AFC Mobile’s promotional video, attached to the GoFundMe page, asks three questions: Why not us? Why not now? Why not Mobile?
I ask another one; why do you need a millionaire to fund a soccer club?
I was initially drawn to the AFC Mobile project because of my years-long internet friendship with Abram Chamberlain but I donated money to the cause because of the down-to-earth principles that guide the club. The co-founders of AFC Mobile are products of their environment, even if they may be transplants and not born-and-raised Mobilians or Alabamans. They’ve played soccer in the area and have firsthand knowledge of both the overlooked player pool and the underserved fanbase therein.
Beyond simply being well-versed in their surroundings, the directors of AFC Mobile are realistic. They aren’t pushing for an MLS expansion bid or taking sides in the still-simmering lower division soccer wars. The project aims to provide fans with an outlet for their passion and players with a platform to get noticed, both of which are noble endeavors worthy of support.
While the club is rather adept at social media, it is not simply a twitter account @-ing soccer leagues or hounding those who cover the sport. Abram and his fellow co-founders have taken the logical next step that so many seem unwilling to. Instead of merely observing the soccer landscape from afar and lamenting their plight from the comfort of living rooms or home offices, they have abandoned their impressive scarf wall collections and (momentarily) logged off twitter in order to step outside and create something meaningful in their communities.
This is not to say that you should forego your next donation to a local foodbank or to Oxfam, but rather instead of buying that next EPL jersey for yourself, consider chipping in to help this grassroots soccer project get off the ground. Surely, whether ultimately successful in all facets or not, AFC Mobile will be transparent about the process and helpful in case your mind is now abuzz with future possibilities for soccer projects in your neck of the woods.
Please consider a donation to help AFC Mobile as the club offer ssomething valuable to soccer fans and soccer players in southwest Alabama. Ten or twenty dollars will certainly go farther in their hands than it would in mine the next time I’m ordering a pizza online at 11:30PM.
They’re not asking for $100m entry fee to MLS or $4m to USL or even $10k to join NPSL. Instead they’ve agreed to join the Gulf Coast Premier League, which published the following paragraphs when announcing AFC Mobile’s addition to the regional league on January 3:
AFC Mobile was founded in 2015 by a group of soccer fans who felt that Mobile, Alabama had the talent and resources to compete at a higher level. This group has spent the past few years working to promote the South Alabama Soccer Association, Mobile’s local amateur adult recreation league, as well as volunteering and sponsoring teams in the city’s youth leagues. The club has garnered interest from the National Premier Soccer League, but instead chose the GCPL believing it was a better model for them.
“We believe in local soccer,” said Mitchell Kahalley the Communication Director for AFC Mobile, “[and] it doesn’t get more local than the GCPL. Being a part of a league like this allows for the soccer community along the coast to connect and continue to grow. We want to have something that the city can rally around and be proud of. There are many ways people consume and participate in soccer in the area. Hopefully, AFC Mobile can act as a focal point and connect those various strands of the soccer community together, and give Mobile’s large pool of players a chance to be seen and hopefully take their game to the highest level possible.”
Rather than paying money to a league office in another part of the country, AFC Mobile is truly investing in soccer in their community and any donations they receive will be directed to that end.
Again, I implore all of you who care about soccer. community engagement, or snarky folks like Abram who occasionally talk about soccer, to please donate to and widely share AFC Mobile’s supporter-funded, grassroots project by following this link.