Monthly Archives: March 2012

#SoccerSpeakUSA Summary (3/21) – ‘The US Soccer Pyramid’

Never a supporter of a mellow Twitter Chat we decided to crank up the tempo by introducing one of those sticky subjects associated with the game. The topic for this weeks #SoccerSpeakUSA was the US Soccer Pyramid.

The most trust worthy source of information out there on the internets (Wikipedia) described the US Soccer Pyramid as a term used in soccer to describe the structure of the league system in the United States. The country’s governing body for the sport, the United States Soccer Federation (also known as the USSF or US Soccer), oversees the system but does not operate any of its component leagues—with one temporary exception noted below. For practical and historical reasons, some teams from Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Canada and Puerto Rico (considered a separate country for sporting purposes) also compete, but they are not eligible for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is open only to teams affiliated with US Soccer.

The pyramid’s top level (commonly referred to as a tier or division), Major League Soccer, has a fixed number of teams with no merit-based promotion possible from the North American Soccer League (NASL), the second-level league. It also had no merit-based promotion from the third-level league, the USL Pro, which is operated by the United Soccer Leagues (USL). The closed league system is also used for the fourth tier, the USL Premier Development League, as well as the National Premier Soccer League, which both have fourth-tier sanctioning from the USSF. The United States Adult Soccer Association, encompassing tiers five to nine, uses an open league model for their leagues under the merit of promotion and relegation. However, a fifth tier USASA team cannot earn promotion to NPSL or the PDL.

The overall effectiveness of the current pyramid should be looked at through the eyes of a child. If we were to rewind to when we were 7 years old and harbored those grand ambitions to be a professional soccer player – could you realistically see a clear path there? Should it be a smooth transition from youth to academies to pro teams? What about college? The list of different, often disjointed paths are cause for much debate. Now we take that debate online…

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 7 SUMMARY

 Q1. How would you describe the U.S. #soccer pyramid as it stands today?

@backseatgaffer Disconnected, broken. No vertical integration up and down the pyramid, few means to get into it and advance.

@ttillette inverted with end-result on top & development as secondary to wins #realtalk. There has to be a clear path to take if someone wants to go pro and there isn’t.

Q2. How do you think our pyramid stacks up against European structures for example?

@backseatgaffer Our system is every-man-for-itself, isolationist, with no connection to leagues/orgs ahead or behind

@Will_Stevenson4 We tend to forget what made the USA such a great place was diversity. The best of all worlds

@jdevereux not sure Euro is helpful comparison, think we should look at stronger regional organization though USYS regions may not be best regions to start with.

@ShazzKhann It’s different, Europe is in a different class. The structure, playing style and format is always developing.

Users then talked about how the world perceives us and whether the success of the sport in the USA is important to FIFA.

The consensus was that everyone wants the sport to be a success given the size of the country, the wealth of the country etc. A cultural shift is what is needed and this ultimately takes time.

Q3. If you were head of @ussoccer how would you improve (if indeed needed) the pathways/structure of soccer in U.S?

@CarolinaHookMan More time spent on SUPPORT, not just governance…

@backseatgaffer A single over structure in the adult game (for both men and women) that connects all clubs in pyramid and allows clubs to go up and down the pyramid based on desire and results, not wealth.

@88MPHMcFly pay more attention to low income/resource areas. Sadly sometimes it’s the old privilege/who do you know game.

Q4: Would you make a submission to an independently organized national enquiry into the game? Like the @StateOfSoccer Report?

@ttillette ABSOLUTELY!! As a soccer dad, junkie, coach – just wanna know WHAT WORKS BEST??

@CarolinaHookMan I would & will make a submission on b half of American Amp Soccer Assn Shameless plug but we actively encourage tweeps to check out the #StateOfSoccer Report – a huge opportunity for grassroots soccer fans, players and administrators to convey their opinions on how we can #GrowTheGame http://t.co/2jPGtBb6

SUMMARY

It seems widely agreed that there is no clear path for player development. With a complex junior system and the college anomaly making it difficult for talented players to decide which way is best for their own progression in the game, it is clear there is some real confusion and frustration amongst the soccer community. Sadly there is no silver bullet but it looks like it may be time there was a serious review into the grassroots of the game.

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…

#SoccerSpeakUSA returns next week (3/28/12) 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 a question for next week email info@soccersupport.us

See you all next week!

Support Those That Support The #GrowTheGame Movement…

With the second announcement of the #GrowTheGame San Diego Pilot fast approaching we take the time to reflect on the organizations that are already on board with the event and doing great things for soccer in San Diego.

Fans, players and clubs in San Diego are encouraged to get involved with local celebrations through www.growthegame.us to help soccer in San Diego reach its potential. A range of resources are also available to help participants host and promote their own events.

1.  San Diego Flash Soccer Club

About:

The San Diego Flash is a Men’s Outdoor Professional Soccer Club based in San Diego, California.

Soccer operations are guided by Head Coach and Director of Player Development; Warren Barton and Player Talent Coordinator; Eric Wynalda.

Both played the sport of soccer at the highest levels in the world (English National Team / Premier League and US National Team / Major League Soccer; respectively) and are highly respected soccer analysts for Fox Soccer Channel.

In the 1st year of league play in the National Premier Soccer League, the Flash won the 2011 Southwest Division Championship with a regular season record of 12 – 1 – 1.

Through the connections of Messrs. Barton and Wynalda, Flash players have a unique opportunity to get exposure and be referred to play at higher levels (i.e. Major League Soccer, US Men’s National Team, Internationally, etc).

The Flash operates in the #1 youth soccer market in the United States and is at the top of the soccer pyramid as the Pro Club for San Diego. In 2011 the club established the San Diego Flash Youth Soccer Club Network to affiliate with the over 50 established Youth Soccer Clubs in San Diego County.

The SD Flash Soccer Club is owned by SDSP Soccer Marketing, Inc. (SDSP). SDSP is a Sports and Marketing firm. In addition to the Club and Academy Network, it also owns and operates several Internet Properties. SDSP is in the process of making the San Diego Flash the 1st Publicly Traded Soccer Club in the United States.

For more info visit – www.sandiegoflashsoccer.com

Events overview:

Soccer fans have the opportunity to join in citywide celebrations by watching San Diegos two local pro teams battle it out for local bragging rights. A must see NPSL blockbuster will see the Flash take on cross city rivals San Diego Boca.

#GrowTheGame supporters will receive a voucher for 50% off admission with tickets available for download at www.growthegame.us

2. Beach Soccer Jam

About:

Beach Soccer Jam is a faster, hotter version of the world’s most popular sport. A soft sand surface allows players to try diving headers, bicycle kicks and exciting tricks more freely. The sport is spectacular. The sand adds another dimension to the sport, putting aerobic strength, teamwork and individual skills to the test.

The ball is in the air most of the time, with quick flicks, juggling and volleying all becoming increasingly important in order to stay away from an unpredictable surface. There is an average of sixty shots at goal and eleven goals per game at the pro beach soccer level so it’s not surprising that it has been dubbed a “soccer highlight show” by the media.

Beach Soccer Jam organizes a number of Jam Sessions across San Diego County. Jam Sessions are simply playing Beach Soccer games on the Beach with licensed and qualified Beach Soccer Coaches.

If you have a team or group of 10 – 40 soccer players that would like to schedule a Jam Session with trained and certified Beach Soccer Coaches

Beach Soccer Jam also opens the Beach Soccer season in Southern California with unmatched excitement, hosting its 4th annual Beach Soccer Jam Tournament event for both Youth and Adults. Over 150 teams are expected to attend.

Beach Soccer Jam is the ultimate beach tournament and will be held on April 28/29 at Fiesta Island. Interested teams can now register at www.beachsoccerjam.com

Event overview:

Beach Soccer Jam is hosting a beach pick-up soccer event on Saturday 14 April.

This free event will be held at the North-West point of Dog Beach by the jetties/San Diego River to celebrate soccer – San Diego style! The game is limited to 40 people, therefore organizers are encouraging players to RSVP to info@growthegame.us to secure their spot.

3. SD Soccer TV

About:

SD Soccer TV was created in part because it was felt the soccer market in San Diego was underserved and should get the attention it deserves.

SD Soccer TV highlights and gives exposure to all aspects of soccer in San Diego. Youth, High School, College, Pro and even people who play pick-up!

The host of SD Soccer TV is Temryss Lane (of Fox Soccer Channel).

Ms Lane interviews youth soccer coaches and players, high school coaches and players, college coaches and players, as well as representatives from the pro soccer clubs in San Diego; the San Diego Sockers (indoor), the San Diego Sea Lions (women’s outdoor) and the San Diego Flash (men’s outdoor)

In the SD Soccer TV Community Corner, local businesses and non-profits who are involved in Soccer in San Diego are highlighted.

Check out www.sdsoccertv.com if you would like to share your soccer story or get exposure for your organization/club.

Event overview:

SD Soccer TV is one of the sponsors of Soccer Star – San Diego. All aspiring pro soccer players are encouraged to follow their dreams by taking part in the web reality show Soccer Star – San Diego. The free San Diego try-outs will take place on April 14.

Showcasing local talent, local business and major San Diego attractions, the ultimate winner of the Soccer Star web series will win a training contract with the 2011 NPSL South-West Champion San Diego Flash Soccer Club whose Head Coach is former English National Team, Newcastle United star and also Fox Soccer Channel analyst; Warren Barton.

For more information or to register for the trials visit www.soccerstarsandiego.com

4. Slaters 50/50

About:

Slater’s 50/50® is the newest brand in interactive dining! At Slater’s they have established a fun, contemporary casual environment to design your perfect gourmet burger. The menu features five choices of meats from their spicy fire beef patty, the perfectly spiced turkey, one of the best veggie patties around and of course the signature 50/50® (50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon)! Throw fresh bread, 12 cheeses, 30 toppings and 20 sauces and you are sure to get the perfect meal at Slater’s.

Slater’s 50/50 are open from 11am – 2am daily and are located at 2750 Dewey Road Building. 193 Liberty Station, San Diego, CA 92106. Check out their exciting menu today! www.slaters5050.com

Event overview:

Slater’s 50/50 will be broadcasting soccer matches in their store across the #GrowTheGame weekend. Slater’s 50/50 were recently crowned the winners of the KSWB San Diego Burger Battle so when soccer fans visit their Liberty Station venue, they can catch a game of soccer while eating an award winning burger.

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#GrowTheGame organizers are looking forward to announcing their legacy project for the San Diego pilot and exciting new events to compliment those mentioned above in the next 7 days. Check out www.growthegame.us or follow our Twitter account @SoccerSupport

#SoccerSpeakUSA Summary (3/14) – ‘Finding $$$ In A Post GFC U.S.’

Following on from our latest blog post ‘Show Me The Money – The Myths And Realities Of Club Sponsorship, Administration And Grants’ and the ensuing interest it generated there was no better platform to build on these funding issues than to make it the topic for our latest #SoccerSpeakUSA chat.

Sponsorship and grants have traditionally been an integral part of club income but the ‘rivers of gold’ dried up when the Global Financial Crisis hit back in 2008. Companies restructured their advertising dollars and clubs were forced to look at alternative funding mechanisms to survive.

Four years later on and we find ourselves discussing emerging trends such as micro-funding, crowdsourcing, in-kind sponsorship and public ownership.

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.

So show us the money in this week’s Twitter Chat (yes, in that voice)…

WEEK 6 SUMMARY

Q1. What fundraising tips can you provide for clubs out there looking for financial support?

@IT2theDLeon begin with a common method of fundraising strategy with team parents to begin with a grassroots effort

@justkhoai I would advise – publicize any fundraising events early and often! Soccer clubs should also invest in grant writers (volunteer & interns) to help research & write grant proposals.

@futboldaddy It’s all about getting the message out there. Make partnerships & build up a fan base.

Q2. How important is in-kind sponsorship becoming for grassroots clubs?

@futboldaddy It might have to be some of that in the beginning. Need to contact those everyone knows in the community

@IT2theDLeon In-kind still merits awareness and thanks. A honorable mention in a newsletter goes a long way to increase repeats

Q3. Do you or your club actively pursue grants or have a timeline in place to apply when needed?

@futboldaddy Clubs need to be realistic about grants or probably should devote more time/resources to dev. community relationships

@theGlobalTeam Grants should only be chased if the grant matches current word. Agree w/ @futboldaddy re: importance of partnerships over $$

@justkhoai Clubs should actively pursue grants as they appear. They also should be networking.

The discussion then moved to success stories and the sheer volume of grants out there. It was mentioned that there was some great workshops at the CalSouth Soccer Nation Expo in LA recently with the slides/videos from these sessions being put up on their website in the next few weeks.

Q4. Do you think micro-funding amongst supporters is a viable future for fundraising?

@theGlobalTeam The Sounders Community Shield was evidence of the ‘effectiveness’ of micro-funding via supporters… efforts for micro funding need/should be targeted to an outcome to inspire supporters to give.

@futboldaddy Absolutely! Probably more effective than grants to be honest. I think it can transfer to soccer.

We then discussed the merits of public ownership and the success stories of the Green Bay Packers. Users then used the San Diego Flash as a soccer team currently replicating this ownership model and the interest being generated by it. For more information check out the story that featured recently in the voiceofsandiego.org article – ‘You Guys Do Wanna Bring Big League Soccer to San Diego’.

SUMMARY

Users showed a renewed optimism for club fundraising with new opportunities like micro-funding leading the way. President Obama – although not the pioneer – has been the biggest success story of such fundraising methods, but instead of electing a President we are looking to #GrowTheGame of soccer.

Our favorite example was the hypothetical of ‘if everyone that played soccer contributed 25 cents we would have $6.25m to reinvest into grassroots soccer’ (using the figures from FIFAs big count). Imagine what we could do with that amount of money and the infrastructure in urban centers it could build.

From what we can see there is no comprehensive guide in terms of grants available to clubs. Soccer Support along with some of the great people involved with #SoccerSpeakUSA have been in discussions to create a ‘grants bible’ which we believe would be priceless for the soccer community and will lead to better planning, the creation of more projects and a more community minded approach by our grassroots clubs. If you have any ideas, would like to contribute or simply suggesting grants out there for us to compile them together, please contact us! info@soccersupport.us

#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 @IT2theDLeon – her views on fundraising is to take a principled approach, plan ahead and take a team approach to finding new income streams. We can’t agree with her more on this issue – grant writing is becoming a profession in itself and too many people believe grants are a handout, not an opportunity! @IT2theDLeon has won the right to promote a particular blog, website or team and 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 (3/21/12) 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 a question for next week email info@soccersupport.us

See you all next week!

Show Me The Money -The Myths & Realities Of Club Sponsorship, Administration & Grants

Soccer Support was created out of the desire to help the sport realize its potential in the U.S.

Focused on growing the grassroots of the game we are looking to help clubs become more sustainable and provide mentorship and advice for them to all become cutting edge, 21st century clubs.

We know the majority of club administrators & coaches put in countless hours in a volunteer capacity and that future planning sometimes comes second to the day-to-day operations of the club. We understand because we have been in these very shoes. Our team includes club CEOs, ex-professional players and marketing experts to give you tried and tested outcomes.

Given these experiences we would have to say that financial security would be the most prevailing issue in the success and failure of clubs with a membership of less than 60. This isn’t a revelation by any means but it’s a hard fact to swallow for administrators and boards nationwide when they come to balance the books at the end of the season.

SPONSORSHIP

We are of the theory that the sport benefits more if 10 clubs receive $1000 rather seeing one club receiving $10,000. The 2008 Obama for America campaign was testament to this theory. Micro-funding is a proven way of getting financial contributions fast and ultimately provides members new opportunities to get involved with your club. If people have a financial investment in something this develops into an emotional investment which then leads to action.

For example – If you needed $250 for soccer balls for the upcoming season we guarantee you would be able to find 50 members/supporters willing to pay $5 quicker than a business willing to write you a check for the same amount.

“But our club did find a sponsor for $10,000” some might be lucky to say. This is great but be wary.

We feel that the reliance on big sponsors is one of the biggest causes of financial stress on clubs for a number of reasons;

1. There is never a guarantee of an ongoing funding commitment – budgeting for a $10,000 sponsorship and then losing it the very next season creates immediate shortfalls in cash reserves when you were dreaming of a long and lasting partnership.

2. The Global Financial Crisis is still a significant threat to business and has changed the very nature of traditional sponsorship.

3. Clubs tend to put all their energy into catching a big fish and neglecting the smaller businesses that can more readily contribute.

With that being said focusing on smaller sponsors can yield important tangible outcomes that are not essentially $$$ related. Firstly it has the power of entrenching you in the local community which then provides additional benefits such as exposure to new networks and potential members (players and volunteers).

We are looking forward to expanding upon sponsorship in a post-recession U.S. on this blog soon.

GRANTS

One of the most underutilized funding streams is that of grants. While they are highly competitive and irregular in nature they are also the simplest way of attracting $$$ for ongoing projects and equipment.

There are hundreds if not thousands of grants out there through soccer foundations, across all tiers of Government and other funding streams (philanthropy, corporations, not-for-profit).

Soccer Support strongly encourages clubs to take advantage of all the funding opportunities that exist. Know what grants are available and when the funding cycle opens and closes. Put in the necessary time to draft a strong submission and have all your paperwork and budgets ready to submit on time.

Check out the AYSO website which produced a list of 10 tips to help you apply for a grant (don’t worry these tips are standard for most soccer foundation grants including the US Soccer Foundation) http://bit.ly/ywedyJ

We are currently in the process of creating a grants guide which will list the majority of the grants available. This will be a huge task and will take a considerable amount of effort to make it a reality. If you know of any grants or funding streams available to clubs that you want to make Soccer Support aware of for the purpose of this guide please contact info@soccersupport.us

CLUB ADMINISTRATION

A big issue from an administrative point of view is that most volunteers have not had proper business training for running an organization of this nature. Running a soccer club is not like balancing a family budget and the reality is that it’s just human nature to spend $$$ on nice jerseys rather than take care of the more immediate bills owed.

Ask yourselves these questions;

What is you clubs breakeven point per season?

Does you club have procurement policies?

Does your club have a business plan?

If you do not know these off the top of your head it might be time to take a more professional approach to you day-to-day operations or seek some extra assistance.

All of the above questions promote transparency within your club and the latter providing you with clear goals and a vision for the future. Assistance in drafting all of these is available from a wide variety of organizations.

Further reading can also be found here;

Model Soccer Clubs – A Powerpoint from US Youth Soccer http://bit.ly/yxg9SO

The Sustainability of Local Sports Clubs (Scotland) – a review into the sustainability of local sports clubs http://bit.ly/xsRmVH

THE FUTURE

The future isn’t so scary if you plan ahead. Minimize the unknowns and embrace opportunities.

One of the biggest tips we can provide is for clubs to embrace their local communities. Become entrenched in your area so that you become the ‘go to’ club for future opportunities and sponsorships. Link with local events, host viewing parties for the big games, enter teams into off-season tournaments and hold open days to showcase what you have to offer.

21st century clubs are those that will promote ongoing sustainable practices and continue to innovate to stay relevant. Embrace social media and non-profits that mentor small businesses. Get your board together and brainstorm about what possibilities might exist for your club no matter how unrelated and then come up with an implementation plan to help your club grow. Ask your members, volunteers and supporters what they think might work and reap the benefits. Think outside the box people!

Building better clubs, attracting new volunteers and sponsors, supporting best practices and skill sharing with teams across the country is the recipe for success and one which will help drive a new cultural change for Americas sporting landscape.

Soccer Support has some exciting plans planned in this area which we will be launching soon.  We will make every effort to keep you informed of the resources and opportunities available to your club – just keep checking www.soccersupport.us for this and much more!

 

Soccer Speak USA Joins The Soccer Blogs Network

Ever since we started the Soccer Speak USA blog we have encouraged users to ‘Write and Tweet to Personalize the Message and #Growthegame’ and that’s why we are pleased to have joined the independently aggregated Soccer Blogs Network.

SoccerBlogs.net is a blog aggregator that summarizes new posts across the growing network of football/soccer focused blogs. Once an hour, they poll a database of blog feeds, both RSS and Atom, and provide summaries of new blog posts with links back to the original blog.

Soccer Blogs helps promote original content to #GrowTheGame and excludes feeds from other commercial endeavors, as well as feeds from major news sources such as Yahoo!, AP, and Reuters.

If you have an original blog we encourage you to join the network – log in to http://soccerblogs.net for more info.

If you’re on facebook – become a fan: http://soccerblogs.net/fb

If you are a StumbleUpon user, please take a moment to add SoccerBlogs to your favorites. You can find them there at http://omerida.stumbleupon.com/

 

We Are The Yanks! Profiling The San Diego Dragoons…

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 Tim (@SDDragoons) who chose to get some extra exposure for The San Diego Dragoons  – a San Diego based US Soccer Supporters group.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Dragoons were formed in 2009 in an attempt to bring together the large US Soccer fan base in San Diego.

After spending too much time in soccer bars that treated US Soccer as an afterthought, The SD Dragoons wanted to find places that would promote, embrace and encourage US Soccer fans to get together to support our team and our country.

The SD Dragoons have now successfully done a number of viewing parties for both the USMNT and USWNT and, to date, coordinated three bus trips up to Carson and the Rose Bowl to watch the USMNT play.

Liaising with the San Diego chapter of American Outlaws, the SD Dragoons try and grow interest in the game locally.

Tim & The SD Dragoons would love to see more interest and attention paid to the World Cup qualification rounds and try to get some larger crowds for the upcoming matches this June, Sept. and Oct and beyond.

You can connect to The San Diego Dragoons through Facebook – www.facebook.com/sddragoons  and Twitter @SDDragoons where you can find updates on all levels of US men’s and women’s soccer and info on viewing parties, and soccer events in SD.

If you aren’t on Facebook, and want to be added to our mailing lists, you can email SDDragoons@gmail.com.  While the focus is US Soccer they also promote SD Soccer and have posted pieces on the Flash, Boca, Sea Lions etc.

Lets see if we can get The San Diego Dragoons up to 200 likes onFacebook before #GrowTheGame San Diego in April!

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#SoccerSpeakUSA returns next week (3/14/12) 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 a question for next weeks chat email info@soccersupport.us

#SoccerSpeakUSA Summary (3/7) – ‘US Soccer – The Road to 2032’

#SoccerSpeakUSA Summary (3/7) – ‘US Soccer – The Road to 2032’

We have mentioned countless times that it never hurts to have a conversation about the future of the game. But what should the future look like and most importantly what could the future look like.

Having a clear vision of where we want to go and then understanding the paths toward that overarching goal is just one step forward. Being able to use all the tools at our disposal and moving forward together is another more trickier step.

So what will the sport look like in 2032? We encourage those imaginations to run wild in this week’s Twitter Chat…

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 5 SUMMARY

Q1: What do you think U.S. #soccer will look like in 20 years time?

@backseatgaffer  I think we’ll have three or four professional divisions on the men’s side and a stable women’s professional-level league. I’d hope to see much more diversity in the youth game, perhaps a return to simpler times in that regard.

@Gillian_E_Dubbs Definitely a solid women’s pro league & an expanded men’s league. US national teams w/ higher attendance & hopefully better men’s ranking

Tweeps believed a top 5 world ranking is achievable pending youth development over the next two decades (the US is currently ranked #27 after their historic win over Italy last Wednesday)

We then asked whether the key to unlocking the countries potential was if soccer moved towards a more multicultural approach and away from issues of cost and the tendency of soccer to grow primarily in the suburbs.

@justkhoai I see more of soccer & community outreach. Won’t be limited to just $$$ & suburbs. Demographic is changing.

Q2: Do you believe technology has a role to play in the future of #soccer?

@IT2theDLeon Technology allows the far removed 2 feel connected 2 the moment. Soccer fans around the world can benefit from being connected

@Gillian_E_Dubbs Yes – finding low cost options through tech will see more overseas games  aired & make everything more accessible not just games. Between on field tech advances (goal line etc) & off field (keeping fans in the loop connected) it’s massively important

@Carratty_Kid It probably has, but for me it shouldn’t. Split second decisions, right or wrong, add to excitement of the game

Following on from the Soccer Nation Expo in LA and a presentation by ex EPL & Liverpool CEO Rick Parry, we asked if TV access will become a line in the sand for the MLS like it did for the EPL? To those that are unaware of the history – the EPL was formed due to a number of reasons but none more so prominent than TV revenue to clubs.

@SDDragoons While TV is critical, is MLS hindered by not playing same European schedule? Best players will stay in Europe

@MindOfAbram TV access already is the line, that’s why the NBC Sports deal is such a big deal.

Q3: Do you believe a ‘Global Premier League’ will exist in the future?

@IT2theDLeon Global Premier League would be extreme sporting events that could unite the globe as it has feuding regions!!

@jimmystagger No, sorry. There’s been talk of a Euro Super League since the early ’90s and nothing.

The majority of users said that a global league was a pipe dream. Therefore we followed up by asking if the MLS could become a premier destination for players in the future & perform at an #EPL or La Liga standard?

@SDDragoons MLS will need to attract biggest stars in their prime to ‘make it’. Can’t do that with current schedule

@CGT3194 we need to do a better job of creating our own world class players and get those players visible

Finally we asked the big one! Q4: Can the #USMNT win a World Cup by 2032?

@Hooliganbroome #USMNT can win before that if Klinsmann is allowed to do what is needed

@SDDragoons No reason we can’t. Current direction is sound. With the population in the US we can draw from, it’s doable.

An interesting view was then put forward in regards to our current and future talent. How do we approach this in the future? Is it the current culture or is family history too strong of a draw card?

@Dbigdannyboy Kids with dual citizenship tend to choose family origin country over birth country

There is no hiding the impact a World Cup has on the host country. The domestic game is one of the biggest beneficiaries but we posed to users another $64,000 question – will the US host another World Cup by 2032?

@SDDragoons If it remains on a positive trajectory, yes. Heck, I’m not sold Qatar can get it done in 2022 yet.

SUMMARY

This week’s chat was the most interesting to date for a couple of reasons. The first is that people definitely have opinions on what the future might look like but that was counteracted by the lack of consensus.

We can’t tell what will happen in 20 years especially in terms of technological advances and cultural shifts etc. but we can put in place clear goals that transcend the reactionary nature of a TV dominated world.

We here at Soccer Support wholeheartedly believe that the State of Soccer Report is one of the best ways to collect these ideas and make informed choices on what has been presented. A truly independent report that aims to provide clear goals and a vision for soccer to follow.

For more info or to make a submission check out http://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 @SDDragoons – clear and principled answers and someone who obviously is optimistic about a successful future for US Soccer. @SDDragoons has won the right to promote a particular blog, website or team and 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 (3/14/12) 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!

Do You Have What It Takes To Be San Diego’s Next Soccer Star?

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SAN DIEGOS NEXT SOCCER STAR???

San Diego, CA, March 7, 2012— Soccer Support – through their #GrowTheGame project is encouraging all aspiring young soccer to follow their dreams by taking part in the web reality show Soccer Star – San Diego. The free San Diego try-outs will take place on April 14.

The ultimate winner of the Soccer Star web series will win a training contract with the 2011 NPSL South-West Champion San Diego Flash Soccer Club whose Head Coach is former English National Team, Newcastle United star and also Fox Soccer Channel analyst; Warren Barton. On word of Coach Barton, in June 2011, Flash Player Ryan Guy was signed to New England Revolution of Major League Soccer.

Don’t miss your opportunity to possibly begin your journey to the MLS by registering early for the one-day trial to be held on Saturday, April 14. The competition is open to permanent residents of the U.S. and participants must be aged between 18-23 as of January 1, 2012.

The first 100 applicants to submit their application forms by email or mail by Thursday, April 12 are guaranteed entry to the one-day trial.

“Soccer Star San Diego will provide local soccer players a free chance to show off their talent. We are proud to endorse this event.” said Clent Alexander, CEO of the San Diego Flash Soccer Club.

“I look forward to seeing home grown players compete and eventually welcoming the winning contestant to the San Diego Flash.”

For further information, download an application form and to register your interest visit www.soccerstarsandiego.com

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Media Contact: Ryan Ginard (858-333-2545) or info@soccerstarsandiego.com

LOCAL RIVALRIES, FUTURE STARS, BURGERS & BEACH CELEBRATIONS SHAPE #GROWTHEGAME FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

LOCAL RIVALRIES, FUTURE STARS, BURGERS & BEACH CELEBRATIONS SHAPE #GROWTHEGAME FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT

San Diego, CA, March 7, 2012— Soccer Support is pleased to announce three major events which will feature as part of the #GrowTheGame San Diego event to be held on the weekend of April 14 & 15.

San Diego was chosen for the pilot of the #GrowTheGame project due to its rich soccer history and potential to grow into a real hub for the sport over the next decade and today’s announcement only strengthens that theory.

#GrowTheGame has partnered with the San Diego Flash Soccer Club to bring two major events. The first will see local soccer fans join in citywide celebrations by watching our two local pro teams battle it out for local bragging rights. A must see NPSL blockbuster will see the Flash take on cross city rivals San Diego Boca.

#GrowTheGame supporters will receive a voucher for 50% off admission with tickets available for download at www.growthegame.us

The second event is focused on the future by providing all aspiring young soccer players the chance to follow their dreams of playing pro soccer by taking part in web reality show Soccer Star – San Diego.

Showcasing local talent, local business and major San Diego attractions, the ultimate winner of the 9 episode Soccer Star web series will win a training contract with the 2011 NPSL South-West Champion San Diego Flash Soccer Club.

The final event captures the essence of grassroots soccer with a beach pick-up soccer event powered by Beach Soccer Jam.

This free event will be held at the North-West point of Dog Beach by the jetties/San Diego River to celebrate soccer – San Diego style! The game is limited to 40 people, therefore organizers are encouraging players to RSVP now to secure their spot.

#GrowTheGame organizers are happy to partner with Beach Soccer Jam for this event. Beach Soccer Jam is the ultimate beach tournament and will be held on April 28/29 at Fiesta Island. Interested teams can now register at www.beachsoccerjam.com

The beauty of #GrowTheGame San Diego is that you don’t need to play the game to join in the celebrations. Local businesses are also showing their support such as Slaters 50/50 who will be broadcasting soccer matches in their store across the #GrowTheGame weekend. Slaters 50/50 were recently crowned the winners of the KSWB San Diego Burger Battle so when soccer fans visit their Liberty Station venue, they can catch a game of soccer while eating an award winning burger.

Fans, players and clubs in San Diego are encouraged to get involved with local celebrations through www.growthegame.us to help soccer in San Diego reach its potential. A range of resources are also available to help participants host and promote their own events.

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Media Contact: Ryan Ginard (858-333-2545) or pr@growthegame.us

What is Darfur United???

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 Chris (@futboldaddy) who chose to promote a fantastic project helping Darfuri refugees called Darfur United – check out their story at http://darfurunited.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Darfur United is an all-refugee soccer team made up of Darfuri refugees living in camps in Eastern Chad. Not only is Darfur United a team, it is also a movement – a movement to bring hope, inspiration, and joy to the displaced people of Darfur.

Darfur United is the brainchild of i-ACT (based in Redondo Beach, California) who are the leading organization working on the ground in refugee camps in Eastern Chad, with established relationships and partners since 2005.  An expedition team visits the camps twice a year, and maintains internet connectivity and communication year-round.  Darfur United is coached by Mark Hodson and Dean Ward of Evolution Soccer and Manhattan Beach Sand & Surf Soccer Club, and Paul Revill of Little Rascalz Soccer and San Diego Surf’s men’s team

Follow the movement on Twitter @DarfurUnited

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#SoccerSpeakUSA returns today (3/7/12) 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