If you missed part 1 of our interview with North County Battalion co-owner Jason Gerlach, you can find it here. If you are ready for more, you’re in luck. In part 2 of the latest Soccer Nation Sitdown, Gerlach shares his thoughts on the National Premier Soccer League, and the rapid growth of club soccer entities in America.
We also get to know his family a little more, and learn why Gerlach has so much passion and respect for San Diego Surf Soccer Club. Ryan Guy (the local fan favorite, graduate of University of San Diego, former MLS and League of Ireland midfielder, and of course the head-coach of the Battalion’s maiden voyage and coach of multiple Surf teams) is discussed with great admiration.
Though an incredibly busy man, married, raising two children, and running a successful financial institution in Sunrise Capital, Gerlach is always working toward the immediate and long-term growth of NC Battalion.
Soccer Nation: What are your thoughts on the NPSL? Your club had quite the inaugural campaign. What would you like to see come the 2017 Spring Season?
Jason Gerlach: The NPSL is fantastic. It’s a highly spirited, highly entrepreneurial league that’s all about growing the game of soccer and providing local communities with teams to root for and connect with in a very intimate way. No billionaire owners, no prima donna players… just hungry individuals giving everything they have back to the game of soccer, with great fans celebrating that effort week in and week out. What could be better?
Soccer Nation: What are your thoughts on the American soccer pyramid, and the current state of professional club soccer in this country?
Jason Gerlach: Right now it feels confusing, overcrowded, and frankly, ripe for some consolidation. On the one hand it’s very exciting that so many leagues and teams have launched across the country over the last decade. On the other hand, while soccer is more popular than ever here in the U.S., I doubt that all of these soccer “start-ups” can and will survive.
The good thing is that equilibrium almost always prevails in business and I do not think soccer will be an exception. Over the next decade, I have little doubt that we’ll see a proper three (possibly four) tier pro/rel style soccer system emerge here that will reward the clubs that are run the best and weed out the clubs that are run poorly. And there will be plenty of teams around the country for communities of all sizes to rally around.
Soccer Nation: You and your wife Alison are a fierce combo of financial savvy. What is that like, being married to a partner with similar business knowledge and devotion?
Jason Gerlach: My wife Alison is, like me, focused, driven and passionate about anything she gets involved in. This has made for an excellent partnership of mutual respect and has allowed each of us to achieve many things that individually, we may not have been able to accomplish. Intensity and a desire to achieve at the highest levels is a character trait that is often not appreciated or understood but in our household, it’s a mutually shared value.
Soccer Nation: Your son Daniel plays for San Diego Surf Soccer Club. You are a huge supporter of the club at all levels. What is it about Surf that you love so much? What makes Surf different from the vast array of youth soccer clubs in the San Diego area?
Jason Gerlach: Surf is a very well run youth soccer organization filled with outstanding staff and coaches who care about the kids they serve and coach and the families from which those kids come. That was obvious to me from the day Daniel joined the club. To me, the benefits the players at Surf get from being part of something bigger than themselves and from working toward excellence are invaluable.
Surf understands this innately and as a result Surf has generated an almost unparalleled track record of championships and high-achieving male and female players over its nearly four decade year history. Surf kids not only learn the game of soccer but they learn critical life skills such as teamwork, leadership, humility, discipline and much, much more. For this reason it has been my honor to have my son play for Surf and for me to support Surf in any way that I can.
Soccer Nation: What are your thoughts on Ryan Guy? It must be strange (in the best of ways) to have the man coaching (and playing for) the Battalion also be the man who’s coaching your son at the youth level.
Jason Gerlach: What’s not to like about Ryan Guy? He’s an incredibly accomplished soccer player and coach, a great family man, an entrepreneur, and a driven, goal-oriented professional who adds value to society in many different realms. It’s been a privilege having him as part of the NC Battalion family since our inception and it’s an honor to have my son coached by him at Surf. I’ve learned a lot by observing him in action on the field and off and I’m hopeful many of his traits and values will rub off on my son.
Soccer Nation: What does the future hold for NC Battalion?
Jason Gerlach: Great things. We’re continually trying to improve the team in any way we can be it on the soccer side of the business side. As is the case with everything I do, I’m never satisfied and always in search of excellence when it comes to NC Battalion. Our goal is simple: bring an outdoor soccer championship to San Diego and do so in a way that is fan-friendly and cultivating of an outstanding community culture.
Soccer Nation: Any last words to the soccer community of San Diego?
Jason Gerlach: Thank you for embracing NC Battalion as strongly and swiftly as you have! We appreciate everything you’ve done for NC Battalion and will continue to do everything we can to deliver you championship soccer. NC Battalion is your team!