The Beyond FC collective is comprised of a myriad of eclectic people endeavouring to push the club forward. Simon Czaplinski brings not only his collegiate soccer experience but also his entrepreneurial mind to a club in want of progression.
- Age: 33
- Position: Striker
- Team: Beyond F.C.
Tell me about your college playing days.
I played on scholarship for a local community college name Kishwaukee in Illinois. Where I grew up, prior to college we didn't have soccer until my sophomore year of high school. So needless to say in my area soccer wasn't one of the priority sports. I honed my skills playing in the nine scholastic traveling Spanish leagues with the older adults. My college soccer experience was similar in the sense that the program was relatively basic in it's organization and skill level. So I wasn't exposed to higher-level tactics and trainings until much later in my life. Instead I learn to play instinctively and intuitively and pick up leagues and traveling teams.
How do the practices and culture of BFC differ from that of your collegiate career?
The practices are similar in that there's a consistent structure, but the culture of BFC is much stronger and better pronounced than that of my college team. I feel a strong come robbery with most of the guys in the club and there seems to be an overall sense of willingness, participation, friendship, and a lot of passion being poured into the club from all the members. For a club where only some of the guys used to go to school together, where the majority have only known each other 1-2 years, we've very quickly adapted to and embraced each other as brothers.
What is your experience as an entrepreneur and innovator?
I've been making things my whole life. My parents are artists so I was raised in a very creative environment. In 2012 I started a software company, Odin's Hammer, and went on to build several mobile app games. After my experiences in that world I decided to start TRKR, a company focused on building better athletes through performance tracking technology. I'm now building a camera system that tracks and follows the ball and all players on the field and auto edits cinematic game highlights along with performance analysis data.
How does Beyond Football Club operate as a club more so than other 'clubs' in the CSL?
It's difficult to say because I don't know how other teams operate. Prior to beyond FC, [I played on another CSL team but] my experience on that team wasn't very positive as even though they were highly successful in winning team many of the guys didn't get along with each other and the atmosphere seemed very toxic. My decision to leave that team was purely based on not enjoying our successes.
What's BFC's most valuable asset and hindrance going forward?
A unique aspect practiced by our club is something that other clubs could possibly see as a weakness, but it's something that I believe incredibly powerful asset, especially in the long term. We are an extremely inclusive club, meaning that anyone who wants to play and is willing to put in the effort and dedication will find a home in BFC on one of our many teams that fits their skill level. And the organization and managers are very aware and active in identifying players who strive to improve and give them a clear trajectory towards advancement to the higher level teams.
What trajectory do you see that BFC is on both competitively and as far as club growth?
Based on comparing our previous season to this season, we've had a quantum improvement in our overall performance and where we finished for both first and reserve teams, which is something we can all be very proud of. That's due in part to both the efforts of management as well as all the players. Based on that improvement I can only see our club getting better and better every year.
As for club growth, we've more than quadrupled in size and went from 2 teams to now I believe 9, so clearly we experienced a massive growth. We now have women's teams, Co-Ed teams, and Community teams, and offer more opportunities to train and improve in structured practices.