On Wednesday April 2nd, I had lunch with Karyn Lush, the Managing Editor and Internet Producer for the Women’s Professional Soccer League. She offered great insight into her soccer background, her position with the league, and how technology will play a part in the success of WPS.
Amanda: What is your current position with WPS?
Karyn: I’m the Managing Editor and Internet Producer for Women’s Professional Soccer. It’s a great position for me as it combines content creation with project management.
Amanda: What is the most exciting part of your job?
Karyn: It’s exciting to work with others who are passionate about establishing and sustaining the best women’s professional league in the world.
Amanda: Can you tell me about your background in women’s soccer?
Karyn: I played when I was young. When I was in college, I worked as a freelance writer covering the WUSA’s Boston Breakers. After I graduated with a degree in computer science, I worked as an editor and project manager for a web development company whose clients included the WUSA and six of that league’s eight teams. Following the league’s suspension, I worked in PR/Marketing for US Club Soccer, which is a national youth soccer organization, and wrote content for the Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association’s website, ponytailposse.com. I also maintain an online database of U.S. Women’s National Team information at ooosasoccer.com.
Amanda: What are your Internet Producer responsibilities at the League Office?
Karyn: I’m responsible for determining what functionality we need on our web platform, writing specifications for that functionality and testing the functionality through the developmental process into implementation. I’m also involved in the research and selection of third-party solutions for such platforms as mass email, video, e-commerce and mobile messaging. Then I’m responsible for learning and utilizing those platforms. In all of this, I’m also serving as a liaison to the teams to keep them informed of what changes are being made on their sites, to communicate to our web development company what changes the teams desire and to help the teams utilize the third-party platforms we are integrating into the site.
Amanda: What is the goal of the WPS website?
Karyn: To provide a medium where users can connect with the league to find information on the league, teams and players, to purchase tickets, apparel and memorabilia, and to create a forum where fans can interact in a meaningful way by participating in chats, rankings, voting, posting to message boards and social networking. We’re working on integrating all of those elements into womensprosoccer.com. Our goal is to be the #1 portal for women’s soccer fans, the site where fans come to feed their passion for the women’s game.
Amanda: How do you see Social Media playing a part in the future of Women’s Professional Soccer?
Karyn: It will be huge. We’re looking forward to interacting with fans, allowing fans to interact with players, and helping fans connect with one another through social networking. We’ll use outlets like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other niche sites while also developing our own social networking platform at womensprosoccer.com.
Amanda: You’ve been online for years now. You launched the first rendition of www.ooosasoccer.com in the late ‘90s even before blogging became popular. What changes have you seen over the years in terms of social media?
Karyn: Back when I started my USWNT site, the Internet world felt much smaller, and there certainly weren’t as many niche sites. Today, the Internet has become much larger and more integrated. There are so many more ways to express your opinion and to connect with other users who share your interests.
Amanda: With such an evolving synergy between traditional news outlets and online media, what role do you see newspapers, television and radio playing in this competitive marketplace?
Karyn: Our goal is to reach out to everybody and to have our message carried by as many outlets as possible. Traditional media sources will certainly be important toward our credibility. As the league and teams establish partnerships with traditional media outlets, there may be elements to those partnerships which include online offerings.
Amanda: How are you planning to integrate video and streaming media into womensprosoccer.com?
Karyn: This will be an integral part of our online strategy. As we draw closer to the inaugural season, more and more video will be available on both the league and team websites and that’s something we know our users are looking forward to. We’d like our users to get to know the players both on and off the field and also to provide them with a behind-the-scenes look into the birth of this league. As far as streaming media, it’s premature to discuss what our exact plans are until we have established TV partnerships, but we are investigating streaming games online.
Amanda: Is there anything you’d like to share about Women’s Professional Soccer in general?
Karyn: There are a lot of passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who are invested in WPS. We are taking the time to do the necessary research to put a product on the field that is both entertaining and high-quality soccer, while also making sure that the foundation of the league as a business is strong and sustainable for years to come. We’re looking forward to hitting the field in 2009 and to engaging and interacting with our fans.