Soccer is a unique product from a business context that is made more complex in the United States due to cultural and structural differences from the rest of the game worldwide.
Technology, and in particular social media, is one of those keys to unlocking the future of the sport. But it’s not quite as simple as setting up a Facebook or twitter account, especially those that think they understand it when they simply do not.
Retweets or commenting on what EVERYONE is currently watching on TV does not constitute being a social media guru for soccer – far from it. It’s about two way engagement and developing an emotional attachment with users that fosters new conversations and original content.
I wanted to attempt to bridge this gap online between the highest tiers of soccer and the grassroots fans by creating 21st century clubs that embraced online platforms and technology as a way to help propel soccer to new audiences.
This all started at the turn of the year when I established the soccer consultancy Soccer Support which has continued to push this message locally in Southern California but with a national narrative focused around the concept of growing the game of soccer in the U.S.
And what a year!
Building a reputation online is never easy, but couple this together with no capital and you are out there purely on the blind faith that someone, anyone, is listening. And listen they have. Here are some of the highlights;
#GrowTheGame San Diego: My first community based event that was focused on promoting awareness of the sport locally and that helped develop a new level of communication between clubs, fans and associations across the county. With four major events across San Diego and over 500 people in attendance this showed that people were indeed open to a new paradigm for the sport in the U.S.
Soccer Tech 2012: Soccer Tech 2012 was an audacious attempt to help drive our technology message to a new level of soccer fans and the ones that we have courted for a long time. Held in downtown LA and featuring as an official partner event of the world renowned Social Media Week, Soccer Tech saw a number of workshops and presentations that discussed the future opportunities and advancement for the sport in the U.S.
Streamed live via Social Media Week the event was a huge success and even reported on in the final wrap up of events by organizers!
Soccer Star San Diego: An 8 episode online webseries that showcased 11 of San Diego’s top undiscovered talent has wrapped up filming and has seen the pilot released through the shows website http://www.soccerstarsandiego.com – the final 7 episodes should be released prior to the end of the year. This reality tv show was filmed and produced with a small budget crowdsourced from friends, family and fans worldwide and shows just what can be achieved by the grassroots of the game if you are willing to work hard to produce original content.
Soccer Speak USA: My blog that I really should pay attention to again, but has seen over 60 posts and over 6500 views. With posts ranging from how to lobby politicians for soccer infrastructure, to positive changes to the game including a reformed Gold Cup and the merits of promotion and relegation there is plenty of food for thought and contentious issues for the most ardent US fan to rant and rave about.
Blog Tip 🙂 If you have something to say, say it – the sport is crying out for original insights into how to improve the game. Don’t look for perfection, just post it and then learn from it – refine your argument, take the constructive criticism on face value and don’t get caught up on how many people read it or how many people tweet about it.
As you can see, chasing your passions can reap huge dividends for the game in the U.S. and we encourage likeminded fans to get in touch with us to help drive even bigger outcomes for 2013.
Keep checking back for new announcements coming soon!