San Bernardino approves lease agreement with Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club

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Photo courtesy/REV Soccer Boosters Redlands East Valley high school soccer player of the Jonathan Garcia and his coach Ted Small are active with the Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club. REV pictured after winning 2016 CIF-Division 3 soccer championship. (Photo courtesy/REV Soccer Boosters)

The City of San Bernardino approved a 10-year, $241,000 lease agreement with the Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club for use of the Blast Soccer Complex located in the city-owned Al Guhin Park. The facility faces the I-10 just below the Western Region Little League Headquarters. It is the third consecutive, 10-year agreement the city has entered with the surf soccer club.

Although the agreement began on March 1st, 2016 the first year’s payment of $25,000 is not due until June 30, 2017. Payments decrease by $1,000 per year through 2026. The agreement calls for the city to pay the water bill on the 14-acre soccer complex up to a specified amount. According to the agreement, the soccer club is allowed an unlimited amount of water in 2017 and in 2018 it can use up to 38,000 hundred cubic feet of water free of charge.

It is not uncommon for a youth soccer tournament lasting three days to gross revenues that go well into five figures. The three-day San Diego Surf Soccerloco Cup held in Del Mar is said to generate more that $600,000 with another $21 million spent in the local economy as a result of the tourney. The Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club is affiliated with teams in Utah, Hawaii, Orange, San Diego, and Riverside Counties. It was once considered one of 11 Nike Premier Clubs in the country.

Alex Aldasora is listed on a city staff report as the Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club contact. Its president is Bryan Young. The director of coaches is the renown Cle Kooiman, a former professional and member of the USA Men’s team. City officials said other soccer organizations were interested in the complex, but the city could not provide the names of any of those competitive bidders. New city manager Mark Scott did not return a call, neither did city spokesperson Monica Lagos.

The Surf should be able to cover the entire 10-year lease amount of $241,00 in short time. In one of its Festival Tournaments, 197 teams paid $300 each to enter. They gross additional funds through camps, academies, training courses, college events, donations and sponsorships. There are also registration fees that range from $260-$420 per player annually, serving players from U-19. Scholarships are available. The city’s agreement gives the soccer club the exclusive rights for use, including the sales of alcohol. Upon city approval, it can make capital improvements and deduct it from the rent. The new agreement mandates the field to be promoted as the San Bernardino Blast Soccer Complex.

A search of the IRS website could not locate an entity called the Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club, however its website lists its copyright as Platinum FC. A tax statement published by Charity Navigator says the Alliance FC of San Bernardino grossed $990,000 in 2014. Alliance FC is doing business as the Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club. On some financial documents it still promotes the San Bernardino Soccer Complex as the Platinum Soccer Park.

The lease agreement was authorized by former City Manager Bill Manis just before he left office. The city manger’s office is to receive the annual payments through the city’s parks, recreation and community services department. Past lease agreements have been conducted through the mayor’s office. According to a city budget report dated March 21, expenditures and appropriations for the first quarter have exceeded $1 million for the care of San Bernardino city parks. Its agreement with surf soccer states the club will provide all maintenance. On its website, the Surf states it allows free over night RV parking at the soccer facility.

Inland Empire Surf officials require each of its many teams to operate under an approved budget. The Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club business model appears structured like a traditional corporation complete with mergers, contracts, and franchises. When reached for comment Inland Empire Surf Soccer Club President Bryan Young explained the IE soccer franchise is part of the largest youth soccer organization in the nation.

Young said IE Surf offers a number of benefits to the city including providing a positive environment for education and athletics. He said 35 of their older players are currently committed to four-year colleges. Young said under the lease his group can sub lease the six fields at the San Bernardino Blast Soccer Complex, however alcohol would not be sold at youth tournaments.

Young said there are preliminary plans to host a national championship youth qualifier soccer tournament in San Bernardino that could attract about 200 teams and about 50,000 people who could possibly generate between $8-$10 million to the regional economy. He said it would require the simultaneous use of the San Bernardino Soccer Complex just north of San Gorgonio High School.

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