Sioux Falls Thunder owner and general manager Daniel Haggerty joined the Atlanta-based soccer podcast Soccer Down Here on Monday afternoon. He spoke with the host during the 1v1 session about the Thunder's journey, the new changes, and the state of soccer in South Dakota.
Haggerty talked through his process of taking over the team, stating his excitement in the project and the progress. The hiring of head coach Ryan Beier was a high point in the management's set of early moves, and Haggerty gave praise to Beier's history of excellent coaching performance. Speaking on the growing rate of soccer in the state, Haggerty says that the "saturation is right up there," naming the growing number of clubs and soccer-related activities in South Dakota.
The general manager opened up about the Thunder's player strategy, saying "Our focus really is that college player or just post-college player who is looking to further their skills both for the college level and the potential to move up in the future." Off the pitch, he says, "But we also want those players to be representative of the community...to be part of the community of Sioux Falls in their commitment both on and off the field. The ideas are limitless as to how we can be involved in the local community as a club."
On his first-year goals, Haggerty says his focus is to dig in to the local community, such as partnering with local sponsors and helping with youth clubs. He also wants the Thunder to look for opportunities to help local organizations, such as continuing a Thunder tradition of food drives at certain games.
In terms of the NPSL Northern Conference, Haggerty says support from other teams has been remarkable. "I'm excited to garner some new, friendly rivalries. So far all contact...has been absolutely wonderful. I've had some great help."
Host Jon Nelson asked about what Haggerty would like to see happen with the club in five to ten years. "Certainly, I would like it to be a mainstay of the community," Haggerty said. "I want people to think that they've [always] been a part of the Sioux Falls community." He also had some development goals. "We're actually hoping to have a reserve team, a U23 team or younger to develop players at that level and bring them up to the first team."
And as for how he wants the Thunder to be viewed, "On the business side of things, for people to feel that we are a go-to organization that does want to volunteer and be a part of the community."
About Soccer Down Here:
"Welcome to Soccer Down Here, the soccer podcast and website that covers the world of soccer from our base in Atlanta, GA! Our podcasts are hosted at Spreaker. You can listen to the latest shows here on the homepage, or you can download the SDH app for iOS or Android."
Listen to the full episode: