lack of realism” You can’t even get your facts straight, much less deal with reality. You’re like the Nobel committee, a bunch of gibbering, senile, eurotard ex-hippies who think whatever they say is the truth when in fact they should mind their own business.

          • Steglitz49

            Which Nobel committee? There are several of them.

            The Nobel committee carries out the wishes of Alfred Nobel as in his will. Thank goodness for those nags. Whew!

            How the heck did Alfred Nobel get dragged into this conversation? Please explain.

          • guest

            Shut up. Nobody cares about your stupid award.

          • Steglitz49

            Most of the world does, but never mind?

            Which specific Nobel committee drew your ire?

          • Sorry, I’ve been busy watching American Football. 😉

            This will be long, bear with me.
            KC is a weird little community. We like things that are already popular. Sports here are generally popular, but that popularity hinges on things like success, atmosphere, what our friends and neighbors think is popular, etc.

            Here is my opinion: Our big sports draws are NFL and MLB. In the past, KC has also had Basketball, Hockey, Indoor Soccer, Tennis, MLS, etc. When people attend those games, and pay the same price as an MLB ticket to do so, but don’t get the same atmosphere they tend to feel cheated. Going to indoor soccer, hockey, etc feels more family oriented (read: cheesy) with much less ‘production value’ than when you go to NFL/MLB games.

            People don’t think about the fact that MLB/NFL have had decades and very deep pockets with which to build the atmosphere that exists today. All they know is what they are used to and what they want to see at every sporting event they attend.

            In the early days of MLS, Kansas City had a very successful team and everyone here liked Lamar Hunt who had done so much for football and soccer in the U.S. But we didn’t like going to the games so much. The atmosphere was nothing like NFL atmosphere. Enter the Sporting KC group, the rebranding, the new soccer stadium. Suddenly, MLS had the same atmosphere as the major sports in town. It caught on immediately. Tickets were easy to sell. Everyone wanted to go to the game. They stuck with it because the team was successful.

            Everyone thinks the success of FCKC should be enough to put butts in the seats. But we’re a little too spoiled in this town. We feel like we deserve a better show if we have to pay for it. This year we got a USL team that plays at the same field as FCKC. They made it to the Final. The attendance sucked up until the playoffs. Out of the 20,000 Sporting fans, only 1,000 came to Swope Park each week to watch the Rangers. You would think the men would draw better than the women, but the venue proved difficult to support for them, too.

            When the US Soccer Training Center is completed in Kansas City, my hope would be that FCKC moves there. I think that would raise attendance if the seating/atmosphere is better than at Swope Park. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/26f2a8e2c4b5c053bed36a469d689dacbe118365bff2f4fc080c89829f49cd89.jpg

            We also get decent news coverage here (compared to other NWSL teams), but it still isn’t enough. Most people in the city are still unaware that the team exists. Sporting KC was like a wildfire. Within two years it seemed EVERYBODY had heard of them and most people had even been to a game. The same can’t be said of FCKC. There isn’t the money, the plan, or the branding behind them for that sort of PR push. So, it will continue on its grassroots way, but probably won’t grow unless and until it moves venues again or makes a deal to rent Sporting Park for games.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you, Slicey, for taking the time to explain. Much obliged.

            It all sounds terribly familiar to us that love WoSo all around the globe. Worse, the media in reality have gated WoSo so no exposure that route.

            Sweden is a fine example. The media go on and on and on about the men’s WC-94 3rd place. Oddly enough, they don’t go back to the 1958 2nd place or the 1950 Rio 3rd place.

            Yet the Swedish ladies lost the 2003 WC final on a golden goal. They now, 2016, have an Olympic silver to go with that — played twice in the Maracana, not once but twice — and in WC-11 they got 3rd and had beaten the US. Does this register on the Richter scale? No way, Jose. At least on the Beaufort scale, maybe? Forget it.

            Now your team looks set for Minnesota. I thought that there was another group in KC who tried to get the franchise back in 2013. Can they be encouraged to bid again?

          • I don’t know who else was on the table in 2013. I didn’t think the Cerner (Sporting) group ever had any interest. Kansas City’s Lamar Hunt was instrumental in bringing soccer to U.S. consumers, founding MLS, NASL, and owning 3 MLS teams. I used to see him at indoor soccer games, too. His son, Clark, now owns the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team and FC Dallas. I don’t know that WoSo has ever been on their radar. The Hunts were always great owners and supporters, and goodness knows they have the pockets to own teams operating at a financial loss. I just don’t know that they’ve had any interest in another new league/team.

            I don’t know who is involved in all the youth soccer in KC, but we have a ton of it. I actually think that FCKC would be most successful if they moves back to Kansas. This youth soccer facility would be a great location for them if there was a was to fit 5,000+ seats anywhere around a field.

            https://youtu.be/i0pDEWDYAmk

          • Steglitz49

            Thanks again for clarifying. Hope KC gets something.

            Given how cheap it is to run a WoSo team, one would have thought that the queue would be out the door and across the river.

        • guest

          “The ‘rent’ for the stadium is carried by the men” Complete rubbish, Anyone who uses the stadium pays a fee. That’s not the same as “subsidizing” the women.

          • Steglitz49

            The men owning the stadium, pay rent to themselves. The women pay rent to the men. The stadium is an income-generating unit for the men.

            When the men own the women, the women pay rent to the men. It is no longer an income-generating unit to the men.

            Worse, if another outfit want to rent the stadium and are prepared to pay ore than the women can pull in, the men would be stupid not to rent to the higher payer and send the women to play in some cabbage patch.

          • guest

            “The men owning the stadium” Maybe in your fantasy world they do, but in reality, most MLS clubs don’t own the stadiums they play in, and they pay rent. But facts are never an obstacle for you, go on with your disquisition.

  • FawcettFan14

    More troublesome news out of Kansas City.

    How do you pronounce his name? “Hoo”?

    • Steglitz49

      Like “Hugh”, I presume.

    • JL

      It’s pronounced like Hugh.

      • Steglitz49

        3 days later … but thansk for taking the time

  • Steglitz49

    Any readers of the EQ interested in a job in women’s soccer management, here is a job:
    http://scotwomensfootball.com/we-are-recruiting-executive-officer/

  • Steve Pearson

    The team is viewed as a mess here in KC. Owners lawsuit is in the papers all the time and attendance is terrible for both FCKC & KC Comets. They had to move the 2nd game at Sporting Park last year back to Swope Soccer Village due to lack of interest in the team.

    • FawcettFan14

      What happened? They averaged a healthy number in NWSL year one. Did the novelty wear off? They were very good in 2014 and 2015. This year a bit boring due to a depleted front line, but…

      • Steglitz49

        Success on the filed as in winning first in 2014 and then again in 2015 was not translated into better attendance and higher income.

        Why that was so we need someone like Slicey, who lives in KC, to explain to us.

        KC has a population of 500,000 in the city and 2.2m in its metro-area. Half of those are female and if half are old and fit enough to go along to a match, then you have pools of 125k and 550k to draw from.
        — If each just went to one match then with 10 home games that makes 12,500 and 55,000 per match. KC got a total of 31,624 in 2016 an av of 3,162/match, a lot less.
        — Infact hardly anyone — that is <0.7% of the total city population and <0.15% of the metro — bothered.

      • mockmook

        They moved from SMDS (capacity ~ 6100) in 2013 to a couple of venues with ~ 3500 capacity in 2014-2016

        They have recovered to ~ 3100 average attendance (from a low of ~ 2000).

        The problem was that SMDS was a terrible artificial turf field (with Football lines) with a track that kept the crowd away from the field.

        Plus, they should be a much better team this year:

        Projected 2017 Draft:

        05 . FCKC — Mills ( D/M ) – USC
        13 . FCKC — Fletcher ( M ) – Cal
        17 . FCKC — Proffitt ( D/M ) – Marquette
        25 . FCKC — Hill ( F ) – UConn
        35 . FCKC — Watson ( GK ) – TTU

        And, they get A-Rod and Leroux back:

        http://drawformation.com/post/584ca1feec0c1/sm-584ca1feec0c1.png

  • Tom F

    a shame that EQ don’t want to cover the rest of the world, this might just be biggest crowd in woso history at the recent African championships in Camaroon
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mrl9fzJYk4

    • Steglitz49

      The EQ has lost it soul. 3-4 years ago, maybe even 2, it was the site for WoSo. Now I don’t know what it is. Not even US WoSo it seems and, as you note, totally lost the international angle.

      Bizarre. Do a WR!

    • guest

      Nigeria WNT who won the Africa Cup championship have not been paid by the Nigerian football federation. The Nigerian WNT is staging a protest (by refusing to leave hotel until paid by federation) trying to create enough public pressure to shame Nigeration federation into paying up (players are apparently owed about $19k each). The pay dispute is another reason that EQ should provide coverage.

      • mockmook

        To have leverage, shouldn’t they have staged a strike BEFORE the game?

        The Federation will probably just leave them at the hotel and wish them well.

      • guest2

        BBC Sport has published article(s) about Nigerian WNT situation
        from 9th Dec article
        “Nigeria’s women’s team say their are fighting for their rights as they continue a sit-in protest at a hotel in Abuja over outstanding payments.

        The Super Falcons have yet to receive allowances and bonuses for winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday 3 December.

        The Super Falcons clinched their eighth African title with a 1-0 win over hosts Cameroon and are unhappy that the Nigeria Football Federation has failed to pay them US$17,150 per player for their success.

        It is alleged the NFF had also pledged to pay outstanding allowances for qualifying and their win bonuses [US$6,500] before the start of the competition.

        On Friday, Nigeria and Arsenal forward Asisat Oshoala told BBC Sport: “This is a fight about the welfare of the team. It’s about the way the team has been handled over the years.

        “We are champions. We went out to fight for the nation even without being paid – not everything is about money but of course it is an issue.

        “We went to the tournament to play for our country and we won the trophy – it is our job and we make no excuses but are not made to feel like champions.”

        full article available on BBC site

        • mockmook

          Incredibly sad.

    • guest

      In related news, it appears the PRK v US U20 game was removed, no doubt at FIFA’s request. What does FIFA have to gain by spoiling our fun?

      • Karendjenkins

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj293d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        !mj293d:
        ➽➽
        ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash293TopDigitalGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj293d:….,….

  • HOFCToDi

    2016 MLS Attendance

    soccerstadiumdigest.com/2016-mls-attendance/

    • Steglitz49

      Which do you think are most likely? I can’t find any clarity in this list.

  • HOFCToDi

    WNBA sees record attendance, viewership in 2016

    swishappeal.com/2016/9/21/13004460/wnba-record-attendance-viewership-2016

    • Steglitz49

      The fascinating information is that Chicago WNBA match Portland’s WoSo. (culled from the 3rd para):

      This season, for 5 years, the WNBA registered the highest attendance at 1,561,530 and average attendance at 7,655; from last year that is a 4.6% increase.

      Chicago and the Indiana both lead the league in record-breaking numbers with records for average and single games. Chicago had an average attendance record of 7,009 and had 16,444 in attendance for their game against LA.

    • Gary Diver

      WNBA matches give good value for money. There are some great women basketball players who enjoy what they do and do it well. Hopefully the league will continue to grow in the next few years.

      • Steglitz49

        It is another of those domestic affairs where there is no need to compare with the world at large. It is also indoors, which no doubt helps.

        The real issue is that the Chicago ladies basket is ahead of their women’s soccer.

        • Gary Diver

          “The real issue is that the Chicago ladies basket is ahead of their women’s soccer.”

          We have kind of beat this to death over the past several months. The Red Stars attendance issue is a combination of lack of awareness by Chicagaons, lack of media coverage, lack of effective marketing, subway doesn’t go to the stadium, and other factors that other have brought up. I like the Red Stars and feel sad that Chicago doesn’t support them more than it does.

          • Steglitz49

            Excuses, excuses, excuses.

            Given how many people live in Chicago, their WNBA team is underperforming too.

      • HOFCToDi

        “The WNBA increased its advertising this season with numerous commercials and social media interacts to not only celebrate the historical 20th season, but support women in the professional field.”

        In that same time frame, two women’s professional soccer leagues have gone bankrupt.

        • Steglitz49

          How many millions have the brothers put into the sisters game over the two decades?

          Americans like to watch the best. That is why 25-30% of the NHL comes from outside North-America. Women’s basket is dominated by the US. Don’t need Giovanna Foreigner in thw WNBA. Instead American basket players go to Putin-land to make ends meet.

          After 1999 and till 2011 the USWNT did not play in a World Championship final and in 2011 they lost against a nation nobody had heard of. Hard to market in that up-hill environment.

          After the win in OG-12 it was possible to start the NWSL. The NWSL is hedged about by a number of restrictions the most significant has been that to play for the WNT you have to play in the NWSL (except for Abby), which has helped keep costs down.

  • HOFCToDi

    Sports Cable TV Ratings for Sunday, 27 Nov 2016
    MLS Playoffs
    Rapids/Sounders, ESPN – 295,000 viewers

    sportstvratings.com/nfl-countdown-nfl-insiders-guadalajara-america-liga-mx-top-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-sunday-november-27-2016/6961/

    • Steglitz49

      At least MLS registers on the Richter-scale while the NWSL don’t seem to make it even on the Beaufort-scale. Soccer is communism by the back door to may Americans. What that makes soccer mums heaven only knows.

  • Gary Diver

    Is the MLS Glass Half Full?

    For comparison, here are the 2015 and 2016 MLS attendance figures. It looks like overall 2016 was an exact repeat of 2015.

    http://soccerstadiumdigest.com/mls-attendance-2015/
    http://soccerstadiumdigest.com/2016-mls-attendance/

    But interestingly, MLS in Canada is rivalling the CFL as Canada’s fall sport.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/with-mls-numbers-rivalling-the-cfl-canadian-soccer-is-entering-a-new-era/article33057018/

    In the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship between Toronto and Montreal, over 4 million Canadians watched part of the match. Since Canada has 1/10 the population of the US, this the equivalent of 40 million Americans watching a MLS payoff match.

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2016/12/01/second-leg-eastern-conference-championship-smashes-mls-canadian-tv-mark

    Maybe there is hope for North American soccer.

    • Steglitz49

      The real issue is this: the worst / best & mean and median attendances based on clubs were:
      — 2015: 15,657 / 44,247 & 21,546 and 19,900
      — 2016: 14,094 / 42,636 & 21,692 and 20,065
      Thus, attendance is a bit skewed BUT it is pretty good attendance, well above that for the NWSL — and one wonders what the income would be?

      Another way to look at it is the 3 MLS-clubs in the NWSL Portland, Houston & Orlando:
      — 2015: 21,142; 20,658; 32,847
      — 2016: 21,144; 19,021; 31,324
      Stadiums: 22,000; 22,039; ?65,000?

    • HOFCToDi

      Sports Cable TV Ratings for Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016
      MLS Playoffs
      Toronto/Montreal, FS1 – 223,000 viewers

      sportstvratings.com/north-carolina-indiana-sportscenter-purdue-louisville-top-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-wednesday-november-30-2016/6982/

      • Steglitz49

        Why would Americans watch a match between two Canadian teams?

    • HOFCToDi

      TV Ratings Saturday

      tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-saturday-december-10-2016/

    • HOFCToDi

      “Maybe there is hope for North American soccer.”

      Huh?

      Sports Cable TV Ratings for Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016
      MLS Playoffs
      Toronto/Montreal, FS1 – 223,000 viewers

      sportstvratings.com/north-carolina-indiana-sportscenter-purdue-louisville-top-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-wednesday-november-30-2016/6982/

      Sports Cable TV Ratings for Sunday, 27 Nov 2016
      MLS Playoffs
      Rapids/Sounders, ESPN – 295,000 viewers

      sportstvratings.com/nfl-countdown-nfl-insiders-guadalajara-america-liga-mx-top-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-sunday-november-27-2016/6961/

      The NASL is on the verge of bankruptcy.

      Two women’s professional soccer leagues have filed for bankruptcy in this century alone.

  • HOFCToDi

    Women’s soccer league takes shape in Mexico with backing of Liga MX

    espn.com/blog/onenacion/post/_/id/6358/womens-soccer-league-takes-shape-in-mexico-with-backing-of-liga-mx

    “For now, we will not have foreign players,” said Enrique Bonilla, the league’s president. “Every team must have an under-23 team, as well as an under-17 category.”