Photos: MLS SuperDraft and NSCAA Convention

The 2012 NSCAA Convention could once again be called: The busiest week of my life. Here’s the play-by-play, through a few select photos from the camera on my iPhone. I’ve posted the photos in chronological order, enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10


Arrived in Kansas City and made my way over to the Kansas City Convention Center to check things out. The NSCAA National Office did such a great job with the set-up!

Wednesday, January 11


Woke up to a beautiful Kansas City sunrise and started my day with the NSCAA Board of Directors meeting. After four years, this would be my last meeting as the Women’s Committee representative to the Board of Directors, since I would become Secretary on Friday.


The cold weather couldn’t keep me away from the MLS Digital Social at Cashew Restaurant. What a great opportunity to meet people from around the league that I work with daily but rarely get to see face-to-face! In the photo above, Jarrod Morgenstern and Shawn Francis.

Thursday, January 12


The Red Aprons, honored and distinguished members of the NSCAA, led an early-morning training session with the Convention Registration volunteer staff.


The MLS team got together hours before the SuperDraft to ensure everything was organized and ready to rock. Judy Concha and I snapped a quick one with the MLS Digital sign.


If you watched the MLS SuperDraft, you may have noticed that when a team selected a player, a runner brought the card to the front of the room behind a black curtain… that’s where I was sitting so I could prepare the Official Tweet.


The Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, which happens every year on Thursday at 7pm, had a super-cool Coaches Lounge presented by MLS. We even had a Foursquare check-in special.


I snapped a pic when current President Paul Payne, incoming President Ralph Polson, Director of Education Administration Allison Pronske, College Services Manager Pat Madden, and College Women Representative to the Board of Directors John Daly, were chatting at the NSCAA booth.


The Social for Coaches of Female Athletes presented by the NSCAA Women’s Committee and Sponsored by Women’s Professional Soccer, offered a great opportunity for coaches to meet, mingle and network in a relaxed environment. It was also the perfect place for WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan to address a room full of women’s soccer advocates.

Friday, January 13


What NSCAA Convention would be complete without the stress of an early-morning presentation? Ryan Knapp and I presented, “Five Secrets of Successful Soccer Websites.” And before you ask, yes, we’ll post the slides soon :-)


MLS Digital Day brought together digital, communications and marketing folks from the League and Clubs to talk about 2012 platforms and plans. I’m so excited for things to come!


After the NSCAA Annual Business meeting (where I was elected Secretary of the NSCAA!), I hustled over to the WPS Draft to catch my friends and former WPS co-workers at the tail end of their event. Above, Melanie Fitzgerald, Lisa Cole and myself.


If you’re part of the NSCAA community, the Annual Awards Banquet is a must-attend every year. Here’s our valiant CEO, Joe Cummings, at the podium.

Saturday, January 14


The NSCAA Women’s Committee hosted the Women’s Soccer Breakfast on Saturday morning with Australia Women’s National Team Coach Tom Sermanni as our Featured Speaker. Above, Lisa Cole and I with Sue Ryan, who was presented the Women’s Committee Award of Excellence sponsored by WAGS.


The Women’s Committee Open Meeting was an opportunity for coaches, administrators and managers in the women’s game to get involved in the Association.


The NSCAA VIP reception offered a thoughtful yet light-hearted goodbye to long-time Convention manager Robby Robinson and Awards Manager Jeff Farnsworth. Yes, that’s a real Kansas City barbershop quartet.

Sunday, January 15


My first official NSCAA Board of Directors meeting as Secretary of the Association resulted in absolutely no photos all day Sunday… My fingers were exhausted from all the typing. Okay, I did manage to catch this final shot of my direct flight back to SFO.

See you next year in Indianapolis!

April showers bring May flowers: A look back at a month of travel

Over the past six weeks, I’ve been on the road a ton, so just a quick check in here as my various digital/soccer journeys continue. In early March, I was in Washington D.C. where I met the fine folks at DC United and saw RFK stadium. Then I was off to Seattle for MLS First Kick and some QT with the Sounders digital team. (Check out my blog post from that trip.)

April brought a daytime journey to Earthquakes practice and lunch with their new President, David Kaval. A couple days after my April 2 birthday, I flew to Kansas City for some work with the NSCAA and time with my friends Joe, Tammy, Ryan, Chris and the rest of the gang. I was excited to get a tour of Livestrong Sporting Stadium and a 1/1 with Kyle Rogers, Kurt Austin and the Sporting communications team. Kyle is the brains behind the @ochocinco tweet that brought the NFL star to Sporting KC for a trial.

I took a Sunday morning flight to Newark for the WPS Sunday on Fox Soccer game, Sky Blue FC vs. Philadelphia Independence, at Rutgers. I even got a cameo behind the goal as Casey Noguiera whipped a free kick into the upper V.

The next week I was in New York City at the MLS league office. Worked hard, played hard with the digital crew, Chris, Greg, Bettin, Shawn, Saghini and more. Saturday night, my friends Jen, Josh, Enyo, and I braved the PATH train and ensuing downpour in Harrison, NJ, for Red Bulls vs. the Earthquakes. Even though my hometown team was downed 3-nil, I’ll go ahead and confess my obsession with Thierry Henry – I was thrilled that he scored a diving header only 50 feet away from me.

Anyhow, I’m back in San Francisco now, rocking and rolling. Here are some pics.

Welcome to WPS, Kat Galsim! (officially, that is)

Above: In 2009, Kat (left) was the winner of Hope Solo Sister One Limited Edition sneakers. Check out the story. (Source: Nike Women)

The Women’s Professional Soccer season is drawing near… Coaches are solidifying their rosters, General Managers are prepping their staffs for the season and the WPS league office is putting final touches on the 2011 Schedule (due out this week according to @womensprosoccer).

On the website front, get ready… the WPS League Office has hired a new Digital Manager, Editor and Producer: Kat Galsim! I could go on and on about what a great hire she is for the League, but instead I’ll let the work she’s produced over the last year speak for itself.

Social Media Maven

Kat maintains a Tumblr account at http://katgalsim.tumblr.com/ and logs a Twitter account @katgalsim (follow her now!). She was recently spotted at the PUMA WPS Kit Reveal in Manhattan, video camera in hand, shooting the following spot:



If that wasn’t enough to convince you of her mad skills, check out any of the following videos Kat created over the past year. For her full video list, check her archives on her video page at http://www.youtube.com/katgalsim. Or, you can pop over to her website and click on the “video” tab.

2011 WPS Draft
Our Game Magazine at the 2011 WPS Draft
Our Game Magazine’s Ryan Wood talks to WNY Flash head coach Aaran Lines, Philadelphia Independence head coach Paul Riley, and Washington Freedom/magicTalk SC general manager Briana Scurry at the 2011 WPS Draft (January 2011).

Game Preview: WPS First Round
A preview of the first round of the 2010 WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune. #3 Philadelphia Independence will host #4 Washington Freedom in a do-or-die match in West Chester, PA (September 2010).

FC Gold Pride and Washington Freedom Practices
FC Gold Pride and the Washington Freedom practice the day before their game at the Maryland SoccerPlex (July 2010).

Random Questions with Cat Whitehill
Cat Whitehill answers some random questions after a Washington Freedom practice at the Maryland Soccerplex (July 2010).

Random Questions with Joanna Lohman
Joanna Lohman answers some random questions after a Philadelphia Independence practice in Downingtown, PA (July 2010).

2010 WPS All-Star Game
The 2010 WPS All-Star Game at the KSU Stadium in Kennesaw, GA (June 2010).

WPS All-Star Game Practice
The 2010 WPS all-stars practice at KSU Stadium the day before the game. Cat Whitehill interviews Lauren Cheney, Lori Lindsey, Erin McLeod, and Rachel Buehler (June 2010).

WPS All-Star Game Pick’Em Event
The WPS All-Star Game Pick ‘Em Event at STATS in Atlanta, GA (June 2010).

Reporting Rock Star

Above: The 2010 WPS All-Star Game with Kat and fellow journalists/bloggers Jeff Kassouf, Giovanni Albanese Jr., Jenna Pel, Christa Mann and Rob Penner.

Kat’s no stranger to writing, editing and publishing web content. She’s written 53 articles for Bleacher Report (the most recent 5 are listed below) with over 11,000 article views. She’s also worked as the National WPS Examiner for http://www.examiner.com.

For more from Kat’s archives, check out her Bleacher Report profile page.

Community Contributor

Kat’s got her finger on the PULSE of Women’s Professional Soccer. In addition to all the amazing content she’s produced above, she’s worked as the Director of New Media for Our Game Magazine and Connect World Football, dedicated to professional female soccer players.


Rumor Has It…

…Kat loves a good plate of nachos and is afraid of frogs. She’s also a “Food Spotter” ;-)

Before She Was Famous

Kat Galsim is originally from the Philippines and is now based in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. She graduated from De La Salle University in Manila where she majored in Marketing Management.

Kat began her career in Information Technology and worked professionally in Online Media for non-profit organizations like Gawad Kalinga and publications like inside-the-beltway political journal The New Republic. She’s experienced in web content management systems and has a strong background in online marketing & advertising.

Uhm, hello… This job fits like a glove!

A New Beginning

Kat begins with WPS next week, and I felt compelled to write this post having been so closely involved with the WPS New Media Department for the last three years. Although I’m personally not involved on a full time basis with the league any longer, I couldn’t be more excited that they’ve brought Kat on board.

Congrats Kat, and good luck!

Behind-the-Scenes at the 2010 WPS All-Star Game

Here are some photos from the WPS All-Star Game week in Atlanta, Ga. on Monday June 28 and Tuesday, June 29. Tune in to the WPS All-Star Game on Fox Soccer Channel on Wednesday, June 30th, at 7:30pm ET to catch teams Abby XI and Marta XI in action!

WPS Sunday on FSC announcer Jenn Hildreth and WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci prepare for the All-Star Pick ‘Em Event on June 28, 2010.

The WPS All-Star Coaches Paul Riley (left) and Albertin Montoya (right) discuss a potential player swap. In the end, though, no trades were made.


Abby XI (L to R) (back row) Lauren Cheney, Abby Wambach, Laura Kalmari, Jillian Loyden, Tasha Kai, Amy LePeilbet, head coach Paul Riley, (middle row) Tina Ellertson, Hope Solo, Shannon Boxx, Karen Carney, Kelley O’Hara, Angie Kerr, Heather O’Reilly, Lori Lindsey, (front row) Cat Whitehill, Lori Chalupny, Eniola Aluko during the WPS All-Star Pick ’em Event at Stats in Atlanta, GA, on June 28, 2010.

Marta XI (L to R) (back row) Brittany Taylor, Karen Bardsley, Cristiane, Erin McLeod, Christine Sinclair, Becky Sauerbrunn, Allison Falk, (middle row) Kelly Smith, Marta, Amy Rodriguez, Alex Scott, Ramona Bachmann, head coach Albertin Montoya, (front row) Aya Miyama, Sonia Bompastor, Rachel Buehler, Christie Rampone during the WPS All-Star Pick ’em Event at Stats in Atlanta, GA, on June 28, 2010.

Fox Soccer Channel’s Jenn Hildreth interviews Abby Wambach for the All-Star Game preview show. Tune in Wednesday, June 30th at 7:30pm ET to watch!

WPS Sunday on FSC producer Bill Cullin (left), WPS Director of Communications Rob Penner (center), and WPS Director of Marketing Rachel Epstein.

Fox Soccer Channel’s Mark Rogondino stops a tough shot from Washington Freedom forward, Abby Wambach.

Bloggers/journalists who made the trip to the WPS All-Star Game in Atlanta. Front row (left to right): Jeff Kassouf of EqualizerSoccer.com, Giovanni Albanese, Jr. of Goal.com, Jenna Pel of AllWhiteKit.com. Back row: Christa Mann of the Atlanta Beat, Rob Penner of womensprosoccer.com, Kat Galsim of BleacherReport.com.

Traditional vs. new media – Will women’s sports ever get equal coverage?

Every day, the WPS Director of Communications, Rob Penner (in the pic above with me), sends out the Daily Clips to the league office staff. Today’s clips included a story called, Continued apathy by sports media toward women’s sports a bigger problem than first meets the eye.

The article references a study from researchers at the University of Southern California and Purdue University titled, “Gender in Televised Sports: News and Highlight Shows 1989 to 2009”. Their findings, the latest installment of a 20-year tracking effort, finds coverage of women’s sports lower than ever in 2009, down to 1.6 percent of airtime on local TV stations and ESPN’s SportsCenter.

According to the article, the study unearths a litany of depressing numbers:

  • 100 percent of the shows surveyed started with a story on men’s sports.
  • 72 percent of all coverage focused on just three sports, men’s basketball, football and baseball.
  • The highest proportion of coverage occurred ten years ago, when local TV stations spent 8.7 percent of airtime on women’s sports (SportsCenter was still at 2.2 percent).
  • Reporting on the most popular women’s sport, basketball, was often shunted to the rolling “ticker” at the bottom of the TV screen.

But what may be most surprising is the reaction to the study: Apathy. A handful of media outlets reported on the study when it was released last week, and comments on various blogs and Internet message boards offered the same insulting rationalizations:

  • This is what the sports audience wants.
  • Broadcasters are focusing on the most interesting sports.
  • Most female-centered sports are no good, anyway.

According to the study, as the gap closes between numbers of girls and boys participating in high school and college sports, the gap in coverage has widened. At the college level, the average number of women’s athletic teams per NCAA school has risen 4 times since 1972, to 8.64 teams.

The article concludes by suggesting that “the gap won’t really improve until sports journalists see the disparity as an essential journalism failure – a continuing and worsening inequality that is distorting how sports fans see female athletes and women in general, continuing a cycle that intensifies their marginalization in a vibrant marketplace”.

Click here to read the full article >>

Jockeying for Position

I work at Women’s Professional Soccer, a female sports league vying for market share in the aforementioned grim media marketplace, and I can definitely attest to the fact that we struggle to get placement in major media outlets. Rob Penner is an absolute rock star, and gets us plugs all the time, but where we may get a graphic or side-bar mention in USA Today, most headlining stories are about men’s sports – it really is just a sad fact.

However, at WPS we have developed a digital strategy that targets our unique audience, with the longtail hope/intention that the metrics demonstrate a value proposition to major media, especially as they begin to turn their attention/focus online. The WPS digital strategy is a unique combination of TV (WPS Sunday on FSC every week), Social Media (our Twitter followers top 240,000), Search Engine Optimization (to rank in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo), and multi-media content creation with a heavy focus on video.

To provide you with some context, the New York Times recently referred to WPS as The iLeague, Goal.com says WPS Dominates MLS In Online Media Strategy, and SI.com says the Twitter craze is rapidly changing the face of sports.

Dr. Marie Hardin, PHD, the associate director for research in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State University, recently wrote an article titled, Does ‘New Media’ Bring New Attitudes Toward Women’s Sports?. She states:

We have new tools and platforms for our advocacy. Social media, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, have changed the way sports news and commentary is presented and consumed by fans. The “transmission model” for sports coverage, where media professionals were the gatekeepers for what did (and did not) get ink or airtime, has disintegrated. Coverage and commentary is now much more user-driven and community-oriented.

The Tucker Center, an interdisciplinary research center leading a pioneering effort to examine how sport and physical activity affect the lives of girls and women, their families, and communities, has created the following video to demonstrate the change in communications for female athletics:

Who’s to say what all this non-traditional media coverage will entail? Despite how the current facts and observations in the research at the beginning of this article trend, I don’t believe all our efforts at Women’s Professional Soccer are without hope.

On April 18, I participated on a Conference Call with other Women Talk Sports bloggers called, The State of Women’s Professional Soccer, but more specifically it was about the state of media coverage for women’s soccer – in America and around the world. In general, we agreed that media coverage of men’s sports far outweighed that of women’s sports, but non-traditional media outlets (blogs, social media, etc.) are creating opportunities for women’s sports to get more exposure, and perhaps go mainstream.

With Commissioner Tonya Antonucci placing a huge emphasis on digital media from the launch of the league, we got an early jump on the new media marketplace. We’ll see where this lands us in the years to come. Truthfully, if anybody can break through, I believe we can.

Sidenote: My ultimate goal would be for http://www.womensprosoccer.com to rank #1 in a Google search query for the keyword “soccer”. (Nerd.)

Women Coaching Top-Level Soccer: A Discussion with the 6 Female Coaches in WPS

On Wednesday, April 28th, I held a conference call with all 6 female coaches in Women’s Professional Soccer to talk about the development of women’s soccer coaches – in America and around the world. On the call, we had:

Below, I’ve included the text from my intro, and then a very brief summary of each Q&A, with time markers for your listening convenience. Enjoy, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

* Please note that the summaries are not exact words (you’ll need to listed to the podcast for that!), and I recorded the call on Skype so once in a while there’s a break in the audio (sorry).

[audio:http://www.amandavandervort.com/audio/coaches1.mp3]

(If you can’t see the player above, you can also download the .mp3)

Intro: Welcome everybody to today’s call, “Women Coaching Top-Level Football, A Discussion”.

My name’s Amanda Vandervort, and I’m the owner of Soccer Science – a blog about the technology that is revolutionizing the way we see the beautiful game. I also work in New Media at the WPS League Office, and I’m the Chair of the Women’s Committee for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

I’ve organized this call, here at the beginning of the 2010 WPS season, because I often find myself talking about Women Coaching Soccer – why we’re not seeing many women at the highest levels, what barriers women are facing to becoming top-level coaches, and how we as a coaching community can help develop women to stay in the game and take on coaching as a career. I thought – who best to chat about these things than with the select few who have actually made it?

With that I’d like to welcome 4 of the female coaches in WPS to the call. We’re expecting two more throughout the call, so hopefully they do join us. Let’s go around the room and if you could each introduce yourself, the team you coach, and your position that would be great. And, to give this intro a little flavor, let’s dig right in and can you give us a n idea about how your background (hometown, country, culture) has impacted your career choice to be a soccer coach.


Emma Hayes (right) discusses strategies at the 2010 WPS Draft with Red Stars general manager Marcia McDermott. (image: isiphotos.net)

1:30 – Emma Hayes, Head Coach for the Chicago Red Stars. From London, England. Was injured and took coaching courses as a teenager. Then came to the states to pursue her dreams of coaching professionally.


Lisa Cole walks onto the pitch to congratulate her players after a win in 2009. (image: isiphotos.net)

2:00 – Lisa Cole, Assistant Coach for the Boston Breakers. Soccer has been a huge part of her life and felt coaching was a natural progression. Started coaching in the 9th grade. Tactics have always appealed to her.


Nicci Wright (left) works with Freedom goalkeeper, Erin McLeod. (image: isiphotos.net)

2:30 – Nicci Wright, Goalkeeper Coach for the Washington Freedom. From British Columbia, Canada. Was a teacher, and started coaching during her time with the Canadian National Team. Progressed into club, ODP college, the W-League and then WPS.


Denise Reddy shares a few words with the Red Stars defenders. (image: isiphotos.net)

3:30 – Denise Reddy, Assistant Coach for the Chicago Red Stars. Coached ODP in NJ at age 16 and continued throughout college. Played oversees as a pro for 11 years and learned a lot from many different coaches.


Pauliina Miettinen has a word with Sky Blue FC player, Laura Kalmari. (image: isiphotos.net)

4:00 – Pauliina Miettinen, Head Coach for Sky Blue FC. It’s been natural, she always wanted to be a teacher and loves soccer. Appreciates all the support she’s received, and she wants to give back.


Anne Parnila organizes the Sky Blue FC midfield. (image: isiphotos.net)

5:24 – Anne Parnila, Assistant Coach for Sky Blue FC. Welcomed to the call, but just plans to listen in.

5:45 – Why do you think you “made it” to pro coaching? What was it that influenced you – a person, an event? Were there any particular challenges that you faced?

6:00 – Emma Hayes. Intrinsic motivation and enjoyment of being a leader. Didn’t have the opportunities in her own country, even if she had the qualifications, because there were no opportunities. The 1999 World Cup made her realize there were opportunities in the States. Sue Ryan and Kim Wyant influenced her. Became a W-League coach at 25. Need a slice of luck and opportunity.

7:40 – Lisa Cole. The people she’s been around – Dr. Colleen Hacker and Tony DiCicco, Sue Ryan, Nancy Feldman. Can name a ton of good, quality coaches. Spent time around them by volunteering or creating opportunities to be in those spots. Good mentors are important. Taking coaching courses, speaking up, having confidence.

9:00 – Nicci Wright. Was lucky to play up until 3 years ago. Transition from player to player-coach, and then coaching. In a situation where she’s been given a great opportunity and may have followed different lines, so every day is a learning process with Jim Gabarra and Clyde Watson. Big difference between where Canada was when she played, and where they are now. Didn’t grow up with a lot of women to look up to in the Canadian system.

12:00 – How do we retain pro players in the game? As we’re developing WPS and pro leagues around the world, how do we encourage, retain and mentor top-level athletes and female players to stay in the game and take on coaching as a career?

12:15 – Nicci Wright. In the Canadian system, it’s a lot about the coaches you’re brought up with. Had a chance to be a player-coach, and there’s a couple players that she’s played with that are now coaching in the youth system, but more than anything it’s about having an open door. Has only had one female coach, so once women begin to see coaching as a possible career path, and the door is open to women, we’ll have more players becoming coaches. Currently, it’s still a struggle.

14:00 – Emma Hayes. In England, the support given to female coaches and their development has improved dramatically under Hope Powell. She has put opportunities in place for women to coach at the top levels. There is more support, and mentorship through their “A” license. With the creation of the 2010 Super League, we’ll hopefully see more opportunities for female coaches at the higher levels.

15:15 – Lisa Cole. The Germans have done a good job in this area because they have their players taking coaching licenses during their playing careers – not to make them all coaches, but to introduce them to tactics and help make them better players. Yet as a result we see players advancing into the coaching ranks.

16:15 – Denise Reddy. She went through the same thing in Sweden. They provided, free of charge, the opportunity to take coaching licenses. Take it with the top pro players in the region, men and women. In Sweden, they also have conferences where they invite coaches to watch games, interact, and talk about where the game is going.

17:30 – Pauliina Miettinen. Hasn’t lived in Finland for many years so can’t relate to the system there so much. Did all her schooling here in the states. Meeting Mark Krikorian was “the best thing that ever happened to me, coaching-wise”. In America, people push you to go higher, where this may not be the case elsewhere. Opportunities are greater here to support yourself as a coach. Going from player to coach, she just tries to do her best, be honest, be funny, and work hard every day.

19:40 – Pauliina and Lisa, can you talk more about how Mark Krikorian has influenced you?

20:00 – Pauliina Miettinen. Mark does things thoroughly, properly, and with integrity. He is willing to help you any time, regardless of when and where you are. Follows through and makes you feel special. He says thank you every single day. Gives credit where credit is due, and values your work and your efforts. Honest, straightforward, and doesn’t play games.

21:40 – Lisa Cole. Mark is one of of a number of male coaches who have really invested in the women’s game – also Tony Dicicco and Jerry Smith – and works to help females become successful in the game, both as players and coaches. Mark in particular, recognizes his staff’s strengths and weaknesses. He puts his staff in situations where they can excel at what they’re good at. He empowers people around him.

24:00 – Emma, can you talk more about how Sue Ryan influenced your coaching career

24:20 – Emma Hayes. Sue Ryan mentored Emma to not miss steps in the coaching development process. Coach the youth players, become a clinician. Be patient and be attentive to the details that come along with coaching at different levels. While Emma always knew she wanted to be a Head Coach, Sue advised her to take an assistant job, and it’s allowed her to have a different perspective and relationship with the players. It’s critical that we give back to communities.

26:43 – Where do you see the women’s game in 20 years?

27:00 – Lisa Cole. Gaps will close between countries, in terms of competitiveness. WPS will be celebrating it’s 22nd year of play. Sponsorship and the value that sponsors are seeing in females participating in sports is increased. There’s a lot of work to be done – In 20 years, we could be restarting again if we don’t stay on top of the work we’re doing now.

28:00 – Pauliina Miettinen. In Europe, a lot of counties have emerged, and as a result we’ll see a more balanced level of play. We have so much more to learn as players. Tactically and technically we will become more proficient, but we are still young as a sport. Even in 5 years the game will look different.

29:10 – Nicci Wright. When we started WPS last year, we were using footage of the 2003 Founder’s Cup, and the ability of players has completely changed. So looking forward, it will continue to change. 20 year is far off, but the game will continue to grow.

30:30 – Denise Reddy. With WPS, the leagues around Europe may not be as strong here at the beginning. But because of this, they will be able to develop their younger players – 16/17 year-old players are currently in the top divisions abroad. In America, we’ll need to develop younger players, especialy in technical and tactical advancement, so when they come out of college at 21, they’re at a higher level and can take the steps to becoming a pro.

32:00 – Emma Hayes. We will see the introduction of better long-term player development strategies and a more academy-like structure in the women’s game, similar to the men’s game in this country. Continued lobbying at FIFA will allow for the development of grassroots soccer in emerging nations (Africa and Latin America) will bring more teams participating in larger, worldwide tournaments. One thing that WPS has benchmarked has been the development of social media in reaching out to its followers – sharing game highlights, interacting with fans and followers, these are creating an impact that will truly be realized in the years to come. “While it may seem as a threat to the rest of the world in terms of taking players, we’re actually setting standards for the women’s game.”

35:35 – Thank you for taking the time to be on today’s call. This is just the tip of the iceberg on all the things we could talk about. Looking forward to seeing you all on the pitch soon!

Interested in seeing a WPS game? View the full 2010 schedule, the TV listings, and webcast/iPhone streaming schedule.

Sharing three recent content-driven new media initiatives at WPS

We’re one week into the WPS season, and It’s been super-busy at the league office, as you can imagine. I thought I’d take a moment to put a pen to paper and discuss what’s been happening on the inside – well from the web department at least. This post offers a brief overview of three content-driven initiatives at the WPS league office.

WPS Fantasy Challenge

We launched the WPS Fantasy Challenge, which has gotten off to a pretty rockin’ start. This was really the brain child of the Commissioner and brought to life by Karyn Lush in the league office with STATS, our stats agency. If you haven’t had a chance to make your team yet, that’s cool. You can still sign up at fantasy.womensprosoccer.com, although your chances of winning the any of the leagues you’re in get slimmer by the week because you’ll have fewer opportunities to amass points as the season ticks away. Personally, I think the fantasy game is really fun, and it’s been cool to see my less-than-obsessive-WPS-friends (aka the ones who don’t actually manage the stats on a weekly basis) kick my butt. Sad but true.

Defend Your Turf

Next up, Defend Your Turf. Rachel Epstein at the league office brought on Pereira & O’Dell as the league’s marketing agency and together they’ve really built a rock star marketing campaign that brings together TV, web, text, social and print elements that work across the league. They’ve described it as “the attack of the 50-foot Women’s Professional Soccer player,” ha! Basically, they’ve put up these awesome building-side projections featuring Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom), Tasha Kai (Sky Blue FC) and Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars) in each of their team hometowns. The projections are interactive, and when they’re up, passers-by can text in their #DYT message and see it in real time.

Here’s Abby Wambach’s projection as an example:

I think this campaign has been especially fun, because it’s enabled fans to have a voice in a way that women’s sports fans aren’t necessarily accustomed to: “Talk some trash”. See what people are saying on Twitter right now: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23dyt. Here are a couple of my favorite tweets so far:

A couple Chicago Red Stars players have gotten into it too:

Here is a video of the projections in Hoboken, NJ.

Player Interviews

We held a Social Media Round Table at the WPS League Office a couple weeks ago (full blog post still to follow), and one of the no-brainers/awesome ideas that came out of it was to link our WPS Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel preview stories with a player and video interview that gets shared across the interwebs. So, you’ll probably notice that the FSC preview for the Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars story featured an interview with the one and only Carly Lloyd. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be posting the FSC preview for Boston Breakers vs. Philadelphia Independence game with an interview of Amy Rodriguez. Mad props due to our in-house journalist Abby LePeilbet for taking on this new challenge and executing so well! And big thanks to John Archibald in New Jersey and Dani Collins in Philadelphia for conducting these interviews.

Of course, this is just a brief glimpse of all the stuff we’ve put together in the last couple weeks; I’ll get more posted soon I promise. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a note or a comment if you have questions, ideas or especially WPS feedback… We’re listening!

Preseason: The rubber meets the road for WPS coaches

This was originally posted as a forum discussion on the WPS Fan Corner. Pop on over there to weigh in :-)

So you guys may know this about me, but for those that don’t, in a addition to being a total web geek, I’m also a soccer coach. And because of that, I get to work with the WPS coaches a lot here at the League office. Anyway, I can’t believe preseason is finally here, and all I can think about is how nervous/excited I am for my coaching buddies. They’ve been working their socks off since the end of the season last year. All the time that WPS fans are bored… sittin’, waitin’, wishin’ for their favorite players to get back on the pitch… the coaches are busy at work making trades, setting up schedules, scouting games, drafting players, etc.

But now is where all that work pays off (or not!). At this level, the coaches’ work is much different than in the youth game. During the season in the pro game, as the coaches will tell you, it’s more about player management and tactical team development. And for those who did their homework in the off-season, this is where the rubber meets the road.



So head on over to the Fan Corner post for the full preseason schedule. What I’d love to hear from you is which coach’s off-season work will shine in these early stages of 2010?

All photos from http://www.isiphotos.net

My YouTube search for “Be Prepared” brought this Lion King video up. I decided to post it b/c there’s definitely a connection – it’s a bit of a stretch though :-) but worth a giggle if u think it through.
Cheers.