Chicago Sting Supporters Trust (“CSST”) is working to bring an independently-owned North American Soccer League (NASL) club to Chicago known as Chicago Sting, the name used by the legendary Chicago soccer club that dissolved in 1984 along with the league itself. NASL reformed in 2011 and currently consists of thirteen independent clubs across the United States and Canada, as well as Puerto Rico.
NASL is aggressively expanding club by club, as it recognizes vast opportunities for growing professional soccer in North America. As an independent non-profit organization, CSST seeks to partner with supporters, private owner-investors, and NASL to bring back Chicago Sting, act as ambassadors for the club in its community, and promote the global game of soccer in the Chicagoland area.
A North American supporters trust, our platform is founded on a one member, one vote supporter ownership philosophy. Supporter ownership in professional and semi-professional soccer clubs exists in many forms throughout the world and is particularly common in the United Kingdom and Germany. Supporter ownership is catching on in the US as well (for example, Nashville FC, San Francisco City FC, and Sounders Community Trust). For more specific information about supporter ownership (in this case, in the UK) please visit Supporters Direct here.
Practically speaking, and given the cost of entering NASL and operating one of its clubs, as well as prohibitive United States Soccer Federation rules and regulations, we seek a supporter-owned minority share position at the outset. As time passes, CSST will facilitate opportunities for further supporter investment in the club through the sale of memberships and community share offerings. CSST will act as a fiduciary on behalf of its member-owners and proxy for its member-owners at the ownership table. Ultimately, to achieve and sustain a 50% + 1 ownership share of the club in the long run, CSST will work to lobby the United States Soccer Federation to revise its Professional League Standards to allow a supporter-owned entity to have a controlling interest in a Division II club.
Given NASL's business model, its place in the United States professional soccer landscape, and its long-term goals, we believe the league is uniquely positioned to help develop a supporter-owned club and would benefit from, among other things, the financial sustainability supporter ownership offers. Moreover, the return of Chicago Sting under this guise would bring national and international attention and support to the club.
We believe the return of the Sting, a legendary winning team beloved by Chicagoans, will be a cultural asset to the city and its environs. Initially, CSST’s activities will involve recruiting volunteers and members, fundraising, educating soccer fans about supporter ownership, and increasing awareness of the Sting’s return. We aim to work both independently and in concert with the club to build a network of active supporter-owners, at all contribution levels, who will work together to create and sustain a winning club Chicago can be proud of. We envision a true club that honors the past and, at the same time, aims to build a bright future in a proper, sustainable, and democratic manner.
As CSST grows, we intend to support youth soccer in Chicagoland through activities such as: providing uniforms, equipment, and volunteer coaching services to low-income local youth players, donating soccer books and supplies to low-income Chicagoland schools, and other philanthropic activities, as opportunities arise.
Currently, CSST is building its network and crafting its business plan. If you have any information to share on supporter ownership and/or are interested in receiving updates about our progress, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for our Mailing List to join our contacts, follow us on Twitter and like us on facebook
We believe Chicago wants its independent soccer club back. We believe Chicagoans want supporter ownership. Help us #BringTheSting back to Chicago and create a true club culture of sporting excellence, member democracy, transparency of club governance, and social responsibility. This is what we're working for. Join us. #Sting75