St. Louis Ambush closed the tumultuous 2016-17 season Sunday, February 26, 2017, with a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Blast at St. Charles Family Arena, culminated the first phase of the club’s three-part rebuild, and pivoted hard with sweeping internal changes focused on building a winning team in 2017-18 and beyond.
Ambush ownership, led by Shelly and Will Clark, made no excuses for the woeful season, holding themselves accountable for the club’s win-loss record while expressing sincere gratitude to all Ambush fans who stood strong with the club through each of the team’s nineteen (19) losses.
“We got through it. And we never would have without the passionate and dedicated fans who faithfully came to the Family Arena this past season,” said Shelly Clark.
“But 1-19 record is not acceptable. And starting right now, together with the fans, St. Louis Ambush closes this phase and begins the next one anew — focused on rebuilding and climbing to the top of MASL.”
The Clarks, along with the team’s minority owners, Tony Glavin and Dr. Beth Perez, expressed a clear commitment to turning the franchise into serious contenders for the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) championships.
“We knew, as a new ownership group, how tough of a challenge it was going to be coming into our first season,” Head Coach Tony Glavin stated. “Our next step is hard work in the off season to correct and build on our first year.”
St. Louis Ambush’s ownership issued a mea culpa — a manifesto of sorts for the fans — on the team’s website and Facebook page, accepting blame for the team’s meager winning percentage. The statement offered explanations for the poor season, but in true Clark Family fashion, claimed no excuses.
The manifesto also laid out the offseason’s month-by-month timeline for reenergizing the Ambush, and building the team’s foundation for incremental but sustained success. “I hold us accountable. All of ownership holds ourselves accountable,” Shelly Clark announced. “But instead of making excuses we’re putting our heads down and getting right to work.”
Throughout March, Ambush ownership and front office staff will hold a series of fan forums where supporters can speak openly about issues in need of correction and offer ideas to build for the future. These forums are a small but critical first step to providing a pipeline between the fanbase and team decision-makers, because the Clarks know the success of the Ambush is a “WE” effort.
According to club plans, in addition to the fan forums Ambush will:
- Incorporate feedback from the fan forums into strategic planning in April;
- Commence the club’s rebrand to launch a reimagined team image in April/May;
- Redesign, select and unveil new team kits in May/June;
- Host the MASL ownership meetings in St. Charles, Mo. June 15 – June 16; and,
- Hold team tryouts, implement a revamped scouting process, and participate in a series of exhibitions with local professional and amateur clubs throughout Summer 2017.
The franchise will actively recruit on-field talent and new personnel with the aim of injecting energy and alternate viewpoints into the club. In short: Ambush ownership will be very busy this offseason preparing for a much improved 2017-18 MASL season.
“Acquiring the club six weeks before the 2016-17 season has been a challenge,” said Co-Owner Dr. Beth Perez. “Together with the fans, there isn’t a group that will outwork the Ambush this offseason.”