Saturday, February 9, 2008

Town Hall II

Women's Professional Soccer had its second public Town Hall yesterday here in Pittsburgh at the United States Youth Soccer Workshop. i was joined on the panel by executives from the Wasshington Freedom (Louise Waxler), St. Louis Soccer United (Caryn Chasteen), FUSE/ideas (Dennis Franczak) and the League (Aaron Burch). Longtime Pittsburgh soccer leader and former professional player and coach Denny Kohlmeyer did a terrific job moderating the session.

Louise did a great job emphasizing the positives of WUSA that WPS hopes to retain when the new League launches in April, 2009 - specifically, the quality and competitiveness of the play on the field. Much of the forum was spent talking about the differences in the business model, which will be the key to WPS' sustainability.

With an audience that included many of the top youth soccer leaders in the country including New Jersey's Evelyn Gill, Ohio's Paul Luchowski and Minnesota's Ellie Singer, Aaron talked about the League's outreach to youth soccer leaders to serve as ambassadors and evangelize the League. Caryn described St.Louis' landmark merger of the St. Louis Soccer Club, Scott Gallagher SC and Metro United under the St.Louis Soccer United banner. When questioned about the potential for creating divisions in the soccer community through WPS youth initiatives, Caryn pointed out that St. Louis Soccer United welcomes the addition of any area club and won't limit it to the three clubs currently on board. Louise and i said that WPS teams are cognizant of the potential to alienate portions of the soccer community, while trying to link in and support it. We agreed that it is important to serve the whole soccer community and that WPS teams are striving for fair and equitable partnerships.

Dennis talked about the League's marketing efforts and how it planned to connect with USYS' membership through social networks as one part of a broader online marketing plan that will work to integrate adult and young adult audiences with the sports large youth following.

i felt it was a very good discussion and helped spread the news about WPS to a very important audience. The next scheduled Town Hall is the League's first local one, which happens to be in the Chicago area Saturday, March 8th at 11 am. It will be held as part of the IYSA Soccer Expo, which is at the Schaumburg Sports Center. Hope to see you there!

I also had the opportunity to address Region III leaders yesterday and will wrap up my time in Pittsburgh on the convention floor at our booth this morning and addressing Region II this afternoon.

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