We Got Soccer is Riding the Wave of Youth Team Sports in America

Expanding and reaching greater efficiencies with the SBA 504

by Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist

 

Mike O'ConnorSoccer in America is continuing to grow in popularity and becoming big business. 

Outside of the United States, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. As of May 2015, over 24.4 million people play soccer in the United States.[1]  The number of participants in U.S. high school soccer recorded an all-time high in the 2016/17 season, with over 800,000 boys and girls playing the sport across the country.[2]

Over 25 years ago as soccer’s popularity began, Michael O’Connor started working at Gotshalk’s – a 3rd generation department store based in New England.

Gotshalk’s landed the country’s first Nike account and added a sporting goods section, where Michael started working in the soccer department of the store.   As big box stores began establishing its sporting department business and evolving the retail climate – local department stores such as Gotshalk’s eventually began getting edged out.  It left O’Connor with a new opportunity that arose when the owner of the store gave him the chance to buy the soccer department business.
 

Business expected to double in 3 years
Today, We Got Soccer is forecasting that business will double in the next 3 years, due to increases in their fan gear and custom team gear business.

In order to meet the demand for this growth, O’Connor needed to move WGS into a larger facility to achieve greater efficiencies and upgrade the electrical capabilities of the operation. 

SBA loan programs have helped O’Connor throughout every growth phase of his business.  WGS first started out in a 5K sq. ft. facility in Bridgewater Center with support from SBA lender, SEED Corporation.

After outgrowing the facility in Bridgewater, WGS expanded to a 20k sq. ft. facility in Raynham in 2003; and then to its’ current location in Foxboro, MA which is 55k sq. ft. 

Recently with help from Eberto Ranero of Bay Colony CDC and Bank of America – WGS is utilizing the SBA 504 loan program to expand again and move from their Foxboro location to a new flagship 80k sq. ft. facility in Taunton to better streamline the warehouse and customization process.
 

Expanding into other team sports and geography
Starting out as a seasonal business in a cold weather region – it was a challenge to sustain consistent revenue since the sport is mostly played in the spring and fall seasons.  That’s why O’Connor kept expanding WGS into warmer climate markets where soccer is played year round and growing a fan gear segment through a new WeGotTeam.com platform to diversify the company’s business mix.

In order to implement the next phase of strategic growth for WGS, O’Connor is focused on achieving greater efficiencies by moving to the larger facility in Taunton and designing the warehouse to be able to streamline online and bulk team orders. 

By being able to purchase the new Taunton facility, O’Connor will now be able to focus on expanding into other team sports besides soccer for uniforms and expand their geographical reach across the country as the business continues to grow sustainably.

 


 

Participating Certified Development Companies

 

Bay Colony Development Corporation
230 Third Ave., 1st Fl.
Waltham, MA 02451
www.baycolony.org
781-891-3594
Service Area: Statewide

Coastal Community Capital
5 Shoot Flying Hill Rd.
Centerville, MA 02632
www.coastalcommunitycapital.org
508-790-2921
Service Area: Statewide
 
Granite State Development Corporation
One Cate St., Suite 3
Portsmouth, NH 03801
www.granitestatedev.com
603-436-0009
Service Area: Statewide
 
New England Certified Development Corporation
500 Edgewater Dr. Ste. 555
Wakefield, MA 01880
www.cdcnewengland.com
781-928-1100
Service Area: Statewide
 
Ocean State Business Development Authority
155 S. Main St., Ste. 301
Providence, RI 02903
www.osbda.com
401-454-4560
Service Areas: Bristol, Norfolk and Worcester counties.
 
South Eastern Economic Development Corporation
80 Dean St.
Taunton, MA 02780
www.seedcorp.com
508-822-1020
Service Area: Statewide
 
Worcester Business Development Corporation
89 Shrewsbury St., Ste. 300
Worcester, MA 01604
www.thewbdc.com
508-755-5734
Service Area: Statewide

Company Name: 
We Got Soccer
Location: 
Taunton, MA