Monthly Archives: June 2012

Help #GrowTheGame By Finding Soccer Jobs For Our Best & Brightest

Today we retweeted a job posted by the San Diego Flash Soccer Club (@SDFlashSoccer) calling for people to become members of a new street team they are obviously assembling to help increase their community outreach.

However it was the feedback that we received from users asking about the job and where they can get more information that really got us thinking – why is no-one aggregating all the soccer jobs that get posted across the country?

If we are to #GrowTheGame we should be broadcasting opportunities for new positions within the sport far and wide to attract the most talented applicants. Not only can teams, colleges and other organizations (both non & for profit)  recruit the best candidates for those individual roles, but the sport can ultimately have the best people in those key positions which can help to drive soccer forward and reach its potential in the U.S.

We should have the best people in sales selling tickets to get fans in seats.

We should have the most talented coaches nurturing our future talent.

We should have the best advertising and marketing team promoting the sport from grassroots through to national campaigns.

People at the top of their respective fields and who have a passion for soccer should be encouraged to chase after their dream job. After all it’s the sports that benefits from a more professional approach and when the sport wins, the fans win.

That’s why we have created the new Twitter account @SoccerJobsUSA so that we can help spread the word. So make sure you follow the dude with a soccer ball for a head and wearing a suit for all the latest openings across the U.S.

Soccer Support is also encouraging people to join us in sharing news of local, state and national soccer jobs through their social networks to help drive a new wave of talent to the sport. It’s a simple task than can reap significant reward and can be our own little contribution to #GrowTheGame

30 Ways To Improve Your Soccer Clubs Community Outreach Activities

There are many benefits in engaging with your local community and for that reason outreach is fast becoming an essential component in becoming a sustainable 21st century club.

Being entrenched in your local area not only increases your clubs exposure to potential sponsors but also your ability to attract new players.

We would encourage clubs to contemplate creating a stand-alone position on their executive to deal with this important area of club development and to design a strategy that embraces every opportunity available for your club to grow.

Soccer Support understands that this is no simple task, so we have compiled a list of 30 of our favorite and most cost effective outreach activities that can help get your club on the road to new and successful partnerships that will reap huge rewards. We know clubs aren’t awash with cash so it’s important your plans are modest yet can have big returns.

In no particular order;

  1. Have a club open day
  2. Have an investors evening, inviting local business to hear about you club & sponsorship options
  3. Record a weekly podcast inviting local groups to promote what they do
  4. Invite local non-profits to run your bbq’s on game days.
  5. Organize a meeting with local media
  6. Create memberships for non-playing supporters
  7. Partner with a local charity and fundraise for them at official events
  8. Give out prizes donated from local businesses each week for man of the match
  9. Recruit a street team to go out in the community to disseminate club info and cultivate local relationships
  10. Give birthday cards/vouchers etc out to junior players on their special day
  11. Have a club alumni (ex-players) event
  12. Have a volunteers appreciation luncheon
  13. Focus on your social media presence and local interactions
  14. Broadcast games live through U-Stream
  15. Give out free tickets to games
  16. Rent promotional/booth space at local community events
  17. Write a club specific blog highlighting upcoming fixtures and achievements
  18. Reward loyalty – club honor boards for playing 50 games for the club etc
  19. If a junior only club, link with a senior club to continue pathways for juniors
  20. Have bursaries for junior players which can’t afford registrations fees
  21. Sponsorship boards – sell plaques to local businesses and showcase them in clubhouses
  22. Organize a trivia night and open it up to the local community
  23. Sell club merchandise
  24. Become affiliated to local chamber of commerce and head to networking events
  25. Host soccer clinics for local disadvantaged kids
  26. Have multi-tiered sponsorship options. Sponsor game ball, match day programs etc. Don’t limit your ability to attract new supporters
  27. Send ‘wish you were here’ postcards to local businesses. Get cards for free from Vistaprint etc
  28. Have a themed event such as playing in pink socks to raise awareness for breast cancer
  29. Link with your local pro teams to organize game day visits, be ballboys/girls and mascots
  30. Name your new mascot competition – gets people of all ages talking about your club

What events has your club organized that have created stronger relationships with your local community? Any successes or failures that other clubs can learn from?

Share your ideas online with the hashtag #GrowTheGame to help strengthen soccer from the grassroots up.

Local sponsors are eager to partner with organizations if they are the right fit. Therefore community outreach plays an increasingly important role in distinguishing your soccer club from similar organizations in your region.

Soccer Support also offers attractive membership packages to grassroots clubs across the country with a primary focus on modernizing clubs for the 21st century.By working directly with its members, Soccer Support helps create new revenue streams, an increased exposure to sponsors and players, sustainability measures and most importantly future planning, in what is a saturated and extremely competitive market.

For more information on our list of services please email info@soccersupport.us

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U.S. Soccer’s First Awards Program Dedicated Solely To Excellence & Achievement In Social Media Is Here!

Following on from the success of the #GrowTheGame pilot which was held in San Diego on April 14 & 15 and saw over 500 people participate in a weekend of soccer related activities, it was only a matter of time before #GrowTheGame picked up its organizing kit and headed to a new host city to act as a catalyst for grassroots change and new conversations between tits local soccer community.

This time #GrowTheGame is going to reach out to a broader online base as it looks to celebrate Social Media Week 2012 and embrace the ability of social media to drive new outcomes for soccer and help it continue its steady march to breaking up the monopoly of the other ‘big four’ American Sports.

There is now more fitting theme for this year’s Social Media Week than “Empowering Change Through Collaboration” and with that at the forefront of our drive for grassroots change in the sport we announce our first event for #GrowTheGame Los Angeles – The Cosmos Awards.

Entries for the 11 award categories are now open with the nomination button being located on the www.growthegame.us website through the ‘Cosmos Awards’ page.

We have included the event details and nomination process below and encourage you to nominate friends or those your respect in the industry for the inaugural awards ceremony to be held on Thursday September 27 in LA.

We look forward to announcing more #GrowTheGame events in the coming weeks and months.

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Welcome to the first ever Cosmos Awards which are the first formal Social Media Awards for U.S. Soccer. The Awards are one of the many proposed projects for the next #GrowTheGame event which is scheduled this September in LA as part of Social Media Week* 2012.

The concept for these awards came from a need to formally acknowledge the exceptional work of clubs, players and the fans that help develop the game through new media platforms.

More often than not we find soccer related news is lost in the clutter of traditional media with more focus, emphasis, commentary and opinion pieces going to the ‘big four’ American sports of American Football, Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey.

That’s why it’s important to encourage people to continue to blog, tweet and post original content to not only satisfy the thirst for knowledge of soccer enthusiasts across the country but also fill that void that traditional media has left for the sport in newspapers, radio and television up and down the country.

In short, the awards will recognize and celebrate the most influential members of the U.S. Soccer social media community and celebrate all they have given and continue to give to the sport in the U.S.

Why the Cosmos Awards?

It was decided that we name these awards after the New York Cosmos of the 1970/80s as an acknowledgement of the cultural impact and influence the club had on U.S. Soccer and the ambition of the club to bring World Class players to our shores to help #GrowTheGame.

With the sport largely unnoticed and domestic league struggling it was the Cosmos that brought players of the caliber of Pele and Beckenbauer and single handedly drove new levels of exposure for the sport in the U.S.

It is this passion, commitment and audacity of both individuals and organizations to drive new levels of exposure for the sport in this country that make the Cosmos Awards the most appropriate name for this #GrowTheGame project.

Did you know? Days after Pele’s arrival, the increased media attention caused the Cosmos’ office staff to increase from five people to more than 50.

Awards Night

The awards are due to be held on Thursday September 27 in Los Angeles during  Social Media Week* and #GrowTheGame Los Angeles.

More information on the Awards Night, the venue and ticket allocations will be announced shortly.

The Nomination Process

Soccer fans are encouraged to nominate social media users (across all platforms) for excellence over the past year (July 1 2011 – June 1 2012). Each award recognizes the continued efforts of users to create original content not just a once off tweet or post.

Those nominated must have been a resident of the United States prior to June 1, 2012.

There are an ‘XI’ of categories to be nominated for, with the top 3 vote getters in each category going on to the judging round which will feature prominent players, coaches and analysts from the world of U.S. Soccer to decide who takes out each award. The judging panel’s decision will be final.

Categories Blog It – The best U.S. Soccer Blogger. Original content, thought provoking posts and a commitment to address the topics no-one wants to ask. Flashtag – The best hashtag used over the past year to drive exposure and conversation about a particular issue or event in U.S. Soccer. Campaign Fever – The most creative and coordinated campaign on the internet which saw high levels of traffic and interaction between soccer fans. Going Pro – The best use of social media by a professional soccer club. Future Talent – The best use of social media by a youth soccer club. Women Utd – The best use of social media by a women’s soccer club. Soccer For Social Change – Organizations or individuals that use soccer as the platform for creating a better society or make a substantial difference in people’s lives. Goal TV – Best & most innovative use of video to promote soccer in the U.S. Soccer Influencer – When this person talks about the beautiful game, people listen (and RT). Icon – The best use of social media by a player or former player who is fun, informative and inspirational to soccer fans in the U.S. The Source – The most trusted source of original and timely soccer related news and reporting in the U.S.

How To Nominate

To nominate someone for these award please use the Twitter button below and fill in the blanks. For example to nominate Soccer Support for best hashtag you would fill in ‘I nominate @SoccerSupport for a ‘Cosmos Award’ in the Flashtag category because they #GrowTheGame’

You will need to fill in the Twitter handle and category you are nominating that individual or group for. You will then be contacted by @SoccerSupport with a link to fill in the details of why your nominee should win a Cosmos Award.

Nominations close 9pm PST Friday August 17.

Organizers of The Cosmos Awards will be in touch with those shortlisted shortly after nominations close to discuss the competition in more detail and to obtain further information to help determine who should win that award category.

Sponsoring the Awards

Opportunities exist to sponsor the Cosmos Awards, the Awards night in Los Angeles or specific award categories. For more information e-mail pr@growthegame.us

Stay Updated

Get news about the awards by joining our e-mail list on our home page, reading the Soccer Speak USA blog, becoming a fan of Soccer Support on Facebook, and following @SoccerSupport on Twitter.

Contact Us

For more information on the Awards or other enquiries related to the Awards, #GrowTheGame Los Angeles or Soccer Support email info@growthegame.us

About Us

The Cosmos Awards are produced by Soccer Support, a grassroots organization committed to help soccer realize its potential in the U.S.

For more information on Soccer Support visit www.soccersupport.us

History of the #GrowTheGame Hashtag

Having the grassroots of U.S. soccer coin the phrase #GrowTheGame is more a reflection of where we believe the sport can make the biggest gains in our quest to help it realize its potential. Growing the game will lead to more exposure for clubs and players and a greater pool of resources to share and distribute.

A number of soccer fans (through our Twitter account @SoccerSupport) have been asking about our new hashtag #GrowTheGame and how they can use it effectively to help voice their own ideas and share best practices with other like-minded users online.

When we first started using Twitter we discovered an underlying need for something to bridge that gap between tweeting, being heard and creating a strong online hub for soccer information. That’s why we have introduced a hashtag on Twitter to make connecting with fans & sharing content a much easier process.

The full article from the Soccer Speak USA blog can be found here;

*The Cosmos Awards Are Not Yet An Official Event Or Partner Of Social Media Week

NEWS FLASH: U.S. Wins the 2027 America’s Cup – Hypotheticals For The Development of the USMNT

Neymar’s final competitive game for Brazil ended in heartbreak today when the defending champions lost to the Clint Dempsey coached USMNT 3-1 in the final of the 2027 America’s Cup.

The USMNT who are starting to find their rhythm against their new regular opposition from South America became the first North American nation to win the revamped competition that saw the Gold Cup and Copa America combine to create a new championship that now rivals the UEFA Cup for the strongest competition outside of the FIFA World Cup

After reading the hypothetical article recently posted on ESPN Soccernet as to whether the U.S. would be successful if it were drawn in Group A at the European Championships* (alongside Russia, Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic), we started creating our own hypotheticals as to whether some major changes at an international level would help in the development and ultimately future successes of the USMNT.

If we are being brutally honest here, CONCACAF is weaker than all the other confederations except for Oceania and is nothing more than a rubber stamp for World Cup Qualification. In a touch of irony the winner of the Oceania Play-Offs (presumably New Zealand) will play the 4th placed CONCACAF team which if all went terribly wrong could be the USMNT.

In 2005 (and after 30 years of lobbying) Australia was granted permission to leave the weaker Oceania Confederation and join the much stronger Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

This has led to better competition on a regular basis, better pathways for its club teams, more ability for its players to move overseas and develop their talents and it is no coincidence that since this move Australia has gone through one of its most successful phases of its international soccer history.

So continuing with the hypothetical nature of this post, what would be the realistic options for the USMNT? Do we continue down the path of almost guaranteed World Cup qualification and the usual outcomes of a final match-up against Mexico in the Gold Cup and be satisfied with that (and an eternity of possible international mediocrity)? Or do we follow the lead of Australia and look at the viable alternatives.

Personally we don’t think that moving confederations is a viable move given location etc. and it is important to note the competition is developing (especially in Canada) which will in turn improve the quality of future match-ups. It would also be a bad move in giving up a near certain World Cup spot (Australia was unique as it wanted a better chance of qualifying rather than the risks of playing off against South American teams in a two leg shootout).

So now that the confederation move has been taken off the table what other options are out there to help improve the experience and quality of the USMNT?

Our suggestions are one of two options that have much the same outcomes.

  1. The USMNT seek entry into the Copa America (not as a guest nation but as a team that goes through that qualification process; or (and this is our preferred option)                              
  2. That the Gold Cup and Copa America be combined into an expanded America’s Cup with teams from both confederations.

The benefits of these options are obvious as much as they are important. Firstly the new challenges of competing with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on a regular basis speak for themselves and the continued exposure to a new continental style of play will have an effect on our own style of play (hopefully an improvement).

Playing devil’s advocate to the devil’s advocate, we don’t believe it cheapens the CONCACAF zone as the USMNT team will still go through that World Cup qualifying process and our first suggestion would see the Gold Cup become more important to the lower ranked nations and therefore see them introduce systems to improve the quality of their own teams.

Diego Forlan kisses the Copa America after his Uruguay side claimed victory in the 2011 final.

We always try not to go into too much detail as we prefer to foster genuine discussion as our contribution to #GrowTheGame. We would love to hear your thoughts on a possible America’s Cup or the possible entry of the USMNT (and presumably Mexico) into the Copa America Championships. Heck, we would also like to see if you think the USMNT would make it through Group A as mentioned at the start of the post. Just remember to use #GrowTheGame at the end of your tweets.

In conclusion and while on the subject of improving the quality of the USMNT it is important to acknowledge the new ambition and drive that USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has brought to the national team. His penchant for seeking friendly matches against much stronger opposition has not gone unnoticed by fans and obviously he has highlighted the fact that friendlies against teams in the top 40-50 are more about results than development.

So don’t worry if we lose to Brazil and don’t raise expectations if we beat Italy – it’s the experience against world class players that will continue to see us improve. In the end all the fans want to see is the US reach its potential in the sport and challenge for major international honors in the future.