Monthly Archives: August 2012

2012 Soccer Tech Conference – A New Paradigm For Grassroots Support

Those who frequently interact with our Twitter account @SoccerSupport would have noticed recent discussions about an upcoming Soccer Tech Conference in Los Angeles next month. We are happy to report this is indeed close to becoming a reality and is in the final phases of organization.

Our 1st announcements will be made soon including our key note speakers and conference format.

But let us divulge a little of why a social media/technology specific conference is a positive step forward for the continued growth of soccer in the U.S.

Target Audience: Soccer Administrators, Community Outreach Directors, Event Managers, Sports Marketing Students, Soccer Bloggers and interested fans.

Why Attend? How can online technologies and social media change the way soccer clubs communicate, operate and become more sustainable? What are the sport’s most innovative clubs and associations doing to evolve their reach, exposure and bottom line? Join Soccer Support’s hands-on workshops and panel discussions that will enhance your knowledge of what is available to your club and inspire a new phase of growth at the grassroots of the game.

Date: Thursday September 27, Los Angeles.

We are still putting together some key parts of the event and are always looking for extra support.

Do you want to host a workshop? The conference will feature a series of workshops, forums and roundtable events for soccer innovators to network and share best practice. Do you have a new product coming out that will revolutionize the grassroots of soccer? Are you an expert in your field and would like to host a session? Then contact us today to discuss these opportunities and more at the inaugural Soccer Tech Conference.

Do you want to support the event? The event is being organized by a small volunteer team. All donations of time and tangible/intangible goods and services that can add to the outcomes of this event is greatly appreciated. You can sponsor a specific workshop, provide promotional products to attendees etc – we are always open to suggestions!

Volunteers Wanted! Do you live in LA & have a passion for soccer? Then join our support team for the inaugural Soccer Tech Conference. Volunteers are needed for a range of tasks on the day to ensure the smooth running of the event.

For any of the above calls for support please email ryan@soccersupport.us for more info.

 

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Soccer Speak USA Celebrates A Mini Milestone & Recaps On Its 5 Most Read Articles

Recently Soccer Speak USA, a humble blog of ideas that was created to help act as discussion tool – and more optimistically, a catalyst for change at the grassroots of U.S. soccer – surpassed 5000 hits.

Not a number that screams ‘listen to my me because my ideas are great’ but rather an indicator that there are indeed people out there that believe soccer can reach its potential in this country through innovative approaches to help foster a cultural shift in the big four ‘Americanized’ sports of NFL, Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey.

Simply, I just wanted to say thank you and hope you keep on reading and contributing to the debate.

To celebrate our mini-milestone we have linked our top 5 most read blog posts and tomorrow will post our favorite 5 – so enjoy some nostalgia or catch up on those posts you may have missed…next stop, 10,000!

#1: Time To End The WPS Blame Game & Embrace A Sustainable Future For Women’s Pro Soccer

http://wp.me/p24YFi-34

A post inspired from a rather heated Twitter Chat saw us take a look at options for women’s pro soccer and called for a blueprint for the women’s game rather than arguing why we don’t currently have one.

#2: Franchise vs Clubs – The Future of Pro Soccer in the U.S.

http://wp.me/p24YFi-S

We tackle one of the most polarizing arguments in U.S. soccer – promotion & relegation as a model for growth. However our angle assumes that the franchise model will continue and that the focus on expansion should be for regions with established entities rather than a pay to play attitude.

#3: #GrowTheGame Event Previews #1 Soccer Star – San Diego

http://wp.me/p24YFi-2u

#GrowTheGame San Diego was a huge success with over 500 participants city wide and this preview looked at the upcoming trials for the soon to be released web series Soccer Star – San Diego. Of all the event to be held on that April weekend it was the tryouts that created the most buzz. Two months later a winner was selected to join the San Diego Flash Soccer Club and a 8 episode TV pilot will launch on September 5.

Check out the promo videos now on http://www.soccerstarsandiego.com

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

http://wp.me/p24YFi-1O

When we launched our plans for a new TV pilot many thought it couldn’t be done on the back of a volunteer team and no funding. We are now two weeks away from defying all those critics and look forward to putting out a series that will showcase the biggest youth soccer market in the country. This post was where it all started…

#5: NPSL Looks To Social Media To Broadcast Its National Championships To A Wider Audience

http://wp.me/p24YFi-3K

It was surprising to see this article slip into the top 5 given it was only posted a couple of weeks ago, but I feel it serves as a message to administrators that social media and technological advances can play an important part in the future growth of the sport in the U.S.

The NPSL National Championships utilized Ustream to great effect and took the league (which I feel is full of promise) to a wider audience. Couple this with a strong focus on social media and the use of Twitter programs to bring fans up-to-the-minute updates on the games played, the host city took some risks and reaped the rewards.

Video Killed The Radio Star But Helped #GrowTheGame Of Soccer In The USA

One of the most overlooked ways to #GrowTheGame is the sports capacity to embrace new technology at the grassroots. Most of us have a feel for the various mediums available to us, but most don’t understand the full capabilities of social media and how it contributes to new fans and prospective revenue streams.

I would put myself in the same basket and am constantly educating myself and searching for new techniques on how better to promote soccer as I’m sure the same attitude is held by those currently reading this post.

In the coming week(s) we will be announcing an ambitious new project that will bring together many industry leaders, soccer innovators all the way through to those fans looking to simply make a difference at their local club.

Keep an eye out for news regarding the 2012 Soccer Tech Conference in Los Angeles this September, our list of key note speakers and exciting workshops, forums and networking events that will form part of a 21st century approach to the growth of soccer in the U.S.

Now we have leaked that exciting piece of information we wanted to touch on one of the workshops scheduled for the event and in our eyes, one of the most under-utilized mediums available to the sport.

If you hadn’t of guessed we are talking about Video.

Video has come a long way in the past 10 years and is now more accessible, affordable, mobile, and of better quality than its VHS predecessors (I still remember my family with a shoebox sized camcorder taping my cup final back in the mid-nineties). With more ways to showcase your amateur productions (think YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Vimeo etc), why are we still slow on the uptake of using these tools as a cost efficient way of gaining more exposure for the game?

As you know we don’t preach to know it all at Soccer Support but we do like to provide a number of ideas and alternatives to challenge the sport to realize its potential in the U.S. – so check out our top ten ways to use video to help #GrowTheGame!

Website Optimization: Lots of club websites are built through WordPress. It is easy to embed you videos from YouTube onto your website to make it look more professional and drive more hits to your marketing platforms.

Talent: Record videos of your talented players and help cut a highlights package for them to send to colleges, teams etc.

Promotions: Create promo videos to help promote your club, strengthen your crowd funding messages etc – visual appeal trumps that of print media and helps people absorb the message quicker. In another context you can also invite fans, parents etc to upload videos on Facebook. Run competitions that involve original content to help generate new exposure for the club.

Community: Video your club’s community outreach activities to appeal to new networks. Record your team participating in a 5k charity fun run or hosting a community skills clinic. Teams that are entrenched in their community stand a better chance of attracting new sponsors and members than a pay-as-you-play, no-frills organization.

Exposure: If a parent or club volunteer has a video camera, show your games live via Ustream. Minor leagues such as the NASL & NPSL are embracing these technologies to showcase their games to a broader audience. You can also create highlights packages which can be released weekly to great effect.

Creating A Family: Record player profiles and provide candid interviews of staff regularly to give some personality to your club and help fans relate to your players. Fans that have an emotional attachment to the club are much more likely to interact and help grow the team in the future.

Education: Create a form that can be distributed to fans, parents and coaches that helps them understand what technologies are out there (e.g free apps, social media etc) and how to use it to promote your club. Make sure you have a release form template at all games/events.

Fans: Use you camera phone to interview fans at local games – ask them a topical question and then upload it to your clubs Facebook page.

Communications: Link with other clubs to discuss ways in which you can support each other, share best practice etc by using Google Hangouts and Skype. Most laptops now come with a built in Webcam.

Sponsorship: You can create simple TV adverts using a camcorder and simple editing software to produce footage that showcases your club and sponsors together which will generate more exposure for the club and drive new customers to your sponsors businesses.

The above ten examples only touch on a small number of video options for your club and for that reason we encourage you to take it to your next club executive meeting and discuss possible ways of utilizing this medium to help grow your clubs capabilities.

We also feel this could be an option for leagues and associations to help grow its member organizations and help deliver on opportunities such as those outlined above by seeking strategic partnerships with companies such as Sony or JVC and help offer discounted equipment to clubs. Another option might be to expand the criteria for small equipment grants to enable clubs to apply for video equipment, editing software and courses.

Either way there is plenty of food for thought and we hope much of these ideas and more will be raised at the upcoming Soccer Tech Conference where a specific video workshop will appear on the agenda. Keep checking @SoccerSupport and this blog for upcoming announcements and time to embrace technology!

While I have your attention we thought we would also showcase our own unique use of video technology and show that anything is possible if you have commitment and desire to #GrowTheGame.

With no budget and a team of volunteers we have created an 8 webisode tv reality show called Soccer Star – San Diego.

Soccer Star – San Diego was our vision of creating a cost neutral TV pilot which showcases local soccer talent, local clubs, businesses and the City of San Diego. A simple idea in essence that will yield significant benefits for what is currently the number one youth market in the U.S. and a city not currently served by an MLS franchise.

The premise of Soccer Star – San Diego is that young players between the ages of 18 and 23 are offered the chance to start their professional soccer career with a training agreement with the San Diego Flash Soccer Club. The Flash are coached by renowned English Premiership soccer player and Fox Soccer Analyst Warren Barton.

Soccer Star – San Diego is due to be released via http://www.soccerstarsandiego.com and YouTube on Wednesday September 5, but you can check out our two current promo’s below! Enjoy 🙂

Promo 1 – Game On! http://youtu.be/9Zk-tXU0_Vs

Promo 2 – The Trials… http://youtu.be/CG3_xM6_Tbg