In honor of Charlotte Moran

Charlotte Moran (center) pictured with her good friends Louise Waxler and Sue Ryan.

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I share the passing of our friend Charlotte Moran. Charlotte passed away peacefully early this morning at her home after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Charlotte was one of the most active organizers for girls’ and women’s soccer in America. She had over 30 years of experience in soccer management, from her start as a team mom in 1977, through roles at regional and national levels. She has served at various times as a club secretary, league secretary, league vice president, state vice president and state president.

Link: EPYSA – In Memorium
Link: US Soccer mourns the Loss of Charlotte Moran
Link: NSCAA mourns the passing of Charlotte Moran
Link: Women’s Soccer World – 1997 Tribute to Charlotte Moran
Link: 2009 Glenn Myernick Service to Soccer Award
Link: 2007 NSCAA Women’s Committee Award of Excellence

Charlotte was an ODP state administrator for 20 years, Chairperson for the National Girls’ ODP from 1991-1995, and acted as the Chair of the US Soccer Women’s Committee from 1990-1991. She was the long-time Executive Director for the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association and the Administrator for the Region 1 Olympic Development Program.

Charlotte was the Director of Team Operations for the Philadelphia Charge of WUSA from 2001-2003, and was in support of bringing an MLS and WPS expansion teams to Philly. Click to download this PDF, it’s a tremendous article from 2001 when Charlotte left EPYSA for the Charge:

I can only imagine how proud she would have been at today’s ceremonial naming of the new Women’s Professional Soccer team in Philly, the Independence.

In 2009, Charlotte was awarded the Soccer Champions Coaches’ Clinic Glenn Myernick Service to Soccer Award. She was awarded the Youth Long-Term Service Award at the 2009 NSCAA Convention in St. Louis. In 2008, Charlotte was honored by the NSCAA Women’s Committee with the 2007 Award of Excellence, an award established in 1999 to recognize those who have brought honor and distinction to women’s soccer. She’s on the short-list with April Heinrichs, Michelle Akers, Lauren Gregg, Michelle Morgan, Adele Dolansky, Colleen Hacker, Lynn Berling-Manuel, Anson Dorrance and Tony DiCicco.

Here’s a congratulatory message from her Region 1 Team, filmed in the winter of 2007:

I can’t express how sad this makes me to lose such a wonderful friend and mentor. I feel lucky to have had Charlotte in my life… she gave me advice on nearly everything – from my career path to my boyfriends. Even my jewelry.

And I’m not alone. Charlotte touched so many lives… The notes of love and gratitude are flooding my inbox today… here’s a note from John Daly this morning: We have lost a jewel this morning. What Charlotte did for soccer in general, and girls’ soccer in particular cannot be measured. So many young girls are now enjoying, and have enjoyed, the fruits of Charlotte’s efforts. Whether playing in the new Women’s Professional Soccer league, or in coaching, young women all over the country have benefited from the remarkable work Charlotte put in over the years.

Below I’ve posted a little behind-the-scenes video I made at Regional Camp in the summer of 2007. It makes me so happy to watch this, and I know that none of this would have been possible without the love, support, hard work, passion, vision and guidance of Charlotte (she gets a cameo at 1:04):

Charlotte’s contributions to this world and to soccer were enormous and there is a huge void in our game, world and lives that will be difficult to fill. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlotte’s family at this difficult time.

April 23, 2009: A Special Note from Amber Brooks for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Editor’s note: Amber Brooks is a Region 1 ODP player, where Charlotte has been the Regional Administrator for years.

Dear friends,

As you all know by now, our very own Charlotte Moran has been battling pancreatic cancer since her diagnosis in November 2007. Most of you are familiar with Charlotte’s numerous contributions to girls’ soccer, and recognize that she is in fact the embodiment of Region 1. She is the one responsible for providing us vast opportunities and we owe much of our personal development and success to her efforts. Many of you have reached out and provided support during her struggle, but now I am calling upon everyone to wear their support by purchasing a “Score for the Cure-Charlotte Moran” purple bracelet. These bracelets are offered for purchase in conjunction with the Inaugural Score for the Cure 3 vs. 3 Soccer Tournament in Honor of Charlotte Moran taking place on May 22, 2009. One-hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, which was created to find better treatments and a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Purchasing and wearing the bracelets is a simple, yet meaningful statement of your support. It would certainly bring a smile to Charlotte’s face if she saw coaches and players alike sporting the purple bracelets in her name at the 2009 Region 1 ODP Tournament in June and at Regional Camp in July. Together we can show our appreciation and inspire Charlotte to keep fighting!

Sincerely,
Amber Brooks

Please fill out this form and send in your order.

How to Market Yourself as a Professional Athlete using Social Media

Dear Athlete,

Whether you know it or not you are, quite literally, a marketable product… but unless you’re one of the few headliners in your league, chances are you just can’t afford a team of people to get your name out there, build a cool website, or create a personalized marketing campaign.

Good news! There are ways make yours a household name using FREE tools currently available online – most of which fall into the category of “social media”.

Before we dig into it, there are a couple things you should think about before engaging in a Social Media Marketing campaign:

• Be yourself. People can sniff out disingenuous posts from a mile away.
• Writing an over-edited, “vanilla”, ubiquitous post will not reap positive results.
• Social media is about 2-way communications – real relationships. Engage with fans, and they will reward you handsomely for it.
• It’s okay to keep your personal sites, well… personal. Instead of “friending “ the hundreds of requests you receive on any given site, start “Fan Page” in that community and direct requests there.
• Good resource: A Word on Social Media Etiquette from Techipedia http://www.techipedia.com/2008/social-media-etiquette-handbook
• Be mindful that you may have 13-year-old girls reading your posts, and on the flip-side, 45-year-old men.
• Link your pages to each other. This will allow fans to crawl your mini-social-network and engage within different communities.
• Links = equity. The more people you can get to link to your pages, the more valuable they become on the World Wide Web. Good resource: 101 Link Building Tips to Market your website: http://www.seobook.com/archives/001792.shtml

Facebook / MySpace – These are all free-access social networking websites used connect and interact with other people. Here are some keys to building a successful campaign:

• Use your real name, on your profile and in the URL whenever possible. Your name is your brand.
• Post a clear photo of yourself – headshots in uniform or action shots are best, so people can see who you are and what you do immediately upon finding your page.
• Update with regularity – player stats, events you’ll be attending, thoughts on the last/upcoming match, etc.
• Answer questions that people ask on your wall/comments.
• Post photo galleries, videos, etc. as soon as possible after matches and events.

Twitter – Twitter is a micro-blogging site where users seek to answer the age-old question, “What are you doing now?” Twitter is currently gaining incredible traction in the Professional Sports world. Embrace it, but keep in mind:

• Add an avatar and a bio at the minimum. Let people know who you are.
• Following people is a compliment to them; being followed is a compliment to you.
• Learn the Tweeter’s lingo. Good resource: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too: http://www.searchengineguide.com/jennifer-laycock/part-two-from-twits-to-tweeple-why-i-emb.php
• Answer your Direct Messages and @replies.
• Build your followers by getting your Twitter page listed and following others in your community:
www.womensprosoccer.com/connect/wps-twitter-list
www.athweets.com
www.athleteswhotweet.com
www.athletetweets.com
www.twackle.com
• Don’t follow a whole bunch of people and then un-follow them. This is commonly known as Twitter-spam and is poor form in the Twitter community.
• Use some of your Tweets as “link-bait” to direct fans to other online properties – for example, a blog you wrote, a Facebook post, or a video of you. But be cautious not to use Twitter exclusively for push marketing, Twitter is about real relationships.

YouTube – Start a YouTube channel and keep it updated. Remember to use relevant keywords and a quality description when you post.

Blogging and Commenting – Blogs are a great way to drive interest in your brand, and develop a content-rich site that will (hopefully) perform well in organic search like google. Good resource: How Search Engines Rank Pages: http://searchenginewatch.com/2167961

• Write catchy headlines and use relevant keywords in titles and section headers. Good resource: 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work: http://www.copyblogger.com/10-sure-fire-headline-formulas-that-work
• Give attribution/links to other sites and bloggers whenever appropriate.
• Link-exchange with other relevant sites, and connect with other bloggers who share your out-of-sport interests.
• If you’re blogging for an external source – New York Times, Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune for example, include a link to your player profile and your Twitter page. Leverage this mass audience by encouraging people to dig a little deeper.
• Don’t use your blog as a flame war against a player or team you don’t like, or to tarnish someone else’s image.

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled by thinking that Social Media Marketing is easy – It’s work. And you’ll need to put the time into making it successful.

However, the greater your popularity, the more tickets you’ll sell to matches and/or the more page views you’ll turn on your team’s website (which equals ad impressions)… and the more you’re worth for those lucrative endorsement deals! Then maybe someday you can afford a team of people to do this important Social Media Marketing for you. ;-)

Finally, you’re leaving your digital signature on the Internet right now. Think about the consequences of your engagement on any social site. Racial slurs, criticisms without warrant, and blatant abuse don’t work in real life, and they really have no place in the social media channels. Above all, think about maintaining a certain level of professionalism that you would hold yourself to in any in-person interview.

In addition to the ideas listed here, there are many more outlets that you can utilize for your marketing campaing. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like more information about them – Delicious, Digg, StumpleUpon, BallHype, etc. – or want to learn more strategies to make your websites Google-Friendly (Search Engine Optimization).

Thanks for your time, and Happy Tweeting!

Sincerely,
Amanda

Follow the WPS Commissioner on Twitter!

From Forbes.com: Social networking has clearly reached a tipping point. Sites like MySpace and Facebook boast hundreds of millions of members. Barack Obama’s presidential victory demonstrated that platforms like YouTube and Twitter could transform electoral politics. Yet in corporations where such tools have been expected to bring profound transformations, there has been strong resistance to change.

Not here.

WPS, and our Commissioner in particular, recognizes the unique opportunity social media presents us. I’ve started to compile a comprehensive list of all the WPS Tweeters. Here’s the ones I already know are in the Twitter-mix off-hand (more will follow – I will keep a comprehensive list for you here and on my Big Soccer blog).

Women’s Professional Soccer @womensprosoccer
Tonya Antonucci @wpscommissioner – WPS Commissioner
Mary Harvey @wpscoo – WPS Chief Operating Officer
Vicki Veenker @wpsgencounsel – WPS General Counsel
Rob Penner @rdpenner – WPS Director of Public Relations
Amanda Vandervort @vandey01 – WPS Web Coordinator (hey, that’s me!)
Karyn Lush @klush17 – WPS New Media
Hope @wpsteenreporter – our WPS teen coorespondant :-)

Boston Breakers @bostonbreakers
Kelly Smith @kjs8eng – Boston Breakers Player
Alli Lipsher @alipsher – Boston Breakers Player
Joe Cummings @breakersgm – Boston Breakers General Manager
Tony DiCicco @tonysocc – Boston Breakers Head Coach
Lisa Cole @lcole22 – Boston Breakers Assistant Coach
Kevin Hassett @khassett – Boston Breakers New Media and Communications
Greta Teller @GTeller – Boston Breakers Marketing Manager
Erica Hunt @EricaHunt – Boston Breakers Account Executive
Matt Lopez @mwlopez – Boston Breakers Account Executive
Heather Pease @hpease – Boston Breakers Account Executive

Chicago Red Stars @chicagoredstars
Lindsay Tarpley @lindsaytarpley Chicago Red Stars Player
Danesha Adams @daadams9 – Chicago Red Stars Player
Megan Rapinoe @pinoe – Chicago Red Stars Player
Nikki Krzysik @Krz23 – Chicago Red Stars Player
Brittany Klein @britklein – Chicago Red Stars Player
Natalie Spilger @nspilger – Chicago Red Stars Player
Peter Wilt @redstarsceo – Chicago Red Stars President
Marcia McDermott @mmcd21 – Chicago Red Stars General Manager
Emma Hayes @emmahayes1 – Chicago Red Stars Head Coach
Nate Kipp @nathankipp – Chicago Red Stars Assistant Coach
Jim Houghton @redstar1 – Chicago Red Stars Marketing
Alyse Lahue @alahue – Chicago Red Stars Operations
Elly Deutch @deutche – Chicago Red Stars New Media
Pat McNamara @pmcnamara1 – Chicago Red Stars Corporate Sponsorship
Amber Simons @ambersimons – Chicago Red Stars Operations
Kait Sawyer @kaits – Chicago Red Stars Sales & Office Manager
Billy @barmes4 – Chicago Red Stars Equipment Manager
Rob @mizzourc – Chicago Red Stars Intern
Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion – Red Stars Supporter’s Club
Nicole Hack @nikhak – Red Stars Supporter’s Club

FC Gold Pride @fcgoldpride
Jill Oakes @joakes19 – FC Gold Pride Player
Liz Bogus @TeddyRoxy – FC Gold Player

Washington Freedom @dcfreedom
Kati Jo Spisak @kjspisak – Washington Freedom Player
Cat Whitehill @CatWhitehill4 – Washington Freedom Player

Saint Louis Athletica @athleticasoccer
India Trotter @IndiaT – Saint Louis Athletica Player

Los Angeles Sol @losangelessol
Aly Wagner @alywagner – LA Sol Player
Kendall Fletcher @kendallfletcher – LA Sol Player
Valerie Henderson @valhenderson – LA Sol Player
Christopher Higginson @christafa – LA Sol New Media
Charlie Naimo @LASolGM – LA Sol General Manager
Kenzo Bergeron @LASolOriginal – LA Sol Marketing

Sky Blue FC @skybluefc
Thomas Hofstetter @HofstetterTh – Sky Blue FC Owner
Francisco Prandoni – @DOCIntl – Sky Blue FC COO
Karen Bardsley @klbardsley – Sky Blue FC Player
Natalie Smith @NatalieLSmith – Sky Blue FC Staff
Paul Blodgett @pblodgett – Sky Blue FC Goalkeeper Coach

The Ultimate WPS Social Media Resource is on Big Soccer

social media images

So I spent the better part of my weekend sorting out all my bookmarks and RSS feeds. Then, I posted all the WPS team Social Media links on my Big Soccer blog at http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/blog.php?b=3803 so if you have any inclination to friend, find, follow, tweet, tube, flick, yelp, or otherwise gossip about the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride, Los Angeles Sol, Saint Louis Athletica, Sky Blue FC, or Washington Freedom, now’s your chance.

L.A. Sol Bloggers – Anybody out there? C’mon you’ve got MARTA!

Rob Penner, the Director of PR here at WPS, just sent this article out to all our teams about the change in media coverage for professional sports. The most interesting line to me was: […] the L.A. Times “doesn’t cover the Clippers and Kings on the road,” as “basically, any team other than the Lakers that plays at Staples Center is viewed as a fringe team and is covered as such.” As a result, bloggers who cover the Clippers, Kings, Ducks and other L.A.-area sports teams are “becoming the only coverage out there for their teams.”

So… Where are the L.A. Sol bloggers? If you’re in LA and you’ve ever thought about blogging, now’s the time to step up! You can email me and I can help you set up your very own blog… or go to wps.theoffside.com and tell Melissa you’re interested.

In the meanwhile, here are a few quotes Rob pulled out to share:

FANNATION.com, 1/22

Media Cutbacks Leading To Decreased L.A. Sports Coverage

L.A. sports media coverage is “shrinking by the day,” a “microcosm, no doubt, of what’s happening in many other sports cities across America,” according to Arash Markazi of SI.com. KLAC-AM, the radio home of the Lakers since the ’76-77 season, this week “merged with Fox Sports Radio in a move that saw eight on-air personalities lose their jobs,” and those that remained “will now be hosting nationally syndicated shows that will no longer focus on L.A. teams.”

ESPN Radio 710 L.A., meanwhile, “already airs plenty of national programming and will likely increase its national presence” when ESPN opens its L.A. HQs at L.A. Live. FSN West and FSN Prime Ticket “ditched its only local news show ‘The Southern California Sports Report’ years ago and primarily airs national programming and infomercials outside of local games.” Area newspapers have “significantly cut their coverage of local teams as editorial staffs are being trimmed due to the economy.”

The result is “little to no coverage on teams outside the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, USC football and UCLA basketball.” Markazi noted the L.A. Times “doesn’t cover the Clippers and Kings on the road,” as “basically, any team other than the Lakers that plays at Staples Center is viewed as a fringe team and is covered as such.” As a result, bloggers who cover the Clippers, Kings, Ducks and other L.A.-area sports teams are “becoming the only coverage out there for their teams”

CLIPSNATION.com, 1/20

Will Any Papers Be Covering The Clippers By The End Of The Season?

Clippers coverage, “partly driven by the dire economics in the newspaper business,” has been “declining steadily in recent years.” The “re-assignment of Clipper beat reporters to supplement the teams of reporters covering the Lakers for the same paper is particularly distressing.”

For instance, L.A. Daily News Clippers beat reporter Ramona Shelburne, who has been “doing a terrific job covering the Clippers, particularly on her blog,” covered Monday’s Cavaliers-Lakers game though the Clippers hosted the T’Wolves that day. It is “clear that newspapers need to put their resources on the topics that interest their readership,” but “access to information about the Clippers just got more difficult to come by” ().

Amanda’s Social Media Sites Exposed

I recognize this is probably tremendously boring, but I haven’t blogged in a couple days so I wanted to let you know what’s going on in the website office here at WPS. I’m working on post-draft and post-NSCAA wrap-ups (videos, photos, interviews, blogs, etc), starting a Big Soccer blog (more to follow on this), redesigning the league e-newsletter (Kelly at Bronto you’re a super-star!), doing a full WPS site walk-through (gulp), drafting a best-practices document, developing a social media plan (Facebook, MySpace, Fan Corner, YouTube, et. al), looking for New Media Intern (know anybody?!), trying to sort out remote desktop for Mac–>PC… the list goes on. That’s just today, and that doesn’t even include the work Karyn’s doing.

Anyway, now that I’ve justified my lack of blogging, what I really wanted to write about was an email I just received from Kevin Hassett, the Director of Communications at the Boston Breakers. We’re working on linking all of our social networking and bookmarking sites together, so I sent him a list of all my pages. Holy cow I’m all over the place. Putting all your URLs in one place really does demonstrate how exposed our lives really are. Well, c’est la vie! If you’re on any of the following sites, let’s be friends :-)

Delicious: http://www.delicious.com/vandey01
Digg: http://www.digg.com/users/vandey01
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/amandavandey01
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/vandey01
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24522405@N08/sets
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mfs001
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582786288
Fan Corner: http://fancorner.womensprosoccer.com/profile/AmandaVandervort

Email to the Women’s Committe – Good links!

amanda_at_the_convention

I just sent this email out and I wanted to share it with everybody:

Hi NSCAA Women’s Committee,

I am am sitting in the WPS Draft, but I wanted to write to you and let you know how amazing the social was last night. The room was PACKED (250-300+/- coaches of female athletes). The speakers were amazing (Courtney Carter from MLS/SUM, Emma Hayes from the WPS Chicago Red Stars, and Pia Sunhage from the USWNT). Pia even sang a song to the group which was awesome!!!

Special thanks to Charlotte and Kathy who organized the event, along with the NSCAA Convention Committee. And Robbie Robinson who said it was okay to keep the bar open even though we were way over our anticipated budget. Sue and Louise, all your hard work over the years as Chairs of the committee showed last night with this event! Lisa, April & Colleen, your work on the Algarve Cup has been amazing, and I’m happy to say that we sold a ticket at the social last night. I’m sure there are many more people to thank, but I have to get to the WPS draft right now (Chicago’s on the clock with the second pick) so I’ll get back to email shortly.

I’ve also uploaded photos from the Convention… enjoy!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=one_set72157612590168760

Also, I did some investigative reporting I thought you might like :-)
http://www.amandavandervort.com/blog/2009/01/reporting-live-from-lunch-at-the-nscaa-convention/
http://www.amandavandervort.com/blog/2009/01/an-exclusive-video-with-nscaa-staff/

More to come… Can’t wait for the breakfast!

Hugs,
Amanda