In many places, clubs and associations are using values to communicate their identity both internally and externally. Well-defined values are intended to guide the actions, decisions, and behavior of coaches and experts on and off the pitch. However, transferring these values from paper to the pitch or to the trainers’ and experts’ halls is not always successful. So what role are values playing in the everyday lives of individuals?
A club or association relies on the people who work or play for it. Each of them provides individual values and a different awareness of values. A player in the club’s youth team deals with the concept of values differently than the Director Sport or the Head of the Youth Academy. In addition, the geographical location of the club also plays a key role in determining what the club can represent. The joint formulation and implementation of shared values is therefore a complex process that will remain unfinished. As an example of deriving values from a regional context, St. Louis City SC can be:
The club, recently founded in 2020, emphasizes its regional connection as well as the history of soccer in the city to establish a large part of its identity:
We are East of the River and West of I-270. We are Old North and South County. St. Charles and St. Ann. Belleville and Oakville. We are the heart of a vibrant midtown and the soul of dozens of historic downtowns. Our club represents every street, neighborhood and community in the region, standing up for one another. We are the collective spirit of generations old and young, doers and makers, always looking forward – together. We are America’s First Soccer Capital and we tenaciously embrace our future. This is our club. This is our home. This is our CITY.
Although St. Louis City SC will not start playing in the MLS until 2023, essential elements of the formulated identity and values can already be recognized in the project. One building block that immediately catches the eye against this backdrop is the sports infrastructure. In contrast to what is now common practice in numerous places, the club will not place the playing facility and the training center for the professionals and the youngsters outside the city, but directly in downtown St. Louis. A club that is supposed to represent the city and be a part of it must have its home in the heart of the city – that was the wish of those in charge:
Designing sports infrastructure, especially in the conceptual development of the training center for professionals and youth players, the St. Louis community was always in the spotlight. Together with BPTC, it was considered which players will exercise in the facility and what would be needed to develop their talents in the best possible way. The facility was designed according to the workflow of developing talents on a daily basis. The defined values and identity of the Club are thus reflected in its sports infrastructure.