The J-Hawk Soccer Club during a recent practice in Urbandale. Photo courtesy of J-hawk soccer club
The J-Hawk Soccer Club during a recent practice in Urbandale. Photo courtesy of J-hawk soccer club

Call Matt Carver a disgruntled parent; he doesn’t mind.

In fact, you can say what you want, even take surreptitious photos of his J-Hawk Soccer Club team during a practice on Urbandale soccer fields. Say what you want, but in the process, talk about a system that, in his mind, seems focused on revenues and paying professional coaches to teach kids how to play soccer.

Carver is the father of soccer-playing daughters who bolted from the Urbandale Soccer Club after it teamed up with the Johnston Soccer Club to form a team of select players called the Johnston Urbandale Soccer Club.

One of the last straws came when the Urbandale Soccer Club board, of which Carver was a member, voted to approve a salary and benefit structure that he though was unnecessary.

The structure called for $317,000 in salaries, benefits, incentives and bonuses for camp instruction to be shared by the three organizations. The effect would be to have recreational soccer programs in Johnston and Urbandale pay $100,000 toward the total compensation package.

Carver argues that volunteer coaches could be just as effective.

Carver was a three-year all-conference soccer player for Urbandale High School and the co-captain and most valuable player of the school’s first undefeated team in 1990.

While in the military, he played for three years for a club team in Germany.

Little surprise, then, that he figures he can offer as much soccer expertise to young players as any professional coach pulling down a $70,000 salary.

He believes that youth soccer as a nonprofit enterprise has run amok.

The J-Hawk Soccer Club has been refused certification by the Iowa Soccer Association, the governing body for youth soccer in the state, and as a result, it cannot gain admission to the Greater Des Moines Junior Soccer League. The basic argument has been that there are enough soccer clubs, so why add another.

However, introduction of a new team certainly would take revenue away from clubs who rely on the income to pay professional coaches and travel across the country in pursuit of tournament victories and exposure for their programs.

So far as Carver is concerned, those clubs, with registration fees that range up to $1,400 for members of select teams, should operate as for-profit businesses. It’s fine with him if parents want to pay more than $1,000 per child for professional coaching instruction.

J-HAWK Soccer Club can cut individual registration fees by up to $30 for children ages 10 and younger and $20 for children age 12 and older by eliminating paid coaches, Carver said.

“The United States is the only country in the world that makes soccer such an expensive sport, where coaches are paid such extraordinary fees to coach children in the game of soccer,” Carver said.