The goal for those who show up to 4845 List Drive for work each day is simple: Pack the “haus.”
SoccerHaus, located near the intersection of Centennial Boulevard and Garden of the Gods Road, has been open for a year now, and the facility (which offers more than just soccer) continues to add programs and partnerships to fill out its 48,000-square-foot space.
Retired Army Col. John Riding is majority owner and CEO of the operation, and his son, Brett, is chief operating officer. The concept for the multisport complex, according to Brett, came following a negative player experience at another indoor soccer facility.
“[Teammates and I] were sitting at Old Chicago afterward and drafted a concept of an ideal sports complex as it pertained to soccer,” Brett said. “My buddy was going to the [Colorado] School of Mines to become a civil engineer. He sort of designed the structure and the things we wanted inside, like our weight room and the Upper 90 Tavern restaurant up top so people weren’t drinking beer in the parking lot.
“Basically the idea came after a poorly called game that cost us a championship and a T-shirt. I was working on my graduate degree and thought it was a good concept to do a graduate business plan on. It transformed into 86 pages. I was denied by about 12 different banks but acquired some partners along the way to ensure we had proper collateral.
“Finally it moved forward, three years later.”
‘Take it inside’
Brett Riding has a deep history with the Beautiful Game. He graduated from high school in Virginia and moved to Colorado Springs to play at UCCS thanks to a scholarship. He would then leave the country to pursue a professional career in Italy. After two years abroad, he returned to Colorado Springs and earned the first of two graduate degrees in business from Colorado Christian University, where he developed the SoccerHaus concept.
“We wanted to be sure the idea was sustainable, and part of that was doing a feasibility analysis,” he said. “Could the demographic and population here support it? What do we need to build? What’s the average income around here?
“Those things played a big part, but it wasn’t hard to get community or partner buy-in because this is a soccer- and sports-oriented community. This felt like a missing component — a niche.”
The challenge was convincing lenders the community needed such a complex.
“For the banks, it’s a roll of the dice,” he said.
Brett said they earned some attention following the feasibility study, which showed strong community engagement in soccer.
“We looked at how many leagues there are — Pride, Rush, Corinthians — all these other sports clubs. But there was also interest because of our weather factor. You don’t know if there will be a blizzard from one day to the next or a torrential downpour or hail. It limits your ability to go outside and enjoy the sport.”
Brett said those leagues were losing quality training time because of limited outdoor options.
“Why not take it inside and utilize our fields?” he said.
The first year, Brett said, was a great success.
“We had a fantastic year,” he said. “It totally exceeded our expectations. But because we’re new and learning, there were some cost overruns, so now we can look at where to shave some labor or advertising costs. But the majority of our revenue has been generated from our league play, then it’s field rentals and then our restaurant. Those are the top three revenue drivers.”
‘YMCA meets Chuck E. Cheese’s’
SoccerHaus isn’t resting on the laurels of a successful first year and has plans to expand beyond its league football footprint. The business, for instance, now owns half of a startup professional indoor soccer team, the Colorado Inferno FC, which will begin its inaugural season in a brand-new league in December. The team will make SoccerHaus its home within the Major Arena Soccer League’s second tier and will play teams from around the state and country.
SoccerHaus has also partnered with personal fitness training company Man2Machine, as well as Mighty Kicks, a soccer development program for children started by former Switchbacks’ captain Luke Vercollone. The business also signed a franchise agreement with San Francisco-based Hi-Five Sports Clubs which, according to program director Jessica Dominguez, will introduce multisport classes and camps for kids.
“Our biggest focus right now is our day-off-school camps which will be, for instance, during teacher workdays,” Dominguez said, adding kids will be exposed to flag football, T-ball and other schoolyard games. The partnership with Hi-Five is a strategy to increase daytime business, when SoccerHaus experiences the greatest downtime.
“The best way to describe it is: YMCA meets Chuck E. Cheese’s,” Brett said. “It’s designed to teach kids the importance of sportsmanship. … When kids demonstrate attributes of good sportsmanship, they get coins. Once you build a certain amount of coins, you can buy a water bottle or Frisbee or puzzle.
“Before Hi-Five we didn’t have that engagement, curriculum or structure,” he said. “That’s part of building this culture of community and sports. We want positive energy — and there’s nothing more positive than a smiling kid.”
[su_box title=”SoccerHaus” box_color=”#005ac3″]Established: 2016
Location: 4845 List Drive
Contact: soccerhauscs.com; 719-761-7586[/su_box]