eseo e logo red
Announcement! We've partnered with Run The Day to help boost the Philadelphia running community.
- Read the Press Release -

how to start a sports club

tips for starting a sports club in your area, whether organized or just for fun.

Get involved with new and existing sports clubs in the Philly area! Download the eseo app today: every sport for everyone.

If you love spots and have a few leadership qualities to represent, you might consider starting a sports club. There are many types of sports clubs, from recreational leagues to full-blown business organizations that spread the love of a sport across the globe.

Whether you’re ready to facilitate an athletic club now or simply dreaming of potential opportunities in the future, read on. Here are some basic steps you need to know on how to start a sports club. 

1. Get Clear About Your Community

First things first: determine what—and who—your sports club will support. Are you starting a formal, competitive club whose goal is to make it to the championships? Or is this going to be a fun, casual sports club for beginner and intermediate athletes? 

Unless you’re clear on what type of sports club community you want to create, you risk leaving it up to chance. Some sports club organizers even start with a specific community mission, such as making soccer accessible to women or raising money for a good cause.

2. Decide the Club’s Level of Performance

There are varying levels of performance and legality to consider when forming a club. For example, if you want to form a legitimate sports organization, there’s a lot of paperwork involved. Contact your state and county officials to learn what’s required.

Should you set up an incorporated sports club? That depends. Incorporating your club makes it operate as a legal entity and separates you from potential liability issues.

An incorporated sports club allows the sports club to legally:

  • Borrow money (grants, loans, etc.)
  • Fundraise
  • Lease venues or workout spaces
  • Enter contracts with other leagues and teams
  • Avoid responsibility for the actions of other club members 
  • And more

If you plan on keeping your club small and it eventually grows, you can consider incorporating it later on. There are even tax laws associated with social sports clubs, so look into it!

eseo + Run The Day

3. Create Club Values and Rules

Once you know your community goals and your club’s level of performance (and legal requirements, if necessary), you have to create some core values and club rules. 

The club’s mission and values set the foundation of how members will communicate, conduct themselves, resolve conflict, and play the game. When you create a rulebook, keep it simple but include enough guidelines that leave no room for confusion.

Here are some things to consider putting in the rulebook:

  • Dresscode 
  • Payment deadlines
  • Member qualifications 
  • Expulsion terms 
  • Transportation requirements
  • Game rules and definitions 
  • Local park laws 
  • Parking guidelines
  • Zero tolerance clause (drugs, harassment, etc.)

If you need help drafting an accurate rulebook for your club, consider hiring a local sports attorney for guidance.

4. Get a Coach

Every sports club needs a good coach. You might be competent enough to lead the team and organize the club if it’s a small, recreational league. But if you want to take the club county-wide or national, it’s smarter to obtain all the support you can get.

If you need a coach, ask your local sports community if they know of anyone fit for the role! Make sure the coach is committed, available, excited about the sport, and skilled at the game.

5. Have an Administrator

A club administrator or organizer is responsible for the schedule, member contacts, club budget, travel plans, event networking efforts, assistant tasks, and more. It’s helpful to have a designated administrator to oversee all the moving details that go into making the club functional and enjoyable for all. 

6. Develop a Budget 

In most cases, it costs money to run a sports club. Unless you’re starting a running club where everyone is responsible for themselves, there are some things either you or your players will have to pay for.

To make a budget, write a list of all the financial items you can think of:

  • Expenses
  • Projected revenue
  • Venue rentals
  • Sports equipment 
  • Club uniforms and shoes
  • First-aid supplies
  • Transportation costs
  • Snacks and sports drinks
  • Office supplies (clipboard, pens, etc.)
  • Training equipment (weights, fitness bands, etc.)
  • Prizes or trophies 
  • Tournament registration fees 

When you have an expected budget, it’s up to you whether you want players to pay for themselves or fundraise the costs of your club. Usually, members pay a fee to join, which reimburses the organizer for these expenses. 

7. Build a Team 

Who will be part of your sports club? Get people to sign up and start keeping track of a team roster. Since you start with a plan from the beginning on what type of community you want to build, you likely already have connections with locations where you can promote your club.

And don’t forget the fun part of building a team: deciding on a club name!

8. Secure a Venue

If your club requires a court, like volleyball or basketball, secure an indoor venue your team can meet to practice. For field sports like football, soccer, or baseball, find a field to rent at designated times. 

Avoid settling for first come first serve courts or fields, as this can throw off your whole club. People want to show up and play. For everyone’s benefit, have a plan and stay organized. 

9. Establish a Club Schedule

Everyone on your team has a life. Be courteous of people’s time—set up a schedule for practices, open play, games, and tournaments. Print out copies for everyone or share a digital spreadsheet you can easily update with cancellations, announcements, and changes of location that might occur.

10. Plan for the Future

Whether you’re starting out on the formal side of things or you want to one day take your sports club to the next level, envision the goal of your club. 

What services will the club provide (for example, practice, training, and hosting games)? What benefits do members receive from joining the club? Is there a skill level your club will aspire toward (professional, hobbyist, or beginner)? Will there be special social events for your club to look forward to?

Consider all the accomplishments and social aspects your club could achieve. 

Bonus: Connect With Other Sports Club Leaders

One awesome way to learn how to start sports clubs is to connect with someone who has already done it! If you’re in the Philadelphia sports community, find local sports enthusiasts to talk to via the eseo sports app

With eseo, you can locate upcoming events, create a new club, and join a community that’s passionate about athletics. (If you can move, you’re an athlete!)

eseo search icon
tips for starting a sports club in your area, whether organized or just for fun.