by Shelly Clark

Although I am proud of the progress the Ambush organization has made in the past year, I am by no means satisfied with where we are today. Our goal for this past season was to put together a solid foundation for the organization as a whole and I believe we have achieved that goal. Going forward, we intend to build on that foundation. 

I believe there are two ways to build a successful business and team.  One way is to take the short road and “buy” your way to the top.  To me, this option is not sustainable.  

The second is to build a successful club step by step.  By making small, strong and solid foundational decisions that lead to building a successful organization, we are creating a sustainable plan for long term success. Our business plan is to be here for the long haul, not to be a memory of what could have been. 

We created a different style of play this past season under the direction of a new coaching staff, and we were able to implement new strategies in the evolving game of professional arena soccer.  We improved as a team from the prior season and while it didn’t equate to the winning season we had hoped for, it shows that we are competitive and are on the right track.

We’ve been able to continue to provide affordable family friendly entertainment.  We’ve successfully created and executed an exciting game for all Ambush fans, from pizza deliveries and trivia to entertaining halftime shows.  Our staff, interns and volunteers did an amazing job this year as evidenced by the 2,605 fan average that attended each game. 

Behind the scenes, we’ve been able to achieve internal stability.  From my perspective, we have successfully created a family environment within our organization, both on and off the field.  There is a different mindset that comes from being a part of a family.  Some of the players that joined us this season, who came here from other parts of the country and the world, have decided to make St Louis their homes.  They now live and work here.  They are a part of our community.  They believe in what we are doing and building and want to be a part of it.  To me, that’s very important to the stability of our organization.  

We continue to have amazing support from our fans.  You show up at player meet and greets, stay after the games to get autographs, and even cheer “Thank you Ambush” at the end of the games (shout-out to the #OneOFive).  You ring your cow bells, wear your teal, and continue to believe in the players.  You continue to show up.  In case you’ve never been told – thank you for coming.  Thank you for caring.  Thank you for supporting us.  Thank you for being a part of our Ambush family.

The most rewarding part of the entire season for me occurred in a game that we lost.  As the players were feeling defeated, discouraged, and even ashamed – they took the field to sign autographs.  That night, in particular, I was worried about our goalie, Paulo, as he had taken the loss as his fault.  I could see the disappointment in his eyes and on his face.  As I watched him take the field, kids swarmed him from all sides – everyone wanting his autograph and wanting photos with him.  I could see the shock on his face, the disbelief. He looked over at me and smiled.  It was in that single moment I was reminded of why I do this.  In that moment, winning wasn’t what was important.  What was important was that he played the game and gave it his all.  And those kids knew it and looked up to him for it.  Ambush players provide role models to the youth in our community.  They encourage kids to keep playing, no matter the outcome, and to never give up.   

As we continue to look forward to next season, we have many areas to focus on and improve upon.  During this off-season, we will continue to build on that foundation I mentioned, so that come December we are ready to face the challenge.  We’ll work to recruit players who are not only talented, but who also have integrity.  We’ll continue to partner with businesses that are looking to invest in the community that we live in.  We’ll continue to build internally to provide the fans with the ultimate fan experience in arena soccer.

The Ambush ownership and I are thankful for the opportunity to continue to earn your support.  Thank you for being a part of our Ambush family.