Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012, As Passion for Soccer Continues to Grow in the USA!

On a big scale, 2011 was a big year for the Soccer realm here in the USA. The No.1 men's Soccer league, Major League Soccer (MLS), continued to grow in many different directions and closed its season very successfully. I was most impressed by the growth in the league's gear store's stock and product creativity, its social media use and fan engagement, as well as its introduction of big  name international stars as Designated Players(DP's) and moreso, the addition of two more teams to the league! On the women's side, we witnessed an increased recognition and passion of the once not so cared for leagues and teams, get so much attention- the Women's Professional Soccer League (WPS) and the US Womens's Soccer Team, respectively. Of course the FIFA Women's World Cup played a big role in that too, but, the media wasn't hesitant to boost this sector of the Sport either. Phenomenal!We saw the enthusiasm for Women's Soccer exceed any imaginable expectations in 2011, and that is priceless! We saw individuals like Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and other Internationals who play in the WPS and for their national teams just continue to thrill the U.S sports scene as well as the international Soccer realm- on and off the field. Of course it was not a year without drama of sorts. The Women's Professional Soccer League(WPS) came so close to losing its Division 1 status due to the lack of the basic requirements to continue existing as one. However, it was so exciting to see the passion that surrounded the whole scenario as active advocacy to petition US Soccer  to give the league a chance, despite its limitations, went viral!!! For the first time ever, my attention to College Soccer was way deeper than it ever was and I think it's because I was surrounded by  influences who continuously blogged, shared via social media or just enthusiastically talked about about the college events. Several  college games were scheduled in my local area and invitations by players and friends to attend via social media, created and drew more awareness to the games. My desire for 2012? More major Soccer prone entrepeneurship breakouts that will expand the sport's sponsorship base and create more job opportunities. Looking forward to an exciting 2012!!! Click Here to Read More..

Monday, November 7, 2011

BA CUP 2012: Travel, Socialize and Play Soccer in Buenos Aires!!!

It's time to get ready for the BA Cup 2012 tournament. The BA Cup is a Buenos Aires- (Argentina) based tournament aimed at attracting Soccer and travel loving individuals( and groups of individuals) to participate, at mainly amateur level, in a one-week Soccer extravaganza. Next year, this exciting event will be held July 22-28th 2012, so start planning now! Plan to travel, socialize and play Soccer in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires come 2012!!! For more info, you may visit their website at www.ba-cup.com or email anna@ba-cup.com 

Skype: buenosairescup

Picasa: http://picasaweb.google.com/buenosairescup

Blog: http://bacupsoccer.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BACup.Argentina. Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

With Most MLS Teams Raising "Home Grown Players", What's the MLS Superdraft's Future and Relevance like?

Put Me In, Coach: A Parent's Guide to Winning the Game of College Recruiting (Volume 1)
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without ThinkingIt's evident that Major League Soccer(MLS) teams are investing more effort in "home grown player" development. Any diligent observer wonders what the future and relevance of the costly and time consuming MLS Superdraft held every year, is. Arguably, there is still need to keep college Soccer programs in business (and the NCAA organization, maybe) because a budget has been made available to run them by most colleges. Question is, are they really worth the effort these college players and their coaches put into preparing, training and persevering collegiate tournaments when out of so many players only 54 (for the year 2011) end up being drafted by MLS teams- which rarely have them starting any games or even sitting them on the bench as substitutes? The logistics are clear. Despite the MLS team- and team roster expansion, the teams already have veteran players and are only looking to add one or two great, but inexperienced professional players. The team rosters have spots reserved for internationals, then the (now) popular Designated Players (DPs) and  (boom!) the "home grown players"- which players teams prefer to their superdraft counterparts, due to their ready and steady availabilty for training at a much younger age. It's sad that a player goes through the MLS superdraft, celebrates being drafted by a dream MLS team only to find he almost never dresses up for any game all season. Some MLS teams are flexible and will loan these players out to lower league teams or to moderate international teams, which has ironically, made some players more marketable to MLS and to other foreign advanced leagues, later on. For some players, in this situation, it's the beginning of an irreversible disgraceful "disappearance". The core issue at stake here is, is it even worth having an MLS superdraft anymore for the college graduates? Is MLS wasting its (and the event's participants') money and other resources, organizing this grandiose annual event with trivial results? Is it time for strategy change and resource re-allocation to benefit all this young talent? Food for thought, as college season approaches...
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

RAW YOUTH SOCCER TALENT COULD REMAIN UNTAPPED OWING TO PARENTS' FINANCIAL MISHAPS.

Coaching Youth Sports Book SoccerSoccer for Kids-Getting StartedWhen Mom and Dad are working double day- shifts or night shifts, hence left with only time to come home to rest and to take care of the basic responsibilities at home, afterwards, life for a youth athlete with a desire to develop their potential is not easy. Children with parents who can afford to send them to summer (Soccer) camp are often a step ahead of their counterparts whose parents cannot afford the same. One may argue that there are a lot of other free or sponsored alternative programs offered out there, but with Soccer (and Sports in general) logistics are a little more complicated...Unlike other activities that are usually located at the same facility in the neighborhood, Sports requires alot of travel and it's not always possible to be secure a ride to an away-game, for example. The cost of signing up for the programs plus the extra expenses on kits and food while practicing, are quite a portion when it comes to an average income family. This raises a simple question: how many talented children have we missed or shall we continue to miss just because their families' economic situations keep them left out of the loop? Is the Soccer development realm yet to come up with some very innovative ideas of tapping into this less travelled path? Happy summer!!!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soccer Season- 2011 has already taken off; Is it Soccer "Spring"?


Like the change of climatic seasons, it's refreshing to see new things unveil every time a new Sports season begins. Soccer season is already in progress and at least most professional league teams have put in two or more games.  Special credit to Major League Soccer (MLS) which has exhibited a lot of remarkable developments every other year, by effectively introducing at least an expansion team or more each year. This stability and tenacity remain very intriguing. The expansion teams have demonstrated the untapped affinity for the Sport as these teams seem to bring more crowds to their stadiums and possess outstanding numbers of social media followers and subscribers than ever before- even more than the veteran teams(oops, sorry for the observation)! The best part about these expansion teams (coupled with expanded player rosters) is that they have opened doors for the more seasoned, as well as rookie players, to play in this league. Hmmm... and who is not thrilled by the international studs the teams in the league have signed lately, creating a more exciting, but even more competitive atmosphere? This spices up the flavor and aroma; or in floral terms, it just escalates the scent and fragrance of the bloom!!! But wait: it gives the "lazy bones" who were previously reluctant to work harder, a wake-up call. Most notable achievement of the MLS, though, is the now obvious intent by MLS to recruit players from its Player Development League (PDL)/Team pool.  Also paid attention to- in serious detail- is the league's ability to boost its use of Digital Technology, as a Marketing and Communication tool, which has enabled the fan base to more involved than ever before. Bless the innovations' department and whoever is involved. Oh; 'recently browsed MLS store and noticed how so diversified in merchandise, it has become within just a one-year period. There's a lot more to choose from especially for Soccer "fashionistas", yay! Now, like other developed and established Soccer leagues in the rest of the world, MLS has found its place in that realm and has successfully proved its pessimistic critics of the past, wrong. Looking forward to the rest of 2011!!! Fullsite: http://www.soccerfloflo.com/
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Soccer and Television Media Marketing


 Last June, there was great enthusiasm and hype when ABC Television Network featured an extended ESPN broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final  game(s). One wonders whether Soccer organizations have deliberately stayed away from regular TV networks in an attempt to protect their contracts with traditional Soccer TV allies/ networks. This has somehow kept the Sport within the confines of the same Soccer passionate crowd or audience with no significant growth...Has this hampered the rate of the growth of the Sport's visibility and appreciation? Why have Soccer organizations  presumed that every Soccer- loving individual can afford (basic) cable/ dish network services? Even more, why has it been assumed that every Soccer fan is tech- savvy with the ablity to use computers and online technology? The questions go on, and one wonders if this enhances or handicap's the intrisic value of the Sport, the players and all those involved. Sometimes loyalty has to be foregone in the Marketing world for dynamic changes to occur. In this case boundaries in Television Network collaborations have to be extented beyond the so-called traditional Soccer stations which are not usually very attractive to a mediocre Sports fan, who has other Sports Channels lined up right next to each other, to shuffle through. The cable/dish service providers use this as their effective competitive marketing tool, but it sometimes serves as a detriment to less privilleged (Sports) channels. Siting an example- Oprah Winfrey could easily pull this kind of this stunt off, because she is already established enough, to "pull" a substantial crowd with her into a private cable network setting.  Soccer organizations may, therefore, have to find a way of being more visible elsewhere other than just confine themselves this tight loop.  Looking forward to all the 2011 Soccer season- women's and men's at all levels. The public has to become more acquainted with the Sport before it can be totally "secluded'' to boost revenue.  Gear up!!! Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A BRIGHTER "SOCCER USA" 2011?

   It's 2011 and all the beginning- of- year "chaos" is over. So far, all the major leagues (women's and men's) in the United States have already had their Super Drafts, as well as Extented Drafts, and are now headed for the pre-season. It is amazing how home-grown- player recognition and prioritization by the leagues rose significantly this Soccer year,  giving hope to the younger players considering this Sport for their future career...  Still, this does not cater to the faster growing supply base of Soccer talent coupled with the slower growing demand for the same. Player development programs are being expanded , but even with the addition of new teams, in the case of Major League Soccer (MLS) , together with the expansion of their rosters, accomodation of the ever growing talent is still limited. Hence wondering if other than shoving the not-so-lucky, but talented, young players into the lower leagues(out of which they may never advance to a higher league), there are some other alternatives we are yet to see unveiled!
Turning to the women's league- are we eventually going to see more of sustainable growth and stability in the Women's Professional Soccer league(WPS) and an end to its "team-in/ team- out" drama every year?  What are the odds of this unpredictable scenario coming to a close? 
 On a brighter note, still enthused and psyched by the greater energy being exhibited in the Youth stars on the rise, one envisioning their "generation", four to five years from now, being a  phenomenal one- only comparable to the economic "dot.com bubble" of the 1990's ! Click Here to Read More..