The Great Franchisees: David and Ann Bagan, Amazing Athletes, Kansas City
Last year, David and Ann Bagan saw enrollment double at their Kansas City Amazing Athletes franchise. Now, the husband-and-wife franchisee team is leveraging that success to open their second location with the fast-growing children’s sports concept backed by multi-brand sports franchisor Youth Athletes United.
David played professional soccer in Scotland for 16 years before moving to the United States to coach the sport. After moving to Kansas City with Ann and their children, David retired from coaching and started his own soccer enrichment program. In the fall of 2020, he received an email from Amazing Athletes CEO Adam Geisler inviting him to learn more about the brand. Impressed by the curriculum and business model, Bagan and his wife opened their first Amazing Athletes location in Kansas City. On New Year’s Eve 2021, the husband-wife duo signed to open their second territory.
1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?
David Bagan: I grew up in Scotland and played professional soccer for 16 years. I played a majority of my career for Kilmarnock F.C. and was part of the team that won the Scotland Cup in 1997. After retiring from professional soccer, I moved to Washington D.C. to coach youth soccer to young kids all the way up to the collegiate level. We moved to Kansas City in 2019 and I started a soccer enrichment program for kids, Soccer Stars KC.
Ann Bagan: I work as a government contractor but help David with back-office and administrative functions when it comes to the business. When we moved to Kansas City to be closer to my parents, he decided to stop coaching and open his own business. My professional work experience is a nice complement to David’s coaching experience. I can help navigate the ins and outs of running a business while David can focus on running the program and getting new business.
1851: How did you initially find out about franchising?
David: Towards the end of 2020, I received an email from Adam Geisler, CEO of Amazing Athletes, asking if we would be interested in becoming part of the franchise. We were impressed with their program and the ability to offer ten different sports to children through one program.
1851: Why did you pick franchising over starting your own business?
David: I did have my own business but by becoming a franchisee with Amazing Athletes, I’m able to serve more children with a more extensive curriculum.
1851: When did you start looking for a franchise? How long until you signed?
David: We never really thought about franchising until Amazing Athletes reached out to us in the fall of 2020, as they did not have any franchisees in the area. At that point, we started looking into it more and were very impressed with everything the brand had to offer. We felt like it had everything we needed to take our business to the next level with marketing, support, brand awareness, curriculum, and more options for kids. We signed the contract in early January 2021. It was around 3 months before we signed.
1851: How did you perform your research?
David: We reached out to a number of current franchisees to ask questions and get a feel for the brand. Everyone we spoke to was open, transparent, and extremely positive regarding Youth Athletes United and our Amazing Athletes brand.
1851: Why did you pick Amazing Athletes? What excited you most about the potential?
David: From the beginning, I’ve loved everything about Amazing Athletes. The corporate team is very impressive and invested in seeing the success of franchisees in the system. Ann and I began talking with the team and they were transparent and easy to connect with. We started in the middle of a pandemic so there were a lot of unknowns, but we’ve seen success with the brand and just closed on our second territory on December 31st, 2021. The support we received with social media and marketing was extremely helpful as well.
Ann: David is great with coaching and connecting with the children but Amazing Athletes gives us a blueprint for how to be successful. We have three children, and our five-year-old participates in Amazing Athletes. I love how he gets to learn and play multiple sports but also gain fundamental knowledge and skills. It’s not only a sports program but teaches children about leading a healthy lifestyle; they learn the benefits of fruits and vegetables in addition to learning about their muscles.
1851: What could have scared you away from the opportunity?
David: I didn’t have any fears, it felt right from the beginning. However, Ann took a little more convincing. I spoke with John and Paul initially and I was very impressed. The level of detail in the curriculum, the support franchisees have from corporate, and the plans for the future had me excited to move forward. John and Paul were both very professional, accessible, and easy to communicate with. Ann’s initial concerns were wanting to know what the franchise could do that we couldn’t already do ourselves and then, of course, the financial commitment. I set up a meeting for her to discuss with Amazing Athletes and it didn’t take long for her to see the value and get excited about it as well.
1851: What trends are you seeing in your local community?
David: Parents in the community are eager to get their kids back into organized sports programs after being isolated throughout the pandemic. Kansas City is also a huge sports city, so we have a lot of kids who grow up watching sports and Amazing Athletes gives them the chance to try multiple activities.
1851: What kind of growth has your business seen since you opened?
David: The number of kids enrolled in Amazing Athletes has doubled over the past year. We’ve partnered with local schools in the Kansas City community, including homeschooling pods. We have the fortunate problem of needing to expand our coaching staff to keep up with demand. We’d love to bring on another four to five coaches.
1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?
Ann: We just opened our second territory, so we’ll focus on expanding in our local community for the time being.
1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?
David: My biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to join the Amazing Athletes team is to do it, but make sure you hire great coaches!
1851: What do you do in your personal time?
Ann: We have three children, a 19-year-old who attends college in Scotland, a five-year-old, and a one-year-old who keeps us busy. We love spending time with our family and being active in the community.
About Youth Athletes United
Established youth sports and activities brands Amazing Athletes, Soccer Stars, TGA Premiere and JumpBunch come together under parent company, Youth Athletes United. With 15 – 20 years of success for each individual brand, a total 200+ locations and 200,000+ children instructed nationwide each year, Youth Athletes United has earned trust in each community they touch. The brand’s overarching mission is to help the world understand that everyone is an athlete and ultimately impact the lives of over one million children.