Soccer Shots franchise owner Ryan Murphy has had a lifelong passion for the sport. For nearly four decades, Murphy was either a player, coach, official, or mentor, an obsession that lasted right through an illustrious career in the military. As many veterans are aware, the transition to civilian life can be the most challenging mission of all. But for Murphy, franchise ownership was a gift – especially for someone with the amount of business ownership experience he had up to that point – zero. Find out how Ryan Murphy went from an admirable and experienced military career to becoming a multi-unit owner of Soccer Shots. He now owns 10 Soccer Shots franchise establishments across two states.
A Career on–and Under–the High Seas
Ryan Murphy attended Texas A&M University on an ROTC scholarship, then got a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University. Upon graduation, he received a commission in the U.S. Navy, where he served over ten years on active duty and another 10+ in the U.S. Naval Reserves. His tours of duty took him around the world, serving deployments on the USS MEMPHIS (SSN 691) above the water and the USS MARYLAND (SSBN738) below it. He steamed through the Persian Gulf, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, earning recognition for his superior level of service. Murphy was bestowed with two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, and a Navy Achievement Medal, and was part of the crew that won the Battenburg Cup, presented to the best ship in the Navy (submarine or surface vessel) and the Omaha Trophy, presented to the best strategic deterrent asset in the military. When he wasn’t being singled out and decorated for his service, he somehow also found the time to become a first-time business owner with Soccer Shots.
An Appealing Pitch Leads to Soccer Shots Franchise Ownership
It’s well known that soccer is played on a “pitch,” or field. But what first interested Murphy in Soccer Shots was the pitch he received in an online ad. “The overall concept really appealed to me. What caught my eye was an early Facebook ad that said something along the lines of ‘Do you love soccer? Do you love to coach? Do you want to own your own business?’ To which I replied yes to all three! It really came down to the people that I worked with early on that were organized, considerate, and energetic. That sold me on the concept and on this business in particular. We spent three days in Pennsylvania for operations training, and then a Soccer Shots representative flew down to Florida to spend the day selling to potential clients. As we have grown as a community, the initial training has become more robust, and as I’ve opened my expansion territories over the years, Soccer Shots has provided additional and improved support. Early on, we were assigned mentors as well, and that took the company to a whole new level.”
Taking on the Concept of Business Ownership “Head On”
Like everything else in Ryan Murphy’s life, he completely immersed himself in the Soccer Shots experience. Even though business ownership was new to him, he approached it the same way he did any mission or challenge he received in his military career. And did so with near-identical levels of success. When he opened his first two locations, Murphy was still full-time in the military. But he poured his heart into building up the business and making certain he’d succeed in this new venture. Early on, he fell back on his training that had taught him the value of teamwork. “As one grows into a larger and more profitable company, you have to learn to trust and delegate because now you cannot do it all alone. You start to build your team. They are young, they are green, but you have to trust them. They will fail, they will make a mistake you wouldn’t have, but that’s okay. This is how they will learn and improve. The next level is that explosion of success, growing into a corporation. Now as we’ve grown into a multi-state franchisee, operating ten franchises across two states, we have to be ready to lead strategically. Thinking in the big picture, setting the tone of business through the generation and continual use of a vision and core values, and leading your teams of teams takes an advanced level of knowledge and leadership.” What’s Ryan Murphy’s advice for other franchise owners just starting out? “Don’t wait until you’re ready to be a big business to start educating yourself about leadership. Start the process even before you open your business.”
What Makes Veterans a Good Fit for Franchise Ownership?
According to Ryan Murphy, there are many similarities in military service and franchise ownership, including lessons learned that lend themselves to running a tight ship, so to speak. “Veterans have always had a ‘boss,’ some supervisor who is a few years older, maybe only one tour of duty older, who may or may not have been competent. Now through franchise ownership, you are slightly free of that, but you’ll still have to work within the franchise system, and you’ll still have a ‘boss.’ It’s just that now that boss becomes your clients, and you get the honor and privilege to serve them each and every day.”