About Challenger Pitch
Our team of pro coaches will provide you with on field training ideas as well as what changes a player can make off the field, to improve their game. There’s tips for players and for parents so everyone can help provide the best environment for success on the pitch!
Who is Challenger?
Challenger Sports and Teamwear is owned and operated by some of the most experienced soccer people in the country. Our team of full-time staff across the country now provides a comprehensive range of services and products. We understand that players, coaches, parents, and administrators all have different needs and priorities, and by listening to our customers through the years, we have created a TOTAL SOCCER company that caters to everyone involved in the game.
We are proud of having grown the game of soccer in North America for 30+ years, and here is a brief history of how we did it:
The History of Challenger
- Ron Matsch starts All American Indoor Sports in Lenexa, KS and begins running summer soccer camps staffed primarily by British coaches
- Alan Jones and Peter Arch begin working for British Soccer Camps as full time employees and begin to grow the number of campers attending programs
- Challenger Sports is formed with the aim of increasing the number of British Soccer campers (around 10,000 kids around that time) while offering complimentary soccer services. Paul Lawrence and Derek Shoare join the company in Kansas with Andy Bennett starting the first regional Challenger office in Atlanta, GA
- Camps begin to grow at a rapid pace with a 48% increase in the first year
- Challenger expands its summer camps to a 10 month ‘Academy’ program using British coaches from February through to November across the country as the number of regional offices begins to expand
- Using the apparel background and expertise of Mike Blumenthal, Challenger starts manufacturing its own line of soccer uniforms called Challenger Teamwear
- Challenger begins to run its own tournaments in Kansas City and takes its first group of children and parents on a soccer tour of Britain
- Challenger Camps have now grown to over 100,000 campers in the summer, plus running 8 tournaments in the Kansas City area. In addition, Challenger now works with hundreds of clubs across the country through its Academy and Tours programs. To help grow the Academy division, Challenger purchases TetraBrazil Camps utilizing Brazilian coaches to supplement the British coaches
- Challenger purchases a residential camper business called SoccerPlus. This company is run by Tony DiCicco who gained fame by leading the US Women’s national team to win the 1997 Women’s World Cup
- Challenger grows to 115,000 summer campers, 12 tournaments, over 200 club trainers in the Academy program, and 500 travelers on their international tours. Teamwear exceeds $10MM in sales and starts to distribute Under Armour
- Challenger launches a UK franchise division, led by Chris Sharman, that focuses on teaching young children (called TinyTykes) and goalkeepers (called GK Icon)
- Challenger grows the number of regional offices to 13 across the country, employing over 150 full time staff and 650 seasonal staff. The number of summer campers drops for the first time in 20 years as soccer clubs across the country begin to professionalise and run their own programs
- Challenger camps are rebranded as International Camps to reflect the growth of USA based coaches and the increasing difficulty of using foreign coaches due to visa restrictions. Apparel sales continue to grow and Challenger Teamwear begins to distribute Adidas products. Challenger UK begins to run International camps for Liverpool FC
- Challenger merges with a technology company out of Denver, Co called TopYa (which stands for ‘Talent Optimized Platform for Youth and Adults’), with the aim of creating a broad range of digital solutions to support the various Challenger programs
- Challenger Sports & Teamwear are significantly affected by the Coronavirus, resulting in a substantial decrease in company revenues and the number of employees. With the restrictions on international travel and children playing youth sports, the Challenger UK office and the Liverpool residential camps are closed down, Gk Icon is sold, and programs such as Challenger Tours have zero travelers
- Challenger begins to rebound from COVID-19 as sports programs begin to open up. Despite not being allowed to bring over any foreign coaches, summer camp numbers continue to make Challenger the most popular soccer camp in the USA
- Challenger launch Challenger Pitch, a site dedicated the global sports fans sharing insightful news, articles, quizzes, games and much more with the mission to unite the soccer community through the beautiful game.
What is the Challenger Pitch?
Challenger Pitch is a soccer enthusiast website created to continue achieving our original mission, to grow soccer in North America and provide the best programming for youth soccer players across the globe. Whether you are a player, a parent, or a coach, access the Challenger Pitch for player training and coaching tips, read our new soccer blog or buy soccer gear in our merch store!