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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.