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1868 FC’s Evolution Accelerating Quickly

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/04/16, 1:41PM EDT


Club set to unveil colors on Saturday ahead of first games at Greater Nevada Field

Photo courtesy Reno 1868 FC

Given his position, and the success he’s had in baseball, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of Reno 1868 FC President Eric Edelstein’s favorite books is Jim Collins’ bestseller “Good to Great.”

“They talk about the flywheel, and the first few pulls on the flywheel are slow, but the more you pull on the flywheel the faster it goes,” Edelstein said this week. “I feel like we’re moving at a really fast pace now, and people are really excited. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made.”

Since the official unveiling of the club last September, and even before, Edelstein and his staff have been building momentum for the club as it gets set for the 2017 USL season. After the official announcement of the club’s name in March, this Saturday night the team’s colors will be unveiled at Arroyo Mexican Grill, with a watch party for the MLS game between Seattle Sounders FC and the San Jose Earthquakes also part of the event.

As with the team’s name, which was selected via a fan vote, the input of the community has been vitally important in the decision-making process for the team on its colors, and the overall direction of the club.

“That’s probably been what’s most gratifying about everything we’ve done so far,” Edelstein said. “We’ve brought none of our own internal thoughts, ideas and biases into this. Everything has been 100 percent organic by sharing and asking the opinion of our community, our fans, our leadership and gathering all that feedback. Fortunately, it’s allowed for what we think is going to be a pretty universally enjoyed identity.”

As Edelstein and his team build the team’s foundation off the field, Greater Nevada Field will get to see its first action later this month when Sacramento Republic FC hosts Liverpool FC’s U21s in an international exhibition on Wednesday, May 25. The game will mark the first time a team from an English Premier League club will visit the state of Nevada, and Edelstein has been thrilled by the reaction to the game’s announcement last week. 

“It is so incredibly exciting,” he said. “The response has been great, the ticket sales initially have been great, and I think Reno is ready to put itself on the world map. I really believe this event will be the first domino in showing how ready we are.”

The second domino will arrive on June 11 when Reno will host the USL regular season contest between Real Monarchs SLC and Sacramento Republic FC. With an important three points on the line, Edelstein is viewing that contest as a chance for his team to learn, and apply its experience to Reno 1868 FC’s home games next spring.  

Photo courtesy Reno 1868 FC

“I think it’s like a dry run, a practice run for all of us to really understand what the USL is all about, maybe even more so than the Liverpool game, which I think is going to zoom by us and really be a blur,” Edelstein said. “I’m looking forward to that June 11 game as a test and a testament to our community, and how they want to support the USL.”

If anyone’s as ready for live action to arrive as Edelstein, it may be the club’s supporters group. The Battle Born Brigade is planning on providing a festive atmosphere at both games.

“I know our supporters club is very excited to demonstrate that they’re going to be here en masse and have our 1868 chants ready to go and represent as though we were playing,” Edelstein said.

With 10 months to go before Reno 1868 FC takes to the field, Edelstein has a firm road map in place between now and the club’s first anniversary on September 16. The process of hiring a General Manager for the club is underway, with a coaching appointment to follow.

Just like the flywheel in Collins’ book, things are definitely accelerating quickly for Reno as it looks to become the next USL expansion success story.

“When we get to September, I’m going to be looking at a general manager and a head coach absolutely in place, tryout camps, if not already being held, will be set in the very near future,” Edelstein said. “We’re going to have a kit with a kit partner on it. We’re going to have a full array of key merchandise available, and we are going to look as close to an existing USL franchise as anybody else. I expect us to be fully built and operating as successfully and as efficiently as anybody in the league by then.”

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