Aug. 19, 2020

Dan Kennedy — Breaking down MLS' Expansion Strategy & Driven Capital Partners Commercial Real Estate Empire

Dan Kennedy — Breaking down MLS' Expansion Strategy & Driven Capital Partners Commercial Real Estate Empire

This episode of The Game Plan features Dan Kennedy, former Major League Soccer goalkeeper turned real estate investor.

Dan is now Managing Partner at Driven Capital Partners in Long Beach, CA where he focuses on commercial real estate development and property management, working with other professional athletes to help them generate a passive income that will pay off well beyond the prime of their career.

We start this episode by exploring the evolution of Major League Soccer and the role that rapid league expansion has played over the years. Dan shares his perspective as a player in the pivotal years of MLS, including tense moments as a member of the executive board of the MLS Player’s Association.

Dan also talks about his transition from a career as a professional soccer player into a business professional, and the role business school played in helping him find his way in life beyond the pitch. We discuss his front office role with the LA Galaxy, and why he ultimately decided to change things up and pursue a career in commercial real estate development.

Listeners won’t want to miss Dan’s candid point of view on what every professional athlete should be doing with their money (that most aren’t doing today). Special thanks to Tim’s former colleague Andrew Hayes for making the introduction to our guest.

Be sure to follow Dan on Twitter and Instagram (@1DanKennedy) to keep up with everything he is doing today, as well as his investment group’s website: https://www.drivencap.com.

If there is a guest you’d like to see join us on a future episode of The Game Plan please follow and reach out to co-hosts Jay Kapoor  (@JayKapoorNYC) and Tim Katt (@Tim_Katt)  on Twitter!

Follow The Game Plan on Twitter (@thegameplanshow) and Instagram (@gameplanshow) for show news & updates, as well as bonus content!


Transcript

*Please excuse any and all typos, errors and mistakes in the following transcript as we use an automated service to generate this text*

 

I'm going to make X this year. I'm going to take 10% of X. I'm going to invest it in real estate every single year. And I know that driven capital partners, is it going to let me come in at 25 grand, 50 grand a share, and I'm going to get to that two or three deals a year and I don't have to do anything.

And on a quarterly basis, they automatically ACH transfer to me, any cashflow distributions, and on a quarterly basis, they provide me an investor update.  That is passive income. people talk about investing in real estate for passive income, it's not.

Passive. If you're the operator that that's a job, that's what I do. This is my job. Right? 

today. We welcome former major league soccer, goalkeeper and member of the executive board of the major league soccer players association. Turn real estate investor, Dan Kennedy.  Dan, welcome to the game plan.   

 

 

 , so you played soccer professionally for 12 plus years. And during that time, major league soccer went through a ton of change, you know, continues to expand to this day. What were some of the biggest changes you saw as a player?

Well, so I came in the league in 2005 and. Really it , it wasn't a league that I thought to myself, like, you're going to go have a career and set up your future financially for your family. It was like, you know what? I'm graduating from UCFB. I just had this amazing collegiate soccer experience.

I don't want it to be over. , I'm not done with the challenge. I haven't satisfied the thirst or appetite, you know? So I had the opportunity. Well, I got drafted by Chivas, which was an expansion team that year. And it was the first year that they, drafted, it was called I think it was  draft is a supplement draft.

Right? So. I think I was a last one, keep her selected in the last round of the supplemental draft. So it's like, if you're not an afterthought, like by the, I damn near just didn't get drafted and it probably would have been okay. , and so I was drafted by an expansion team and that was Chivas USA and that the other expansion team was real salt Lake.

And that, that made the league 10 teams whole. So think about that 10 teams hole. And they went from 23 man rosters up to 28. And so this is like 2005 Oh five Oh five. And, and , the gift wrapped present that you received. If you could make the 28 man roster as a supplemental player was $12,000 a year.

I'll let you guys digest that. Now,

So pre pretax amount,

I mean, dude, Mike paychecks were like $284 by month. Right, right. And so, so I was like, I didn't care. Honestly. I was like, I just want to go do this. And I, I mean, when you live as a collegiate athlete, you're like I'm freaking poor anyway.

the reality was I was getting more money from my scholarship. Food and housing stipend. Then I received as a professional soccer player. But backstory. I had been involved in a really bad car accident. me and my family got hit head on by a drunk driver on the one on one freeway. And we didn't, I actually started, I reached out to Mercedes Benz and we ended up doing a commercial for them, a real survival story commercial.

and the commercial guy was picked up and aired. Worldwide. So, , we made some royalties off of that and that actually funded my professional playing career because what I made would not, you know, would not get the job done. And so after being drafted, Chivas passed on me, New York was in need of a goalkeeper New York Metro stars.

Now the red bulls, , I was drafted in the USL, which is the second division by Puerto Rico Islanders with. , my roommate in college dream of Katie and we're like, ah, Puerto Rico might be fun. and so I went and had a cup of coffee, the Metro stars, living in Jersey, living in a, like a, Ramada Inn in Hoboken in February.

Yeah. In January or February making $250 a week eating McDonald's for breakfast. And then Bob Bradley was a coach and he was just straight up with me, you know, he's like, you're never, you're not going to play here. , Johnny Walker's hurt. And when he comes back fit, we're going to release you. And I was like, handshake deal.

No problem, coach. Like, I want to experience this. And then Puerto Rico called and was like, Hey, we need to keep her. And so I just went up, I went to him and I was like, Bob, like, I got the opportunity to go play like. Play in two weeks in the USL. He's like, we'll release you right now. So went down to Puerto Rico and, and by the way, Not all coaches would do that.

Put a player first. Right. So he was, he was he standing guy. , and then drew and I were like F let's do it. We'll we'll play in Puerto Rico and just experience right. Life experience. So, , we ended up, you know, spending our 2005. Really the inaugural professional season in Puerto Rico. And, , I started in played every game and won rookie of the year of that league.

And so I was like, I got a little more in the tank, you know? , and my goal was to make it back into major league soccer. Which didn't happen for another two years. And I ended up after my second year in Puerto Rico, I went down to Chile because I was just ready for a new experience. and one of my goals was it's completely not soccer related, but it was to learn Spanish.

 I was like, this is perfect opportunity, you know, and after a year in Chile opportunity presented itself to come back to major league soccer, and then my career gained a little bit of momentum. and that's all she wrote, man. Then it was 10, 10 years straight and major league soccer. Man, it goes fast.

You know, so now really my focus is pivoted because I know how fast it goes, is investing in real estate and helping guys in the league and in my network, , I'm trying to just break down the barriers and to allow them to invest a little bit easier and with, and with much less risk.

Yeah, definitely. And we want to touch on obviously the, the, the work that you're doing as an investor and, and working with other players right now on that piece about expansion. I'm so curious. Cause now obviously expansion has picked up. You're starting to see a

lot. I don't even know how many teams are in the league now. Like 30 teams, like in 20 it's, like 26 episode. We do. Cause there was another team added. Yeah, there's 26 today, but there's like three more coming.

totally, totally. And it does seem like, so I'm curious on your end as a player when you're. When you're seeing this expansion happen, when you're seeing major international stars start to come from the EPL and sort of have their, their retirement tours in LA or, you know, wherever it is with Becca, like how does, how does that change for you as a player that the state of the league is in such

Well, I mean, this is where the founders of major league soccer understood what was happening at the grassroots level in the United States and the nineties and early two thousands, like the biggest youth sport in the United States. And we don't have a professional league for it. , so the insight there, like, just from a strategic business perspective, , is brilliant and the amount of investment it has taken in order to get it right.

To where it is today is nothing short of remarkable because it's still not a cash flowing business. This is a, this is a forced equity play for these, owners. And it, they, they get to clot down some losses and depreciation in the process. now for me, when I look around, I'm like, Shit, man. Maybe I should have just should've stayed, fit and played a little longer because the league just keeps expanding.

There's always another team to go play for. But yeah, I was at my end, , from an injury perspective and that's the toughest balance for the league is to grow in size like that. , expand the talent pool and continue to maintain the integrity of the quality on the pitch. And so that's why you see the influx of international talent coming into the league.

, the days of, of Europeans and South American or global icons coming here for a retirement tour, long gone. now it's about. The yield that you're going to receive from the investment in the player. So galaxy took the biggest risk sign. David Beckam complete exposure play. Where would this league be?

Without Beckam? Nobody knows. , and rightfully so, he was granted a ownership stake in a team because of it, right. I mean that, like, if we're just talking about leverage and business and sense and smarts like this steel, this is maybe one of the most remarkable deal in sports history. Now you're seeing guys I'm inventing and to other sports franchises, look at, the quarterback for the Kansas city chiefs.

Yeah, just like that. Now the mentality is shifting and Beckon, pioneered that he pioneered that through major league soccer, but now you see the teams, Atlanta United buying a star and Elmer own out of South America and capturing a huge reward for just nurturing his talents for two years in major league soccer.

And now they go make, you know, $7 million on the player. Sell them to Europe and rinse and repeat it is a, it, then it becomes a viable business model, all to go and try to execute. And so that is it's this combination of expansion diluting the, domestic talent pool. , So in order to maintain quality, you need to go source talent.

And instead of sourcing the glue, , icon and a retirement state, that's go find the next star and then play on the international transfer market. So I L I think MLS has had a lot of growing pains, and one of them has just been highlighted, in Chicago with the fire. And we had this model of. We don't care where you build a stadium, just build it.

Right. This was 2000. The, you know, the, the story of, of all the years leading up to the great recession was it doesn't matter where Carson California build it. It doesn't matter. We, if you build it, they will come mentality. And those stadiums became Of entertainment outside of major league soccer, which led to profitability.

For these owners, the stadiums were often profitable. but then yeah, the transfer happened where the urban core markets of Seattle, of Portland and Vancouver, they started coming into the league and the fandom that fall followed was that action. We created culture for the first time and major league soccer.

We started seeing organic culture, not manufactured. Right. You have guys and girls how's marching up and down the street, carrying scarves with following a band. I'm literally getting chills, like talking about this because I got to experience that as a player. I, when I was in Puerto Rico, right. Played in the Seahawks stadium.

Okay. Westfield at the time in front of like 1300 people. Like 1300 people in 900,000 seat Bohemia I'm exaggerating, but like the stadium is huge and it was like, Oh, you know, and, and when they got the team, I was like, this one, this one, this could be a flaw, you know? And then 44,000 people they're selling out every game.

I mean, it's just, yeah, it was an incredible thing to witness. And then. People start turning their heads. And when you look around the world a weekend and you're like, okay, well, real Madrid and Barcelona played. They had 75,000 fans. , AC Milan and inter Milan played that 65,000 fans and Seattle played ally galaxy.

And there was 58,000 fans there. Those were the three most attended games in the world. And that's when you go, okay, man. City's like, we'll come in. Right. Yankees owner. Yeah. We'll partner with you. A red bull. That's get us on board. And so that's where that seemed to be the pivotal shift. Of major league soccer is when you started bringing in these cultural clubs that had these stadiums in the urban core of the city.

And now to me, the strategy is very clear and we're seeing it play out in real time because it's like LFC. If you, you guys. Should make a trip when this whole COVID thing passes and there's people allowed in stadiums again, and just go to an LA FC game. You'll be hard pressed to go experience a better live sporting event in the United States.

It's unbelievable. Yeah. It's unbelievable. 

I was gonna say, and, and, and the media rights is starting to become more valuable, right? So you start to look at, okay, if you want to buy into a league property, you know, NFL, can't touch it NBA, you better be a billionaire, but okay. If you've got a decent capital and you want to buy

into a sports asset that 

you know is on the come up, where do you turn?

And that's where, you know, we talk about this on the show a lot where you start to see athletes at the peak of other sports, start

to then come in and want to be, 

owners in the

and there's protection. Because it's single entity. There's no promotion, there's no relegation. And they're never, I, I don't envision a world where there ever will be and major league soccer strictly because of who the owners are and why they're doing this.

Right. It may be the right thing for competitive soccer in the United States, but who would approve it? The owners aren't going to approve it. and when you think about, I was looking at it, I'm like, wow, Charlotte paid, what? 280 or $320 million to come into this league. Are you kidding me? New castle United's and the BPL, they were for sale for 300 million U S but the difference is there's you buy new castle United.

You can be in, you could be in league one and two years. That's the risk associated with it, right? yeah, the, the, the TV revenue, if you can stay in the premier league, is much sweeter, but it's been proven that you need to go and spend and spend heavily. To stay in the premier league. so that's, it's a, it's a risk adjusted rate of return to major league soccer, major league soccer.

The one thing that they can, they can, , that they've proven is stability and continued growth and the growth when you compare it to other professional sports leagues and United States. Is exponential. That's the crazy thing is the fandom growth in major league soccer is catching up to the big four or big three every day.

and you, and you were part of the, the executive board of the MLS players

association as well for a little while.

So 

So

I guess looking back on, that time now, what would you have done differently or what did you sort of take away from that experience? 

Well, , I recommend every young player in the league gets involved with the union because you'll understand earlier on in your career, what core values that are important to players are going to be, and those are not going to change.

The core values are always going to be term of contract compensation, health benefits. That's right. , and making sure. Like you, as a player can monetize this access you have on the field. It's hard enough to be successful, but if you're living in a system that does not reward success on the field and we did, we lived in the system.

Awesome. , and now I'm talking about free agency, then, and you will not make any money. You won't your wages will be suppressed. So, I joined Chivas USA in 2008 from Chile. Jim Curtin had coach Philadelphia union was my roommate. Jimmy was, I mean, not only a great friend and a fantastic teammate, but he was one of my mentors.

, and he told me the same thing. He said, you need to get involved with a guy kind of guy. You are, you need to get into union. So I did. And by 2010, I was representing my team and labor negotiations for a CVA. And then by 2014, I was on the executive board and leading that negotiation on behalf of the players.

and I looked back and, and we made, , significant steps, apps and strides forward. No, no one is satisfied. No one is, is, is content or, or even. Happy, but we saw progress and we saw progress without work stoppage The thread of work stoppage has to be real. And the one thing that we did, , you call it collective bargaining and it's tricky to get everybody on the same bus heading in the same direction.

But the one thing we did is we, we accomplished just that and we accomplished it so much that  some players. Myself included would not have been satisfied with any deal because we knew what we wanted. Right. But this is when you have to use step up to that line and you have to decide what's better.

What's better for everybody that we take this deal that we've negotiated extremely hard for. Or we walk, we walk, we're walking into a world of uncertainty and pain and players. Aren't going to get paid. People are going to lose their homes are going to be hard conflict at home with spouses, kids. , it's real.

And you have to recognize that. And I think as that's why it's important, you have this generational growth and you like, you have the older group as part of the executive board leading this. , conversation. And, , in the end we decided to strike and we thought it was done. And the reality is it ain't done until it's done.

And so the next day we woke up and we had another offer on the table and it was one that we were like, you know what, we can accept it. You know? And so it was a, it was a moment, , that it's actually probably one of the most. Pivotal moments of my entire career. And it happened in the boardroom. Right. But it was about representing everybody in the league for, you know, for my time I came into the league where league minimums were 12 grand a year.

And in 2000 going into the 2015 season, I think legal minimums were like 60. Right. We had some form of free agency for veteran players. Which was the first free agency ever negotiated by professional sports union without a work stoppage. Right now there were terms and conditions like, see, you know, exhibit one, a two, three feet B IHI, whatever.

So you learn, you live and you learn, but you put a system in place that could be built upon. And that's what the league was so concerned about. They were scared about. Putting in a new role and not knowing what the effects were, what we put in a new rule and what the league learn was that it wasn't that big.

You give a deal. The players that did well got paid. And now you're seeing it play out. And so, but that happened in 2014 and now we're seeing it play out. Right? So now labor talks are diff it's a different conversation because the league wants to spend money or the owners want to spend money. They know if they spend money, it's going to drive the valuation of these clubs and it's going to create a better product on the pitch.

So, yeah, I, it was a, the executive board, the union, the players, you can tell I'm still passionate at about it. it was, yeah, it was really a highlight of my career to be able to participate. And it really set me off on the track of going to business school, challenging the narrative, being a leader and learning how to be a leader and learning from the older guys.

And that's, you know, a lot of leadership from my experience was learning how other guys went about it and just kind of saying, you know what, the way Jessie Marsh can, can run a locker room. Like, that's how I want it. That's how I want to run my locker room. You know? So it was a fun experience. 

Yeah.

Yeah. I think it's really interesting how much of that energy that you've picked up on and those boardroom negotiations really fed into you starting to think about, you know, life beyond the soccer field and, and what you were going to do. Post-career.

and I really thought that I was I'm going to become a GM or president. Like that was what I set out. That's what I set out to do. I was like, okay, I want to go run a club, but I want to do it my way.

And , so I was like, how am I going to set myself apart? From all of these really smart guys. , and so I was like, well, I gotta go. And a business school, so I applied to USC and got in and was just like, all right, giddy up. Let's go.

Let's go learn. And man, talk about like 30, I think it was 34 years old. So I was one of the older guys in my class, computer illiterate, you know, like. What's email. , I know what Facebook was, but I didn't know what email was. , to just talk about a huge challenge. All these other kids are like 28 years old, been working at Ernst and young, , just pounding pavement, you know, like super like way smarter and prepared than me, you know?

 what I found out was, , I was still good at leading. And so I could lead teams. I, it was a good, like, it took me a long time. It took me probably three months or quarter to get my feet under me and try to understand like, okay, like, this is what you do well, but you can't like, there's nothing else.

And I don't do anything. Well, Like, this is how I was actually this way as a player. It's like,

I'm just solid. Like just consistent. And so, but I could pull people to together and have these relationships and garner this team and our team. We had a team of four other students over the course of the two years, man. We really got into like this zone and I w I always thought, whenever we at our pitch presentations are we were problem solving.

Like we found the zone that worked for all of us, you know? And so it was, it was a FA it was just a perfect experience for me. And I was still bullish on the idea of, of getting into leadership, , and major league soccer. And, and then my re I re when I retired, I started working at the galaxy and I just had these competing, these competing worlds that I had to kind of navigate. 

You know, I

think your humility.

they just stayed in, you know, not being good at

anything. I don't know if that's exactly true for someone who had a 12 plus year career

and in any professional but, it sounds like that in a lot of ways, what's your secret weapon going into business school, being able to humble yourself and,

you know, be the oldest

guy in the room and do something completely

different.

Oh, and you can imagine like it's to me, it's irrelevant. Right. But it's a, the reality is you go like, Oh, that's the guy that plays with galaxy, right? That's the guy like the teachers, the students, like everybody, everybody knew that I was the professional athlete in class. And this isn't a SC.

This happens all the time you got of fellers. You got, you know, it happens all the time. It is not abnormal, but you have a little highlight, you know? And like opening is actually a good story. So I was like, I, by the time I got to the galaxy, I was 34. I had nine surgeries in my career. Like I was, I was at the end, you know, and I tore my growing first kick of the first game with the club while I was on the field.

I never really found my way back on the pitch. So I kind of, it felt right. You know, like, okay, I'm going to business school. I'm in my hometown. I'm at the club that I want to be at. I, cause I grew up a galaxy fan, Kevin Hartman fan, like Jorge compost. I was a goalkeeper And so like, yeah, opening weekend and it's like Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Yeah. You got nothing. Nine hours of work. And then you have to prep your pitch competition at night with your team. And I was like, I got, I got fucking gain. Excuse me. I got a game. So I was like,

 

so brew at Bruce arena. Bruce knew what I was doing. He's fully supportive. Bruce's nether. Like I consider him a mentor. talk about a great leader and manager is a man that just knows how to just manage people.

and so I was like, Bruce, listen, dude, like if I don't go, I don't qualify to start the program. And my fear is that if I wait I in a year's time, I'm going to regret it. that's the situation I'm in tomorrow. I'm not starting it's the day before is the practice the day before games, like it's a 45 minute run out.

I'm like all come here at six in the morning. I'll have the train, I'll have the physical trainer meet me. I'll train. And then I'm going to miss practice. If you're only, if you're with your blessing, like if this is a problem for you, it's a nonstarter for me. I'm here and he goes, go do your thing. Right.

No big deal, right? No big deal. And I'm so supportive. So I go and I had school all day, Friday had school all day, Saturday. Don't tell anybody I ducked out of school at like four 30 without telling anybody. Right. Like, cause if they said, if I wasn't going to be there, I didn't qualify. So I was like four 30 Saturday.

I'm like, I gotta go sit on the bench for my team. Show up. Sure enough, what happens? Goalkeeper gets hurt. I'm in the game, in the game. So now I'm like, But I'm in like, w like game days, you, you just, you get in the zone, you know? So I was even in, I was at school, but I was already like, kind of prepping, you know?

so get in the game, play played fine. Like, I was just super steady player, not too high, not too low. but my team was doing the pitch competition that night, like prepping it. So then I was like, well, I'll buy the hotel room. Everyone meet at the hotel room. I'll get there by 10 o'clock and in the stories and business score, like you're going to stay up till two, o'clock working on your pitch.

You know what I mean? So by the time I get there, everyone's done, you know, it's been a long two days anyway. I'm like still sweating. I'll just never forget it. Go in the room. Remember being like, okay guys, just tell me, just give me my part. Like I'll, we'll crush it. , and then the next day, like Sunday shows up and everyone's like, I saw you played the game last night.

Like what the, you know, it was a funny way to kick off the kickoff, the whole experience. Yeah. , burning the candle at both ends. And then that, my we had the time we had a two year old, , and, or maybe one and a half year old.

And then my wife got pregnant while I was in school. So I was going to business school. I was going, I'd go, just basically train in the morning and then go to SC and do night school from three to nine 45, three days a week. So I was, I mean, talk about a full time gig. Like I was really grinding really ground for two years.

Yeah. 

It is interesting. We we hear from a lot of athletes that as they enter that sort of first year in retirement, the thing that they

miss the most is the sort of three core pillars of team routine and competition. 

And it seems like hearing your stories from B school 

that you kind of found that right, going from, 

you know, playing while being in B school, you sort of found what you had on the pitch, off the pitch with your, with your B-School colleagues. 

And the hard thing when you're an athlete is like The, what is so clear, like, okay, what do I have to do today? Well, all right. First of all, got be at the state at eight o'clock and someone's gonna serve me breakfast. And then I gotta be in the gym by eight 30 to do my pre prep, you know, and then, and, and it's all just like so easy and you're like, I'm just going to go through it and just.

Bus my AE and just kick ass and compete. And

then, yeah. And then, and then I'm either going to have the score. Yeah. I'm either going to have a good practice of mediocre practice or bad practice, and I'm either going to feel good or bad is very quantifiable. And, but then at two o'clock you're like, well, what am I supposed to do now?

I'm supposed to go home and rest and relax. being a pro athlete is one of the most challenging things because is your challenge with yourself and your insecurities? And am I ready? And am I good enough? And that's why it's, it's such a compelling thing to experience or even watch, , But it does not prepare you very well for life after sport.

And that's why, you know, historically we've heard the horror stories of people burning through millions of dollars and really struggling. And it's because what are the tools? You're, you have a PhD and professionals sport that you play, and unless you can apply it very valid, usually two highly competitive jobs, coaching GM, , Then you're going to struggle.

You can be. So you're just not set up for success. , fortunately I thought like every year it was going to be my last plan. So I was always kinda like, what's next? You know, I was like, okay, I'll be in my fallback was always commercial real estate. I was like, okay, all my buddies are in commercial real estate.

The w the goalkeeper at UCFB that I broke all of his records. He, he started radius group central coast. I was like, so I'll be in commercial real estate. So every year it was like, okay. Okay. Okay. And then the great recession happened. And all my buddies started losing their jobs. And I was like, well, I'm making 33 grand a year, but at least I'm making 33 grand a year.

And so honestly, if, if the great recession didn't happen, I don't know if I would have stuck around as long as I did in soccer, but it, it just continued. I just wasn't sure satisfies super hungry player. And that's what we used to. We'd always tell young fires, like you got to eat, man, you got it. Like, how are you going to go and earn your meal?

You got to eat. So w like everyone's hungry. How hungry are you? You got to get going here. 

So you get through B school and you ultimately decide to take the commercial

real estate path. What kind of led to that decision? And tell us a little bit about your role now with driven 

life's all about relationships in the end and that's going to lead you and it's going to block you.

And that's the reality of it. , so Chris Klein was an executive board member in 2010 when I was getting started with the union. Right. And I was representing my team. So I had, I basically reported to Chris and Chris and I just built, like, we, we, we were on the same page a lot of the time and he was very, , just.

great with his time. And he started off with the galaxy and then he Rose to president. And when I was playing for the game, when I was playing for Chivas USA, he was the president of the galaxy, like in the same locker, in the same building, competing forces, but we would still go out to lunch, you know, and I would just pick his brain, like, what would you be doing if you were me?

And one of them, one of the things he told me it was business school. , and so. We just went down this path. And as I was at the galaxy and started business school, , we just had this agreement that I would go and work for the galaxy. As when I retired, we didn't know when that was going to be, you know, I thought it was going to be three years, but it turned out being, I played for the galaxy for one.

So immediately I was in business school. I'm like, well, I'm going to re I'm retiring. So let's start. And I got thrown into the front office. It was great experience. , and. It's the front office of a professional sports environment is it's, it's exciting. It's fun. , but for a guy like me, what I learned after a year, little over a year working there was like, man, I either got to kind of be in a role where I can call the shots.

Or I can't be here because I'm way too opinionated about what's happening. And, and it may have been that at the time the galaxy was really struggling. So I have plenty of ideas. Let me tell you about them. Right? , so for me it was more about like, well, I'm here, I want to be here, but if I can't do what I want to do here, what am I doing here?

Right. And so I asked myself that a lot and, and my contract with the galaxy coincided with my, , meet with me wrapping up business school. And that was intentional. I was just envisioning this streamlined path.

But when I played one, the one story I haven't told is when I played, and I started making money. I invested in real estate. And it was always in this mindset of, Hey, this thing's going to be over yesterday. So you better be smart with your money cause you liked to live a good life and it's going to hurt if you're not.

And I enjoyed like, Making money. yeah, so I was buying, you know, 2011, I'm buy like crappy little homes and rent them out. and, but I would buy a, , like a crappy little home and paint it and refinish the floors and clean it up and then rent it out and be like 500 bucks cash flow, like okay. I'm at the time, I was 30 years old, you know, 29 years old just started making, like, I think it was like 175 or 200 grand. So I wasn't making a lot of money, but I was living very modestly and I was saving and I've been saving. Even when I lived in Puerto Rico, I was saving 500 bucks a month, so I could make nothing and find a way to save money.

so I just started doing it. And my, my business partner today, he was, he was investment banker out of college. , he played football at UC Davis and then, he went into the tech space. , and then he went and joined Facebook and his wife worked at Google and. My wife is a friends with his wife. So was like, Matt and I were going to be hanging out whether we wanted to or not, right.

Like no decision in the process, but we're yeah, we were always like trade notes, you know, it was like, okay, like, we're both making decent money now, what are we doing with it? And so we, we just kind of like followed this strategy. And after doing it for four years, like, I mean, there was a couple of years there where I made more money investing in real estate than I did in soccer, you know?

And so I was like, I should have I kicked myself now. Cause I'm like, I should've attacked it. Then I should have attacked it. I should have been like, you know what, you're making money now. Go get it. And I didn't have that mentality. I was really just learning and trying to figure it out. So 2015, Matt and I started like waffling on the, what ifs of a investment commercial real estate shop.

And in 2017. When I was wrapping up business school and I had made the decision that I could not work at the galaxy anymore. And I was basically just going to be like, I'm either I'm going to just go do investment real estate stuff. And until I find a job that I'm happy with, you know, and that was like, dude, I'm done at Facebook.

And we were, so we were on vacation together. I dunno, April or may of 17 and, , It was just like, okay, well let's do it, man. 

Yeah. So, so tell us about that. So your managing partner at driven capital out in long beach, what, what is your role entail and

what are some of the projects that you guys get into?

we w so, so in 2017, so in business school, and this is caveat business where I started investing in what's called syndications and real estate. And I was like, it was a light bulb moment. You know, it was like you in your life, you have these critical moments. That that'll take you down paths if you want them to.

And I was like, man, this is what every single professional athletes should be doing, because that's the hard thing. When you think about investing. The traditional books like, ah, 401k, , you know, all these longterm investment vehicles is great product in 25 years, you're going to have a million dollars.

We'll do when you're a professional athlete. Your career is over when you're 32. That's not, you can't get there. You can't get there. Right. So it's like, what are you doing today? That's going to prepare you for when you retire and five or 10 years. So that's why it's like the traditional investment model does not work for professional athletes.

It doesn't. And so that's where I'm like, so this is the realization I have is like syndications, commercial, real estate athletes. I can put it all together. I know I can. And Matt was like, dude, same thing. Like these Facebook and Google employees, these are smart people. They're working 900 hours a week.

They don't have time to do this. I can do it for them and we can do it the right way. And so that was, I mean, You know, we get to, just motivated guys and we have completely complimentary skillsets. Like we are complete. We are just the most polar opposite of people. , but it's, it makes for a very healthy business environment.

You know, we challenge each other and we will not do anything that we're not both completely on board with. And so we started, we did our first deal and 2018 and we were just like, well, You know, like you noticed don't know if you're gonna be able to raise the money in the end. So we were like, in the end, we need to be able to buy it ourselves.

Cause we're going to go take all this risk. Like we're going to set up alone. We're going to go earnest money, deposit hard. Like we, at the end we'll just buy it ourselves. And I think we raised like 500 grand and we did our first deal. Okay. Then that deal performed today. Still today is performing phenomenally.

Phenomenally. it was just like, okay, we've done a deal. We're a business. Like we're trying to get it going. and now, , we have 10 assets under management, , and we'll probably have 13 before the end of the year. , we are every day getting better at what we do And my roles. We kind of look at it as I am the asset manager.

So once we purchase a property, I take care of it. We both raise capital through our networks. , and Matt, because of his financial background is a lot of our underwriting. And, , there's the private, an equity structure is how we structure our deals. So , It's not new. Right. We're just overlaying that on a, on a piece of real estate.

, and we're, we're focused on just creating passive income for investors and storing wealth and getting the, the, the tax benefits you get from investing in real estate. And when you talk like we're California guys, you know, like real, estate's a conversation, it's a centerpiece of everybody's day. Like housing prices are through the roof.

, the barriers to entry are so high that if, if, if you guys want to go buy a really high quality commercial piece of real estate, you're going to need millions of dollars. And so that how we are trying to break down that barrier is say no driven capital partners is going to set up an entity that buys the asset.

Matt and I take on all of the debt liability. So the investor has no debt liability and in a commercial real estate investment, that's a pretty damn attractive a benefit of, of syndication. , yeah. And when you place your money into the deal, you own some portion of the deal, but not all of it. And why that's important is because, well, if something does go wrong, you're not.

The only one on the hook. Right? If you, especially, if you only own 2% of a deal. So, we look at this as the, as the media means to scaling a commercial real estate portfolio and diversifying, and we want to de risk yeah. And investments. And so typically an investor will come. I, the way I look at it is we're not.

Asking people for money. We're saying, Hey guys, this is what we do. We buy high quality commercial assets. And if, if you want to be a real estate investor, well, we're going to allow you to do it. And growing markets. That have, you know, these demographics of business growth, population growth. , we're going to let you invest in a higher quality asset than you would ever be able to own on your own.

We gonna, we're going to spend the day time deal sourcing. I mean, we we've been cultivating these these days, sourcing relationships for two and a half years now, and that is not like you. So if, if either of you had a million bucks and you're like, I'm going to go buy a piece of commercial real estate.

Well, How the hell do you know if you have, if you're going to get a good deal or 

Yeah. Yeah. Is that the direction that you think athletes should be heading? Cause we we've heard, you know, some of our guests on the show they talk about, yeah. I dip my toe in maybe some residential, maybe a little bit of 

commercial, but then you realize like, okay, well you're to your point taking on a tremendous amount of risk.

And especially if you are somebody who maybe if you're currently playing, you've got some income coming in,

but if you've got no

active income coming in and you're sort of now living off of. 

Whatever, 80 to 90% of your lifetime income that you've made as a, as a know NFL player, NBA player on one property. Do you think this is the direction that 

more 

players should be heading?

Or is it again a case by case basis? 

the term has been beat to a pulp, but diversification is, is a real thing. And so if you've got a hundred dollars to go invest over the next 18 months, I mean, do you want to go throw it on Tesla and see what happens? You know, maybe I don't. You know, I'm probably going to go and look at that a hundred dollars and say, okay, I'm going to do 10 deals.

And I'm going to spread that across 10 deals and it's going to be diversified and it's going to be diversified and asset class. So in real estate, we talk about apartments, mobile home parks, industrial warehouse, space, medical offices, offices, hospitality. , so we're, I'm going to sprinkle it across those today.

COVID lifestyle. I'm not touching hospitality. I'm not touching office. you know, I can start checking a bunch of these off the box. , and, then my success will my success may be lower than if I just go put it on Tesla, but at the same time, like I'm just not going to lose my job. Lose my ass either.

Right? If there's sound after sound. Yeah. That's the most important thing is we're talking about storing Capitol and we're talking about building passive income. , so it's, for me is a really exciting thing because I actually think I'm going to have a much bigger impact on majors, the soccer through what I'm doing now than I ever had on the field or with the players association.

Wow, you hit on

it a bit with, , quality deal flow and the cost of entry. What are some of the other things that nobody talks about when you get into the real estate 

business? 

Well, every deal changes, man. So you go like Santa Barbara, California, the Riviera of California, like this talk about desirability.

I think you just had , the Prince just moved there. Right. And, , So ha and, and, and it's, it's up against a, so the, your ability to, we call it infill and commercial real estate, there's no place to build. So it's all about supply demand drivers, right? And the supply is not going to grow the it's one of the nicest places to live in California.

And it has, it does have a steady, very slow population growth. , but what's happening in Santa Barbara is like, think about COVID. I mean, everybody can work from home now. So where do you want to live? Well, we want to live in Santa Barbara. Okay. We're going to go buy some apartments there because it's like the market vacancies 1.7%, which is a reflection of turnover, not apartment city being empty.

So really helped the investor market. It's also very expensive. , so we went and purchased a office building and we call it adaptive reuse project where we've entitled it. So now that we can, we can turn it into 23 apartments development a deal. Well, our business model based on zoning in Santa Barbara was that it was going to be 17 apartments.

Okay. We're stoked on 17 apartments. Well, Couple of problems happened. The city tried to make us have affordable housing. What we found out was that if we have to have affordable housing, the state says we can increase the density. So we got 23 units home run for investors, home run, but we were very resourceful and we paid co couple $15,000 to attorneys to get this deal done.

, and now the original loan that we put on the property, it does, it won't work because we don't have enough money. We have enough money to build 17 apartments, not 23. And this all happened during COVID. So like talk about, about terrible timing. Right? And so we went from now, we have to refinance the property during COVID.

We still don't have our construction, , permits. And we're like, man, this is pretty stressful here. If it was all Dan Kennedy's money, I would have been, I mean, I'm already getting a little light up top, but I would have been bald right now. That being said, we navigated it. We reduced our interest rate by 5% with a refinance.

Huge huge, , reduction and interest rate. We got the proceeds, , to go and execute on the 23 units. We should finish the project February of next year, and we had to convert, we had a conservative Lisa, , projection on the back end of this thing that I think that I think we'll actually still beat it.

, and this should be honestly, I think it's gonna play out really well for investors. Now let's say investors make 50 cents on their dollar in two years. Okay. So it's 25 IRR. . That's a great thing for investors. And it would have been a great thing for me now, personally.

Right. But I would have been taking all the risks and you know what, maybe rent slide in San Francisco rents have already slid 11%. Because of COBIT Santa Barbara is not having the same problem. And I don't think they will. It's not going to be impacted the same way it does. It's not as high density, but let's say rent slide and the, property valuation is lower because we can't get high enough rents.

Well, the investors are still gonna make their money. I'm sorry. Excuse me. There's still gonna make money, but they're not gonna, we have a risk of not meeting the projected return, right? And so this is why this is the exact reason why you don't want to own everything by yourself.

Like let's spread it out. And these same investors that are in on this deal own some apartments in Atlanta that are performing great. The same investors own an industrial warehouse building in Boise, Idaho, which Boise's market is just going absolutely bananas. , that is going to be a consistent deal.

So , I equate what we do when I talk to athletes. I'm like, okay, we're going to go get fit today. We're gonna do one workout and we're gonna be fit. No impossible. Right? That's like me saying, Hey, I'm going to, we're going to go do one real estate deal and we're going to be rich.

It's impossible. What we want to do is we just want to be consistent. So it's like, Hey, I'm going to make X this year. I'm going to take 10% of X. I'm going to invest it in real estate every single year. And I know that driven capital partners, is it going to let me come in at 25 grand, 50 grand a share, and I'm going to get to that two or three deals a year and I don't have to do anything.

And on a quarterly basis, they automatically ACH transfer to me, any cashflow distributions, and on a quarterly basis, they provide me an investor update. And then by March 15th of, of the calendar year, they, I get all my tax documentation so I can submit it at tax time. That is passive income. So w the, the designator, when people talk about investing in real estate for passive income, it's not.

Passive. If you're the operator that that's a job, that's what I do. This is my job. Right? So this is what I learned when I was investing in the single family homes, like, okay. I own five homes. I'm feeling I'm going to be the next Donald Trump on five single family moms. And, man, Like, okay. Now I've got to go.

Where do I got two houses in Plano? And I got up subterranean pipe break. That's going to cost me 18 grand to fix. And I got to go find Ray the plumber to fix this. And is he going to do it? Should I fly out there? What the hell am I doing well in the commercial world? If this happens, first of all, the insurance coverage is much better than it is in residential, but yeah, I'm on a plane.

I'm there. That's my responsibility. To our investors. So, you know, yesterday I flew back from Milwaukee because we're final walkthrough on a property that we're going to buy there. And , man, I came back from that trip and I texted my, I texted Matt. I was like, I can't did not feel better about our COVID strategy.

I could not feel better. Yeah. We're going in the right direction. Sorry, I'll just steal the mic guys. You guys 

No, no, no, this is, this

is great. Hey man, I'm learning a ton too, because I, as a Tim knows this, but my dad and I have a, have a rental 

property that we 

went in on probably seven years ago. And I think we learned 

that lesson the hard way, which is if you're, if you're the landlord and you're sort of, you know, going in and checking on the pipes or whatever happens, like it's not passive.

Like you think that's what we thought we were getting into. And, 

And to your point, like it's one property, right? So yeah, it was a sort of smaller apartment kind of thing, but I 

can't imagine, like,

As your, your checkbook gets larger, your appetite gets larger. So yeah, we went on a small apartment, you know, an

athlete, , who's made, you know, 10 years in the NFL is probably going into the whole building.

And dealing with all the issues that come with 

If you're playing in Kansas city, you go by a handful of things in Kansas city, and then you get traded and you better have a damn good property management team in place. Yeah. Or you better be very resourceful. 

Yeah. Is there, is there something from your playing days that you've

Now 

taken

into.

Your role as, as an investor, as a property managers or something that you brought, 

from as a goalkeeper or anything else? 

Well, I mean, I am, I've always been a very hard worker. That was the nature of my existence in major league soccer was like, okay, in my own mind, whether it was true or not in my own mind, I outworked every goalkeeper in the league.

Yeah, I'm sure there's a handful of other goalkeepers that would tell you the same thing, but that was my mindset, right? Was this rise and grind, baby? Come on. That's work and that's, and then as I got older, I was like, okay, I can't burden this physical load. I got to work smarter. So more video, more like, you know, smart training and, and it's the same, you know, across categories and business.

If you can take that mindset and be willing, you need to learn, you're going to improve. If you're a hard worker, you are going to find a way to improve. And so that's what we're doing. It's like now we have an investor platform. Our investors can sign into it. They can see every single thing that they own, what their distributions have been, what their ownership shares, how the property's performing pictures of the property.

Like all of these little things you just continue to iterate and improve on. And that's when you think like, you know, and when I was 28, I was like, man, I'm in the prime, I'm an all star. Right. , so that's why I'm, I'm trying to achieve with our business is like, we want to be the best. Like I see I'm invested in deals.

That are not my deals I invested. I told you, I invested in other syndications. I get to see the reporting. And oftentimes going through this reporting sucks. I'm like, we're going to be better than them. You know what I mean? I'm just a competitive guy. Like I just want to be better than them. , and in the end, the, the, the investments we'll, we'll, we'll tell the story.

So I would say it's that discipline and diligence and just like, kind of get after it mentality. , You can probably tell, like I'm in, I like to engage with people and, and that's how it's helpful. Like, I go to Milwaukee, I meet with brokers, meet with attorneys, meet with the dealmakers in Milwaukee, and I have to build an in that relationship.

Right. We do the same thing in Huntsville, same thing in Boise. , so we can't just go there and be Dick's for lack of better term, you know, like you gotta, W we try to bring people in to our deals. Like if, if I have a broker rep and deals and Santa Barbara, like I want him to invest in the deal.

I want him to think that deal so good that he has to have action. , so that's like, I love it. I love working in this team, dynamic and environment. So me sitting in my three computer screens working all day, it's not mentally. It's not the best thing for me. It's, it's now some, you know, three days, two days a week it's it's required.

, but I, I'm trying to get out and tell a little bit of the story of why we're doing what we're doing and how we're trying to help people and make investing in high quality commercial assets, , a little bit easier.

You

hit on it with the bit about, you know, maybe having gotten after it a little bit earlier in your career, what would be a piece of advice that you would give your younger self with all that, you know, now.

Well, it would have been to start, , start investing more often and, and more proactively. And I mean, it's the coulda, woulda, shoulda like you have kids now that I pay, like, right. We're all paying with our time. That's what it comes down to. It is literally like every single day I'm like, okay, can I get done at four 30?

Can I get everything that I need to get done today at four 30. So I can go and rage with the kids from about five to seven, you know, because in the mornings I'm useless in the mornings. I'm so like I got, I got like 3000 things. He's on my mind. I need to just leave me alone. I need to start working. So my wife and I have a really good one, but yeah, I mean, if, if I was to talk to him, my younger self, I would have been like, man, you gotta go learn.

You gotta start investing earlier. And, and the reality is. You know, I'd have been further along today, financially, and that to me, equates to freedom.

Yeah. So, so Dan, you've been so gracious with your time. You know, where we like to close with all of our guests is looking to the future. You obviously got a lot of things in the works. What are you most excited about as you look forward?

,

both for, for driven capital and for you personally.

Well, we're driven capital partners.

We're going to continue to grow. , I'm excited about where we're going. I'm excited. We're actually gonna start transacting on some deals in 2021, which will return capital to investors. That'll continue to tell our story. It'll create a little, but a momentum, , which it's just it's required. Right? I mean, we're playing the long game, Matt and I are playing the long game and.

Part of that long game is we have two wives that have bought in they've bought into what we're doing, and they both work extremely hard to give us cashflow, you know? And so one of, , one thing I'm really excited about is as we grow the company, I think in about 18 months, two years, we should be in a position to unlock our wives from their jobs.

And that'll be a that'll. I mean, talk about a tangible value, right? To, to unlock them from ever having to work again, like that's the goal, the short term, personal law, , is it, and then there's a, there's a huge, you know, family impact to that. And she can work if she wants, but she doesn't have to. That's the key.

Right. I think it'll just be, be a good work life balance for both of us. We're working a little bit too hard in that time that we free up. I mean, our kids are so young. Like, can we remember when we were four or five? Like, no, I can't anyways, like maybe I've , hit my head too many times at the soccer ball, but yeah, the way I'm, I'm trying to be patient is like, okay, kids are young.

They're doing great. They're much smarter than I was at that age. So, , let's just grind. Yeah. A little bit here and, and we're going to have, you know, we're going to run the fruits of our labor. It will be shown with the time that we'll be able to pay. And in the coming years, I think with our children, , and I see as like children grow, like I, I, I already see it.

I know I'm going to get back involved in youth soccer. And I think that's like, I would like to have more time to give. And so it's a double edge kind of sword we're talking about here, but unlocking it so where I can go and like impact young men and women on the soccer field. , cause it really like people love sports because it's such a great comparison of life.

Like, dude, you're just going to get kicked while you're down. Okay. Just accept it. It's just the quicker, you can accept it and roll with the punches. And that's what sports does such a great job at teaching you. , I, you gotta, you know, give you, give you a real fighting chance in this whole mess. 

Well, then, I mean, I love that idea of being able to get buy in from your spouses.

 my mentor, Alex, when he was starting his first fund, , 

you know, 

we were getting 

coffee and he basically said, The first LP 

that I have to get buy into my fund is by wife. 

And I was like, Hey, that's actually a great way before you take the LP deck to anybody else.

So look, I love that. And I'm so excited that you guys have found your direction, that you're building towards that.

You're taking some of the lessons 

that you've learned over your many years, both in MLS and beyond and sharing it with our listeners today. 

We just want to thank you so much for joining us on

Oh, come on. It's been a pleasure guys. I'm sorry for stealing the mic. 

No, this, this was, this 

was phenomenal where? Absolutely. Thanks. So 

enjoy the guests.,

 All right. Another great episode of the game plan this time with former MLS goalkeeper turn real estate investor, Dan Kennedy. We've got eight minutes on the clock. Let's get into this week's partner rundown. Jay, how do you think athletes should approach investing into real

estate?

Yeah. So Dan and other guests have made this point that when athletes get involved in real estate, what they think is actually getting passive income, doesn't turn out to be that passive. After all, they're spending a lot of their time sourcing these opportunities, sourcing these deals. They're spending a lot of time as landlords of this business.

And they're putting a lot of capital and time up front, which doesn't really leave them opportunities to go do other things in retirement. Yeah. The challenge with that is as an athlete, you're making the bulk of your money. By the time you're 30. And so now the reason real estate, the investing is so popular with athletes is they are taking that lump sum payment and turning it into something that they can make back over the next, let's say 20, 25 years in rent payments.

As those mortgages start falling off, they start to actually build some equity in the business. Right. That's all great. But you know, Dan made the point that if you're going to go in there as a real estate investor, look at it like a portfolio approach instead of putting a million dollars into one apartment in one market.

Potentially work with a manager. That's going to have done the work upfront for you. Sure. You're paying some management fees, but you get a much more diversified portfolio.

Yeah, the idea of an athlete going out there, or really anyone and you have to buy a new air conditioning unit or a new fridge, or hire a handyman to fix the toilets in the unit that you own. I think pretty quickly you have a wake up call of like, what have I gotten myself into? And you're not going to experience economies of scale on that until you own.

And manage a series of properties. And so, you know, athletes got enough going on early on in their career. Just focus on what's going on on the quarter, on the field. So to get into passive real estate investing is right option for them, or they don't have to worry about all that management piece. Yes. It comes with fees.

There's a challenge with that, but they can get access to great funds like Dan's or others because of who they are. And they should leverage that. So they can start to get some of that passive income. And then by the time they retire to your point, they're getting checks versus, Oh, let's store it all away till I'm retired when I'm 40 or sorry, when I'm 50 or 60 years old, like the rest of us try to build wealth for the long term.

They want, they have a lifestyle they want to continue. And so it goes.

Yeah. And Dan worked for the LA galaxy before he became a real estate investor. And you, and I know firsthand, , the expectation, reality gap, having both worked at teams and leagues. So Tim, tell me what are some insights from your time there?

Yeah. So like that first day, when you roll up to the facility and you realize you're working for an NFL team, like I was when I was 23. It's awesome. It's great. You put the logo on your shirt. You know, for me, it was a little odd because I'm a die hard Chris fan and here I am wearing a lion symbol. So maybe that's one insight is like, if you're going to get into it and work for a team, make sure it's a team that you're super passionate about.

But what I saw was. The money flows to the players and the owners and the people around me were working 60, 70 hours a week. And they had been there for decades and they were willing to make a sacrifice because they were fans first, really, and then employees of these teams. So I think there's so many other ways to get into sport and sports business.

And that's the path in my career that I ended up taking, which I was really happy about.

I think the brand value of working in sports is there, look, I'm very grateful for the three seasons that I spent working at the NFL. And to this day, I think it opens up opportunities for me because of the network that I built there and the close relationships. I still keep with some of my colleagues who are still there.

But the biggest thing that surprised me, especially those of us that followed tech companies and sort of came up in this generation of, of technology and innovation is how conservative and frankly, slow to move teams and leagues are when it comes to new innovation. You hear about this idea of protect the shield.

Well, why is that? Because they've built this brand over many generations, they have ownership steaks from 33 different teams. So every decision has to go through multiple layers of approval.  And I think most sports teams and leagues in general, don't have the mentality of move fast and break things.

And so when you're coming in, as somebody young, and you're saying, I want to work with these startups, I want to bring these companies to bear. Let's try to do something innovative with technology. It's a lot harder to get that through. And that was a big expectation, reality gap for me.

 well that makes me think of one thing I definitely want to hit on, which is the expansion of major league soccer.

By 2023, the league will have added 10 teams in 10 years. Do you think that expansion is good for the growth of the game or bad?

Well, Tim, if you look back at the last five years, I think in 2015, when an expansion team was coming into the MLS, that cost a hundred million, I think the last 28th and 2019 costs about 200 million. And it looks like the next set of teams doesn't cost 325 million. So clearly the value of the MLS teams is going up and on the whole.

It's a good, the idea for there to be more teams, because that's more opportunities for players who played at the youth level to go pursue their dreams pro right. There's 3 million youth soccer participants in the U S more seats means more opportunity. The challenge is that. The more teams you add doesn't necessarily mean that there's going to be a quality of product.

And also it doesn't necessarily mean there's going to be enough salary for folks to pursue their dreams, professionally MLS salaries, just haven't gone up at the rate that some of the other leagues have. Thanks for the media rights. And it's a challenge when you keep adding more mouths to feed.

Yeah, I would say the most concerning thing for me is definitely the quality of the product on the field. Now I'll give the MLS some credit because they've started to really push this idea of youth development academies for each team, as well as encouraging teams to look outside of the U S for talent and teams like Atlanta United have done a good job tapping into central America and South America for talent.

But when you add more teams, there's only a finite amount of resources for those teams. And I worry that I'm not hearing enough about how MLS is going to focus on and leverage. The world cup in 2026, for example, there's been this kind of split between us soccer and the MLS. And I think that that's really bad for the growth of the game here in the States.

I think they need to figure out a way to work together and they need to make sure that this upcoming world cup does the same thing for soccer in the U S that the original one back in 92 did when the league came out of that.

no, that's it. That's a great point, Tim. One thing I want to make sure we hit on because it was big news. This week was the Diageo announced their acquisition of Ryan Reynolds, aviation gin for a whopping $610 million, three 35 up front, and then the rest of earn outs. I want to hear, how did it go down with you?

well, look, every celebrity, every athlete, everyone I've ever talked to always has this big aspiration to create a brand. Hey, look at what George Clooney did with Casa Migos. I can go do that. Look at what Rihanna has done with Fenty. I can go do that. Okay, let's see you go do it now. Dos to Ryan Reynolds and his team because he dug in, he invested his capital.

He invested his time and most of all, he put his brand on the line to see this acquisition happen, to see aviation gin, takeoff. So easier said than done. I don't know the economics of it, but clearly the is happy with how Casa Migos has played out for them. And they're hoping that this can be another success just as big as that one.

I think your point about skin in the game cannot be stressed enough. A lot of folks want to come in. We we've heard the wave of celebrity investors and the value add that celebrity investors bring. And I think what's been playing out over the last decade is actually most of them don't bring that much value, but when you start to create skin in the game and you start to say, Hey, there is meaningful equity ownership here that is investing the way it would for a normal, you know, your CTO vest, the same way that Ryan Reynolds does.

And you start to look the way that the involvement of these celebrities with skin in the game, Starts to create a halo effect around the brand. We talk about community first growth on the show, hun. And the problem with it is building a community, takes a long time. So if you're an upstart D to C brand, and you can find a cult figure or somebody who really embodies the values of your brand and you start to build a community around them and around their aura, and then you've got the distribution and you've got a really quality product.

Well, that sounds like a great cocktail for success. It's just unfortunate that not everybody can make it happen.

wow. It was a hundred percent with you until you dropped that pun. No, but it's a great point as all your points were, Jay. Thanks for joining me on this partner rundown. I'll see you next week. 

I'm going to go have a drink. 

 

so that's it for this week's episode of the game plan with Jacob  and Tim cot. Thank you for tuning in. We really enjoyed having our guests, Dan Kennedy on the show to share his journey and what he's working on today. Make sure to follow him across social media on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and a special thanks to Andrew Hayes for connecting us with Dan.

If you made it this far, you must really like what we have to say. Find us on Twitter at the game plan show and leave us a five star review on iTunes. We'll see you next week on the game plan.