Monthly Archives: February 2012

#SoccerSpeakUSA Summary – ‘Recreational vs Select Soccer’

The theme for this week’s chat was ‘Recreational vs Select Soccer’. A subject that has changed over the years due to a number of factors, with none more so prevalent than the cost, development or future pathways issue.

We knew that it was going to be another great debate when we came across the following tweet! @backseatgaffer Man, what a topic! Will be interested to see if this stays on-topic or drifts to club v. prep debate.

To those that are unfamiliar with the #SoccerSpeakUSA chats – each week we provide a summary of the chat for those that missed it including the top posts from each question. We also announce a weekly ‘Tweeter of the week’ who will be featured in this summary and goes to the person Soccer Support feels gave the best insights and responses during the hour and embodied what #SoccerSpeakUSA is setting out to achieve.

WEEK 3 SUMMARY

Q1. Does the Recreational/Select/Premier model work?

@chandrimatweets: my opinion on the rec, select, premier, and as a player, is that it gives us all a place to play.

Discussion then started to evolve into what the goals of players, parents and coaches throughout the levels were.

@backseatgaffer: If you are to have a tiered, merit-based system in youth soccer, the goal should be to advance talent.

And then like clockwork the debate started to touch on the most contentious issue of the night. Cost…

Q2. Do the costs involved with select soccer ultimately halt the progress of our most talented youth?

@justkhoai: Not everyone can afford ‘select soccer’ and talent gets overlooked.

@Deegley: We have a soccer caste system in US. If not paying to play, seen as inferior quality.

So why is it that soccer has the lowest costs to entry (eg a ball and shin pads) yet the highest costs to play?

@xDannybarajas if fees were lower or if financial aid were more readily available there would be more chances for all

And that pretty much sums it up. Opportunity. Take the NBA for example, inner-city kids from low socioeconomic backgrounds always have the opportunities to get to the elite tiers of the game. Talent above all else.

The general consensus was that the future of the game will never be optimized if there are a multitude of tiers, each with different levels of skill and costs. There is no natural flowing soccer pyramid in the U.S. with players often confused with how to best make it up the playing ladder.

Q3. Does the emphasis on winning at the select level come too early in a players development?

This question was the surprise package of the night and saw opinions divided between creating a real environment for kids and the ongoing psychological development the sport provides.

@chandrimatweets: creating as real an environment for youth soccer as possible is important. I am channeling Wynalda a bit.

@justkhoai: Win/loss (unpredictable at times) is part of life. I think ongoing development & learning is important. Always room 4 improvement.

@futboldaddy: “Win now” affects development when coaches teach the team to launch ball up the pitch to the tallest, fastest, strongest kid

And then we hit a nerve. With no real indicators of when a player should progress to the next level of development (e.g. age), discussion then centered around whether the ‘select’ level came to early in a child’s development and if the transition from recreational to select soccer teams was in fact driving players into the arms of other sports.

@RiverIsisPetal saw a solid player (had pace etc) on below average HS team. Now on Div 1 scholarship in Track & Field

@xDannybarajas: we lose all of them once they learn that other sports here in the USA have more opportunities

Q4. Do you think players are forced to join select soccer teams if they want to progress in the sport?

@backseatgaffer: Until there is an alternative mechanism to get to top level of the game, youth players have to play select.

@BlountUnitedSoc: Constant battle at a club to keep fees affordable under a non-profit structure. Money= Training, equipment & facilities.

In response to this tweet, we then opened up the debate for the last 5 minutes to discuss people’s ideas…

@backseatgaffer: More collaboration between community-based soccer and clubs, development of low-cost clubs in urban centers

@Deegley: Also more direction from US Soccer about youth dev. All levels need to talk to each other.

It was evident from this week’s chat that the development and opportunities for players are top of the list in regards to the future development of the sport or to be put simply – grassroots over elite development. In this multi-tiered and for want of a better word, fractured, soccer pyramid the U.S. currently is working with it was clear that people had some great ideas of how to put soccer back on track.

That’s why Soccer Support has launched the inaugural State of Soccer Report to conduct an annual inquiry into all soccer related matters in the USA from a grassroots perspective.

The State of Soccer Report will not be a silver bullet for the future direction of the game, but we do believe it can be the start of a new approach to the growth of soccer and a new conversation between association administrators and their fundamental stakeholder – soccer participants. Make sure you get involved and check out how to make a submission here >>> bit.ly/yojFJd

#GROWTHEGAME TWEETER OF THE WEEK

And so that brings us to the #GrowTheGame Tweeter of the week…this week we had to hand it to @chandrimatweets who was extremely busy on the night not only through her own original content, but a number of side conversations that looked at current issues and ones that may become more problematic in the future. Chandrima has won the right to promote a particular blog, website or team and she can redeem this prize by emailing info@soccersupport.us or sending @SoccerSupport a DM through Twitter with the details.

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…

#SoccerSpeakUSA returns next week (2/29/12) at the regular time and day of Wednesdays at 4:30pm PST and 7:30PM EST.

The conversation doesn’t stop there though. Fans across the country are encouraged to use the #GrowTheGame hashtag during the week to be linked with other like-minded people and talk all thing soccer.

If you would like more info on #SoccerSpeakUSA, Soccer Support, our #GrowTheGame project or perhaps to submit question 4 for next week email info@soccersupport.us

See you all next week!

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#SoccerSpeakUSA Twitter Chat Guidelines

#SOCCERSPEAKUSA FORMAT

  • The theme for the week will be announced the day before the chat begins
  • The chat starts at 4:30pm PT or 7:30pm for those on the East Coast
  • The chat lasts for 1 hour
  • 4 questions will be posted by moderators during the hour or one every 15 minutes for those playing at home

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

These chats are for the soccer community, not for Soccer Support. It’s an opportunity to bring fans together and engage in valuable and insightful discussion about the state of soccer in the U.S.

As long as everyone follows these basic guidelines then we are all going to get along just fine;

  • If you see something you like, retweet it – Sharing is caring
  • Keep your tweets as short as possible – This is important because it makes it easy for others to retweet you! Keep it to around 120 characters and then include #SoccerSpeakUSA so people can see your response.
  • If you have a reply but you didn’t answer it during the 15 minutes allotted for that specific question we still want to hear what you have to say. However we encourage users to include the #GrowTheGame hashtag instead of #SoccerSpeakUSA when responding so the current  conversation can move forward smoothly.
  • Don’t hijack the conversation – If you want to interact with someone on a separate issue you can simply remove the hashtag.
  • Please stick with the questions and themes of the week and don’t try and divert topic to another subject.
  • Acknowledge that we are all trying to #GrowTheGame in the U.S. If you disagree with a comment reply constructively not negatively.

APPS TO HELP YOU INTERACT WITH #SOCCERSPEAKUSA

We also encourage users to use TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com/) instead of using the Twitter search functionality so you can get the most out of your #SoccerSpeakUSA experience.

When you authorize TweetChat you should specify #SoccerSpeakUSA as the hashtag you’d like to follow and then begin participating. This third party app will even tag your tweets with #SoccerSpeakUSA! Who said we weren’t here to make life easier for you!

Finally, and this one is more of a tip – keep Twitter.com open in the background to keep an eye on your @replies. With the speed of some chats it can be very easy to miss but this tip will allow you to answer users back in a timely fashion.

(Last Updated 2/21/12)

The Top 50 Soccer ‘Psyche-Up’ Songs – What Would Make Your List?

We recently had one of our more unique requests find its way into our inbox here at Soccer Support and this article is the end result.

The question read something like this – “Do you have a list of soccer songs that I can play in the car on my way to the game – I want to get pumped up before I play…”

Soccer Support always loves a challenge so today we give to you a selection of 50 tracks to put on your ipod (see below in no particular order).

Do you have any suggestions on how we can expand the selection? Hit us up on Twitter @SoccerSupport or Facebook

You can also access the #soccerscores playlist on Spotify here http://spoti.fi/xQdUHS

Happy listening!

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Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Lose Yourself – Eminem

The Final Countdown – Europe

Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

Far From Over – Frank Stallone

World in Motion – New Order

Three Lions – Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds

Wavin’ Flag – K’NAAN

I Made It – Kevin Rudolf

Run This Town – Jay-Z

We Will Rock You – Queen

Hearts on Fire – John Cafferty

Training Montage – Vince DiCola

This is War – 30 Seconds To Mars

We Are The Champions – Queen

Time Is Running Out – Muse

Stronger – Kanye West

The Pretender – Foo Fighters

Club Foot – Kasabian

T.N.T – AC/DC*

Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti

War – Edwin Starr

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers

Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi

Ready To Go – Martin Solveig

Tick Tick Boom – The Hives

Holy Grail – Hunters & Collectors

Underdog – Kasabian

No Easy Way Out – Robert Tepper

Re-Wired – Kasabian

Atlantis To Interzone – Klaxons

You’re The Best – Joe Esposito

Boom – P.O.D

It’s My Life – Bon Jovi

The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco

Song 2 – Blur

Fighter – Christina Aguilera

My Hero – Foo Fighters

Invincible – Muse

Written In The Stars – Tinie Tempah

Pump It – Black Eyed Peas

Bulls On Parade – Rage Against The Machine

Back In Black – AC/DC*

Beautiful Day – U2

A Little Less Conversation – JXL

4 Minutes – Madonna

Remember The Name – Fort Minor

Not Many – Scribe

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* not available on Spotify playlist

Keen To #GrowTheGame? Then Check Out New Blog On The Block – Two Touch Pass

Every week at the conclusion of the weekly #SoccerSpeakUSA Twitter Chat, Soccer Support announces a ‘Tweeter of the Week’ – someone who we felt gave the best insights and responses during the hour and embodied what #SoccerSpeakUSA is setting out to achieve.

The winner of this award is then entitled to promote a blog, club or website through the Soccer Support channels. This weeks recipient was Diane (@Deegley) who chose to post a new blog that addresses issues about womens soccer here in the U.S. – check out the details below, and most importantly check out Two Touch Pass today!

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Please check out a brand new blog Two Touch Pass http://twotouchpass.wordpress.com/

Started as a result of the #GrowTheGame initiative, it’s a newly available platform in social media for fans to discuss, examine, and present ideas. Fans and readers are encouraged to get involved by commenting and writing about ideas on how to best help women’s soccer grow and sustain in the U.S.

Think you’ve got a good idea on how to grow the women’s game in the US? Maybe you are part of soccer program that has experienced sustained growth, or a program that just can’t seem to grow, both are worthy of examination and discussion. Maybe you haven’t played soccer a day in your life, but you’re a big fan of the women’s game and you’ve got ideas to make your experience better from a fan perspective. Bring all your ideas and opinions over to Two Touch Pass http://twotouchpass.wordpress.com/ and get involved.

Thanks again for Tweeter of the Week and a chance to spread the word about this blog. I look forward to many more chats.

Diane (@Deegley)

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#SoccerSpeakUSA returns tomorrow (2/22/12) at the regular time and day of Wednesdays at 4:30pm PST and 7:30PM EST.

The conversation doesn’t stop there though. Fans across the country are encouraged to use the #GrowTheGame hashtag during the week to be linked with other like-minded and talk all thing soccer.

If you would like more info on #SoccerSpeakUSA, Soccer Support or our #GrowTheGame project or perhaps to submit question 4 for tomorrows chat email info@soccersupport.us

State Of Soccer Report – Be The Change You Want To See In The Game

This isn’t just another blog

This is a call to action

This is about grassroots fans turning their ideas into national outcomes

And most importantly, this is about people having a say on the future of soccer in America

 

In the past 5 years, U.S. Soccer, especially the MLS, has continued to grow. Crowds and TV revenue has increased, the league has seen a strong period of expansion and genuine world-class players have decided to join the country’s premier competition. This is progress but not the level our fans are crying out for.

But what is it that fans of U.S. soccer are crying out for? Has anyone taken the time to even ask them?

Fans have longed for the opportunities to a have a say on the state of soccer in the U.S.  and to be honest, it never hurts to have a conversation about what the future might look like.

That conversation must start now and that’s why Soccer Support is proud to announce its biggest and most important project to date. The State of Soccer Report 2012.

WHY?

Has anyone ever realized that soccer’s biggest untapped resource is that of its fans? This is not a new niche market, it is an extensive network of fans, players, officials and administrators that equate to approximately 25 million people. It is also  time to acknowledge that we need to shift the focus from the top-tier of the game to assist the top-tier of the game.

Everyone has an opinion on how we can grow soccer in the U.S. but until now there has been no way of having them heard in an independent setting.

The State of Soccer Report will not be a token survey that has loaded questions which look good in an end of year report. It is a genuine consultation with the fans that will report on the current state of the game and provide informed recommendations on how the sport can be improved.

Every issue in the game is up for discussion and there are no pre-formulated outcomes – it is an open & accountable process where fans can interact with Soccer Support every step of the way.

At the end of the day we want to provide a platform that works and appeals to U.S. soccer fans and makes sure we create an avenue for simple, fun and constructive dialogue across all tiers of the game. Ideally we want to foster an environment where the voice of a fan carries the same weight as that of a MLS club CEO.

HOW?

The purpose of the national State of Soccer Report is to conduct an annual inquiry into all soccer related matters in the USA from a grassroots perspective and that the sports number one consumers (fans and players) have the opportunity to participate in an open conversation on the future of the game.

All tiers of the sport from junior development to our professional leagues will be reviewed with Soccer Support taking submissions, hearing witnesses, sifting evidence, discussing all issues in detail and formulating reasoned conclusions. The recommendations contained in this report will then be forwarded to the games administrators and other interested stakeholders as a point of reference.

Through this reporting process Soccer Support will provide a public platform for the presentation of the various views of individual fans, players and interest parties with the view that moving forward, administrators of U.S. soccer will be better informed of community issues and attitudes.

While the State of Soccer Report will not be a silver bullet for the future direction of the game we do believe it can be the start of a new approach to the growth of soccer and a new conversation between association administrators and their fundamental stakeholder – soccer participants.

TRANSPARENT & ACCOUNTABLE REPORTING

It is important that all facets of the State of Soccer Report be made an open process to ensure the integrity of its independence.

Accountability measures include;

  • All submissions will be made available online
  • The finished report will be released to the public before recommendations are forwarded to interested stakeholders
  • Public hearings – if necessary, Soccer Support will hold public hearings to gather more information on specific issues to help formulate educated and stronger recommendations. These public hearings will be streamed live.
  • The review board will be made up of ex-professional players, current coaches & CEO’s. There will also be guaranteed spots for grassroots fans and they will be selected through a nomination process later on in the year.

REPORTING IS A TWO-WAY STREET

While public submissions are integral to an independent grassroots report it is also essential that during this reporting process Soccer Support move to obtain information from peak bodies and advice from experts, administrators and coaches on all things soccer.

It is also extremely important to note that Soccer Support is not working against the direction of U.S. Soccer, the MLS, WPS or any other professional entity. We are here to serve the grassroots and provide independent and constructive advice to the upper levels of soccer in the U.S.

We all share the same ultimate goal – to see soccer grow and reach its potential in the U.S. However we believe that only through collaboration with all tiers of the game can we achieve this.

SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED

Soccer Support is now seeking submissions from interested individuals, clubs and organizations by email at submissions@soccersupport.us

Submissions must be received as an attached Adobe PDF or MS Word format document. The email must include full postal address and contact details of the person or group submitting the document so we can verify the details.

Submissions should be received by 1 June 2012. The reporting date for Soccer Support’s ‘State of Soccer’ is 30 September 2012.

Once Soccer Support accepts your submission, it becomes a confidential Soccer Support document. Your submission will also be made public on http://www.soccersupport.us If you do not want your submission made public please indicate in your email that you want it to be kept confidential.

Submissions can be as long or short as you like.

Soccer can realize its potential – with your help. That’s why we encourage fans to spread details of this report far & wide so that everyone has the opportunities to put their ideas forward. The potential for American soccer is unlimited given the size of the country, given the wealth of the country, given the demographics of the country. Only time will tell if this can be achieved but there is no doubt that together we will give it our best shot.

#SoccerSpeakUSA Summary – ‘Women in Soccer – The Road Ahead’

With all the excitement of releasing your second album but with the concern you might have been a one hit wonder,  we kicked off our second #SoccerSpeakUSA Twitter Chat. With some improvements to the overall flow of the chat, feedback from users suggest that we are on the right track to create an avenue for simple, fun and constructive dialogue, linking the grassroots and equipping them with the tools to help grow a stronger game in the U.S.

The theme for this week’s chat was ‘Women in Soccer – The Road Ahead’ which was sure to be a lively debate given the recent announcement of the WPS that it would suspend its 2012 season and that the WPSL would move to fill that void by creating a new ‘Elite League’.

To those that are unfamiliar with the #SoccerSpeakUSA chats – each week we provide a summary of the chat for those that missed it including the top 3 posts from each question. We also announce a weekly ‘Tweeter of the week’ who will be featured in this summary and goes to the person Soccer Support feels gave the best insights and responses during the hour and embodied what #SoccerSpeakUSA is setting out to achieve.

WEEK 2 SUMMARY

Q1. Who do you feel are the most influential people online in Womens Soccer?

@futboldaddy: There’s lots & I’m finding more all the time. @jeffkassouf @jenna_awk @womenssoccerunited @juliefoudy

@Deegley: The fans. They circulate petitions, tweet fox soccer into submission and let us soccer know what they want

Discussion then centered around where people are influential online and what that essential communication mix needed to be. It was widely agreed that Facebook is like reading the paper & Twitter is like watching the news with more immediate impact. From that point on users started looking into the issues of transparency and accountability when explaining how influence can be harnessed to help grow the game.

@justkhoai: Transparency=def important! Got 2 hold every1, including fans, accountable 4 getting leagues and sport 2 grow.

Q2. Should #WPS return in 2013 or should we look to continue/develop #WPSL Elite League

@Gillian_E_Dubbs: We need #WPS back…no doubt…BUT with the right business plan. WPSL should continue development, but def need #WPS back

Users were almost unanimously in favour of bringing back the WPS for 2013 but it was also acknowledged that the WPSL & W-League would play an important role for 2012, especially with the London Olympics just around the corner. This was probably the most exciting part of the night so we would be doing this summary a disservice if we didn’t touch on some of the major issues flagged during the chat. These included;

• The WPS marketing strategy

• If the WPS should continue offering franchises or have clubs develop on their own merits

• That the WPSL Elite League should continue as a stepping stone for clubs to enter WPS in future seasons

• That the WPS was never really a national competition due to the lack of West Coast teams

We then retweeted a post earlier in the week from Charlie Naimo, who was the former General Manager of the Los Angeles Sol and current head coach of W-League LA Blues. “There are just too many people doing their own thing in womens soccer right now- the top people need to come together or its over”

@backseatgaffer: I think trying to limit who’s in the room (the top people thing) produces tunnelvision/in-fighting. #SoccerSpeakUSA

@Deegley: Really, who gets to decide who is in the room anyway. Let them compete in the marketplace

Interesting that we end question 2 on the merits of a free market economy but that’s the beauty of #SoccerSpeakUSA!

Q3. Has the continued success of the #USWNT been detrimental or beneficial to U.S. professional soccer domestically?

@CarolinaHookMan: I think it’s DEFINITELY raised awareness 4 US Soccer & Women’s soccer

The simple answer was always going to be yes – but did the ongoing national success give people a false sense of a healthy WPS? A number of users all mentioned that the WPS could have done better in terms of their marketing strategy and gone one step further by building franchises around certain USWNT players.

@hercircumstance: Players should be complimenting a marketing plan already in place. Can’t be expected to fix what WPS stank at

One of the biggest untapped resources of the game is that of its fans and it was discussed whether an open process and new conversation between all stakeholders of the game could have a positive impact on the future directions of women’s soccer in the U.S.

@IT2theDLeon future of soccer is dependent on movements like #growthegame & determined fans. media, plyrs only part of ansr

@Gillian_E_Dubbs: I make submissions even when they don’t open it up to us. If they opened it to us I wouldn’t shut up.

So with all that energy in the grassroots of the game it was perfect timing that our last question for the night asked the very honest question of ‘what would you do?’

#SoccerSpeakUSA opens the floor to Tweeps each week to encourage more diversity in the questions being asked. Q4 sees @KimTateSports ask…

Q4: What will you do to support Women’s soccer in absence of #WPS

@chandrimatweets: looking to push traditional print media and online media on publishing MLS and WPS/W-League stories.

@futboldaddy: Keep talking about it! Using any available platform: blogs, twitter, fb, etc… Go to games (WPSL, W-League, USWNT)…

It was widely acknowledged that continuing to promote soccer was the best way to grow the game.

@connectingwomen: Soccer has been steadily growing in the USA. More info is still needed

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. The USWNT sells itself while the WPS needs to make a stronger commitment to advertising as part of a concerted effort to create a bigger market share for its franchises. Leaving clubs to promote themselves only leads to exposure in small markets and not the women’s game as a whole.

At the conclusion of this week’s discussion it was clearly evident that there is a genuine passion for the womens side of the game. Those that participated in the chat didn’t see the failure of WPS in 2012 as a fatal wound for the domestic game, more of an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and focus on the basics of a strong and sustainable league. Hopefully #SoccerSpeakUSA has been the catalyst for people to get together and start making noise at the grassroots for change.

This week’s chat was a great advertisement for the power of online organizing. At the end of the day, we here at Soccer Support want to provide platforms that work and most of all appeal to U.S. soccer fans across all tiers of the game.

#GROWTHEGAME TWEETER OF THE WEEK

And so that brings us to the #GrowTheGame Tweeter of the week…this week we had to hand it to @Deegley who had some very honest viewpoints on the current state of the womens game. She also hit the nail on the head when she mentioned that the fans were the most influential people in the game today. The sooner we all realize this, the better. @Deegley has won the right to promote a particular blog, website or team and she can redeem this prize by emailing info@soccersupport.us or sending @SoccerSupport a DM through Twitter with the details.

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…

#SoccerSpeakUSA returns next week (2/22/12) at the regular time and day of Wednesdays at 4:30pm PST and 7:30PM EST.

The conversation doesn’t stop there though. Fans across the country are encouraged to use the #GrowTheGame hashtag during the week to be linked with other like-minded people and talk all thing soccer.

If you would like more info on #SoccerSpeakUSA, Soccer Support, our #GrowTheGame project or perhaps to submit question 4 for next week email info@soccersupport.us

See you all next week!

Join The Conversation: ‘Women In Soccer – The Road Ahead’ Tomorrow With Soccer Support

Soccer Support’s new Twitter Chat returns tomorrow (2/15/12) at the regular time and day of Wednesdays at 4:30pm PST and 7:30PM EST.

Due to the success of the first event we asked a few of the participants how they felt we could improve it for the second round of conversations scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday 15th February).  From this feedback we have decided to make the following improvements;

  • We will be changing the name of the chat from #SoccerSoapbox to #SoccerSpeakUSA to avoid confusion with different names for the chat and our popular blog title. It will also help users locate the blog quicker when searching for the summary.
  • We will be announcing the subject of the chat 24 hours prior to the first question to maximize those that have a particular passion for that subject or would like to suggest question 4 (always a guest question).

At the end of the day we want to provide a platform that works and appeals to U.S. soccer fans and makes sure we create an avenue for simple, fun and constructive dialogue across all tiers of the game.

The theme for this week’s chat is ‘Women in Soccer – The Road Ahead’

As always – we encourage users to follow the chats guidelines and use the TweetChat App to enhance your #SoccerSpeakUSA experience (included below)

If you would like more info on #SoccerSpeakUSA, Soccer Support or our #GrowTheGame project or perhaps to submit question 4 for this week’s discussion email info@soccersupport.us

We look forward to chatting with you tomorrow!

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#SOCCERSPEAKUSA FORMAT

  • The theme for the week will be announced 30 minutes before the chat begins
  • The chat starts at 4:30pm PT or 7:30pm for those on the East Coast
  • The chat lasts for 1 hour
  • 4 questions will be posted by moderators during the hour or one every 15 minutes for those playing at home

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

These chats are for the soccer community, not for Soccer Support. It’s an opportunity to bring fans together and engage in valuable and insightful discussion around the state of soccer in the U.S. And as long as everyone follows these basic guiding principles then we are all going to get along just fine;

  • If you see something you like, retweet it – Sharing is caring
  • Keep your tweets as short as possible – This is important because it makes it easy for others to retweet you! Keep it to around 120 characters and then include #SoccerSpeakUSA so people can see your response.
  • If you have a reply but you didn’t answer it during the 15 minutes allotted for that specific question we still want to hear what you have to say. However we encourage users to include the #GrowTheGame hashtag instead of #SoccerSpeakUSA when responding so the current  conversation can move forward smoothly.
  • Don’t hijack the conversation – If you want to interact with someone on a separate issue you can simply remove the hashtag.
  • Please stick with the questions and themes of the week and don’t try and divert topic to another subject.
  • Acknowledge that we are all trying to #GrowTheGame in the U.S. If you disagree with a comment reply constructively not negatively.

APPS TO HELP YOU INTERACT WITH #SOCCERSPEAKUSA

We also encourage users to use TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com/) instead of using the Twitter search functionality so you can get the most out of your #SoccerSpeakUSA experience.

When you authorize TweetChat you should specify #SoccerSpeakUSA as the hashtag you’d like to follow and then begin participating. This third party app will even tag your tweets with #SoccerSpeakUSA! Who said we weren’t here to make life easier for you!

Finally, and this one is more of a tip – keep Twitter.com open in the background to keep an eye on your @replies. With the speed of some chats it can be very easy to miss but this tip will allow you to answer users back in a timely fashion.

Revisioning Women’s Soccer in Milwaukee

Every week at the conclusion of the weekly #SoccerSoapbox Twitter Chat, Soccer Support announces a ‘Tweeter of the Week’ – someone who we felt gave the best insights and responses during the hour and embodied what #SoccerSoapbox is setting out to achieve.

The winner of this award is then entitled to promote a blog, club or website through the Soccer Support channels. This weeks recipient was Scott Viar from Milwaukee (@backseatgaffer) who chose to post his blog on womens soccer and the potential for a WPSL team in Milwaukee. A great #GrowTheGame story and we wish Scott all the best on his new project!

Revisioning Women’s Soccer in Milwaukee

(originally posted via WomensSoccerUnited.com)

In the spring of 2008, after spending some time working for a soccer club in Buffalo, NY, I returned to the Midwest due to a family crisis. On my way back from the east coast, I began to ponder what my next move in soccer might be. I had gotten an epiphany while in Buffalo after scanning college rosters in the development of a women’s team to play in a regional league that summer with a move to the WPSL the following year (the men’s team at the club was entering its second season in the NPSL, and that eventual move ended up being kiboshed due to the birth of the Buffalo (now Western New York Flash). After finding approximately 45 women from the area that had played college soccer the previous fall via team websites, I realized that NOT ONE OF THEM had attended a Buffalo public high school. Having coached at a public high school in my hometown of Milwaukee, WI (not coincidentally the same school from which I graduated) and having had players move onto the college ranks from our squads, in my mind there was no reason why “city” players could not make that jump given the more than 1000 colleges in the US that have women’s soccer teams in both the NCAA and NAIA. If there was a reason why urban soccer players were not at the level necessary to play college soccer, then there needed to be a means to remedy that. Enter my next move.

On that train trip to Minneapolis, I began to flesh out the idea of a women’s soccer club that would play in the WPSL with a roster based on the residents of the area, with a tiered approach of selection/inclusion whereby college players from Milwaukee public high schools would be first in line rather than last if at all considered. The club would be community-owned, would have a community service and philanthropic focus, and would attempt to expand playing opportunities for the less-well-off. It was an ambitious undertaking. In fact, too ambitious and too regimented. Having created this idea in a bubble, 350 miles away from where it was to be implemented, I did not take into account the number of potential and actual roadblocks that would exist as I seeked to bring this idea to reality (raising funds, finding fellow advocates for this, organizational rules and logistics that precluded entry to the state’s women’s league). After relocating back to Milwaukee in June of 2009 and going non-stop for the better part of 18 months on getting SOMETHING off the ground, I shelved the idea and thought I was done with trying to bring about this urban women’s soccer club dream.

Fast-forward to the here and now. A fellow blogger here at Women’s Soccer United, Shawn Daugherty, and I had been discussing the lack of women’s soccer on the Great Plains beyond the college level (I had started my undergraduate education at Drake University in Des Moines and had some degree of understanding of the regional terrain). From those conversations came his desire to launch a WPSL team in Kansas City and my desire to help him branch out to other cities in the hope of establishing a division within the league consisting of teams from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. As Shawn and his local group have started to develop plans for the Kansas City team, some of their ideas have stoked in me a need to revisit my original plan for Milwaukee WPSL and see if, after stripping away all the extraneous projects and ideas that I had added to the table (and which in hindsight didn’t leave room for others to help shape it), there might be a way to move forward with it at this time.

I am starting more or less with a blank slate, with little more than the desire to expand playing opportunities for women in my hometown beyond those currently offered. Suggestions are welcomed, help is welcomed, and hopefully a fresh look at this notion a few years after its original penning will finally give it launch.

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#SoccerSoapbox returns next week (2/15/12) at the regular time and day of Wednesdays at 4:30pm PST and 7:30PM EST.

The conversation doesn’t stop there though. Fans across the country are encouraged to use the #GrowTheGame hashtag during the week to be linked with other like-minded and talk all thing soccer.

If you would like more info on #SoccerSoapbox, Soccer Support or our #GrowTheGame project or perhaps to submit question 4 for next week email info@soccersupport.us

#SoccerSoapbox Summary – ‘Soccer & Social Media’

Wednesday 8 February. Write that date down – it was the start of a new grassroots conversation for U.S. Soccer.

A new niche avenue online for people to share their experiences about the sport while linking with fellow fans across the country kicked-off last night. #SoccerSoapbox arrived for one hour, asked 4 questions and then what transpired was informed and passionate responses about the current state of soccer and more importantly ideas and insights into how it can be improved for the future.

For something that was announced 24 hours prior, and given the feedback we here at Soccer Support received at the chats conclusion, it was a pretty successful first outing for #SoccerSoapbox. The conversation ran smoothly, respondents were courteous and engaging, and best of all, new contacts were found in an ever increasing U.S. soccer family!

To kick off the first event we thought the theme should be an easy introduction rather than a prevailing and contentious issue that exists in the game today. Therefore ‘Soccer and Social Media’ was chosen for the first ever #SoccerSoapbox.

Each week we will provide a summary of the chat for those that missed it including the top 3 posts from each question. We will also announce a weekly ‘#GrowTheGame Tweeter of the week’ who will be featured in this summary and will go to the person Soccer Support feels gave the best insights and responses during the hour and embodied what #SoccerSoapbox is setting out to achieve.

WEEK 1 SUMMARY

Q1: How can we optimize our grassroots fans impact on soccer through Twitter?

@Longshoe: #SoccerSoapBox Events like this give grassroots fans a voice, access to major stakeholders in US soccer, strength in numbers

@soccerstreets: #SoccerSoapbox Twitter has increased awareness of @soccerstreets and led to program partnerships, donations, and volunteers.

@joshhakala: If teams AT LEAST used Twitter/FB, it would be easier for media (like @USOpenCup) & blogs to cover them. Very easy & costs $0 #soccersoapbox

We then asked participants a supplementary question – looking for examples of how Twitter has led to new partnerships being formed and projects being established.

@FlashSoccerCEO: Recent example: met an architect in Kansas City who may be helping with our plans to build a SSS in San Diego #soccersoapbox

Q2: Who do you believe is the most influential online voice for soccer in the U.S. at the moment & why?

@chandrimatweets: @klout some names pop up frequently- broadcasters for sports networks. They get the message out to the masses! #SoccerSoapbox

@KimTateSports: @warrenbarton2 also good resource bc of familiarity w/ English culture & experience in US; knows both markets. #credibility

(cont) which is helpful when advising how to #growthegame from a fan and developmental standpoint.

@backseatgaffer: Q2 I think @duresport and @jeffkassouf have been instrumental in exposing the WPS kerfuffle and promoting women’s soccer. #soccersoapbox

We couldn’t have asked for a better segue than that for Question 3…

Q3: Could social media have played a bigger role in saving the 2012 #WPS season?

@futboldaddy: Social media will play a role for #WPS, but league leadership has to help drive and focus it. #soccersoapbox

@PenaltyHick: A change of attitude toward women’s sport in general is needed in the US #SoccerSoapbox

@JeffKassouf: Business problems are way bigger than anything social media can do, regardless of how influential it is. We’re talking $ #soccersoapbox #WPS

#SoccerSoapbox always opens up Q4 to the fans. This week we see @PenaltyHick offer the following thought provoker…

Q4: Why dont US pro soccer players get social media training? Role models are best 2 promote the game right?

@backseatgaffer: I’d say the teams are the best to set min. standard for SM usage and educate players, thus should take lead. #soccersoapbox

@chandrimatweets: @futboldaddy really? I missed that one. Still, it’s keeping it REAL which is what makes twitter unique. #SoccerSoapbox

@chandrimatweets: Teams have asked players to delete tweets for less. Certainly players’ wives have 😛 #soccersoapbox

As you can see from the above dialogue we witnessed a free flowing and constructive conversation about online influence and the potential power of it to drive real outcomes for soccer in the U.S.

Could it have made a difference in saving the #WPS season – not entirely, but it could have flagged that it had issues and signaled to supporters and sponsors that they needed help. As for media training for players, this is definitely one to think about for those that draw up the professional contracts but as @chandrimatweets mentioned, it’s the real conversations that make social media so great. The last thing fans would want from their idols are 140 character standard responses from a clubs PR department.

#GROWTHEGAME TWEETER OF THE WEEK

And so that brings us to the #GrowTheGame Tweeter of the week…this week we had to hand it to @backseatgaffer who was there from the start of the chat to the very end. Commenting on all questions put forward and receiving/giving out a healthy amount of replies in the process. The prize is the chance to promote a particular blog, website or team and Scott can redeem his prize by emailing info@soccersupport.us or sending @SoccerSupport a DM through Twitter with the details.

TIPS FOR FUTURE CHATS

A number of tweets were lost to participants of the chat by users not using the #SoccerSoapbox hashtag. We encourage users to use TweetChat.com to enhance your chat experience due to the ease of reply, retweeting and the fact this third party app even tags your tweets with #SoccerSoapbox!

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…

#SoccerSoapbox returns next week (2/15/12) at the regular time and day of Wednesdays at 4:30pm PST and 7:30PM EST.

The conversation doesn’t stop there though. Fans across the country are encouraged to use the #GrowTheGame hashtag during the week to be linked with other like-minded and talk all thing soccer.

If you would like more info on #SoccerSoapbox, Soccer Support or our #GrowTheGame project or perhaps to submit question 4 for next week email info@soccersupport.us

See you all next week!

Get On Your #SoccerSoapbox Today & Share Your Views About The State Of U.S. Soccer

soap·box/ˈsōpˌbäks/

Noun:

1. A box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker.

2. A thing that provides an opportunity for someone to air their views publicly.

Hot on the heels of the #IfSoccerTrendsDuringSuperBowl* hashtag it was clear to us here at Soccer Support that we needed to create more avenues for fans to talk about their love for the game and create another fun and simple platform for users to speak openly and honestly about the state of soccer here in the U.S.

That’s why we are proud to be launching project number 2 tonight on Twitter (at 4:30pm PT/7:30pm ET). The first of a weekly series of Twitter Chats, we are encouraging fans to share their visions and experiences about the sport while linking with fellow fans across the country to discuss ways they can help #GrowTheGame.

Some of you might be asking right now what is a Twitter Chat and how to I participate…which is indeed a good question!

A Twitter Chat is a discussion surrounding a hashtag (#SoccerSoapbox) that is regularly scheduled (Wednesdays) and in this case, moderated by Soccer Support. Discussions are based on a soccer related theme announced prior to the chat beginning with moderators then asking a series of questions that are answered by you, the participant.

#SOCCERSOAPBOX FORMAT

  • The theme for the week will be announced 30 minutes before the chat begins
  • The chat starts at 4:30pm PT or 7:30pm for those on the East Coast
  • The chat lasts for 1 hour
  • 4 questions will be posted by moderators during the hour or one every 15 minutes for those playing at home

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

These chats are for the soccer community, not for Soccer Support. It’s an opportunity to bring fans together and engage in valuable and insightful discussion around the state of soccer in the U.S. And as long as everyone follows these basic guiding principles then we are all going to get along just fine;

  • If you see something you like, retweet it – Sharing is caring
  • Keep your tweets as short as possible – This is important because it makes it easy for others to retweet you! Keep it to around 120 characters and then include #SoccerSoapbox so people can see your response.
  • If you have a reply but you didn’t answer it during the 15 minutes allotted for that specific question we still want to hear what you have to say. However we encourage users to include the #GrowTheGame hashtag instead of #SoccerSoapbox when responding so the current  conversation can move forward smoothly.
  • Don’t hijack the conversation – If you want to interact with someone on a separate issue you can simply remove the hashtag.
  • Please stick with the questions and themes of the week and don’t try and divert topic to another subject.
  • Acknowledge that we are all trying to #GrowTheGame in the U.S. If you disagree with a comment reply constructively not negatively.

APPS TO HELP YOU INTERACT WITH #SOCCERSOAPBOX

We also encourage users to use TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com/) instead of using the Twitter search functionality so you can get the most out of your #SoccerSoapbox experience.

When you authorize TweetChat you should specify #SoccerSoapbox as the hashtag you’d like to follow and then begin participating. This third party app will even tag your tweets with #SoccerSoapbox! Who said we weren’t here to make life easier for you!

Finally, and this one is more of a tip – keep Twitter.com open in the background to keep an eye on your @replies. With the speed of some chats it can be very easy to miss but this tip will allow you to answer users back in a timely fashion.

POST-CHAT REPORTING

The conversation doesn’t end there though! Soccer Support will produce a weekly summary at the conclusion of every Twitter Chat that shares the highlights from every question and more and will be found right here on SoccerSpeakUSA. We will also announce a weekly #GrowTheGame supporter of the week who will be featured in our summary. This will go to the person Soccer Support feels gave the best insights and responses during the hour and embodied what #SoccerSoapbox is setting out to achieve.

#SoccerSoapbox is just one of the projects being launched by Soccer Support USA this year which facilitates open conversations about soccer and will see fans, volunteers and clubs interact in ways never seen before.

So log in every Wednesday at 4:30pm PT/7:30pm ET and join in the conversation!

* with some great viral marketing we saw #IfSoccerTrendsDuringSuperBowl have 958 tweets, 615 RT, 381 contributors & 50 links and #GrowTheGame have 99 tweets, 41 contributors & 50 retweets at the conclusion of Sunday’s game.