Sunday, March 8, 2009

'Tis the Season

This was my Twitter message yesterday morning on the way to Toyota Park:

"Today: Advisory Board mtng, Pick Your Seat Day, CRS Fndation board candidate intervw, talk to ISSA, 1st CRS exhibitns @ Lk Barrngtn. Whew!"

Consolidating yesterday's whirlwind of Red Stars activity into 140 characters really didn't do the day justice. It was a 12-hour non-stop Saturday that only slowed down for about 20 minutes prior to the Illinois State Soccer Association's meeting.

At the end of the day Red Stars GM Marcia McDermott and i talked about avoiding overlaying so many activities on the same day in the future to help improve quality control....we agreed that we really didn't have much of a choice this time and it's unlikely we'll run into many more days like that in the future.

The two public events came off generally well:

"Pick Your Seat Day" featured several hundred Red Stars season ticket holders relaxing in the Toyota Park Stadium Club away from the persistent rain, touring the seating area before selecting their seats and meeting Red Stars players including Swedish National Team star Frida Ă–stberg and Danesha Adams.

Hundreds of fans squeezed into the remarkable Lake Barrington Fieldhouse for the first glimpse at the Chicago Red Stars ever in a round robin tournament. The pre-season team (pictured above) is still missing four of its internationals who are awaiting visa clearance and three players who are in Portugal with the US National Team. Donations from the spectators raised more than $1,000 for the Chicago Red Stars Charitable Foundation. Through two mini-games (45 minutes each), the Red Stars remain undefeated. Tina Estrada forever etched herself into Red Stars lore by scoring the first two goals in Red Stars history to top Northwestern 2-0. Afterwards, a fresh-legged Purdue team drew the Red Stars 0-0 in the second match. Australian National Team Goalkeeper Lydia Williams earned the shutout for the Red Stars against the Boilermakers.

The three private events i participated in also went well:

The Red Stars quarterly Advisory Board meeting was attended by about twenty stake holders and everyone contributed to discussion ranging from the Red Stars mascot (still undecided) to suburban viewing party locations to recommendations for urban promotional venues (Reggie's on Ladies Arm Wrestling Night - thank you Tom!).

Red Stars Charitable Foundation Executive Director Amber Simons and i met with Denise Barreto to discuss the possibility of Denise joining the Red Stars Board of Directors. Denise has tremendous corporate and foundation experience. She is currently a marketing executive for Sears and formerly served as the founding Executive Director of the Chicago Fire's FireWorks For Kids Foundation.

At the ISSA Meeting, Red Stars Account Executive Carrie Sear and i updated the group on the Red Stars progress and described the IWSL partnership benefits including the complimentary ticket vouchers for all players, which were distributed after the meeting.

After the long day was over i had a long drive back home through the rural towns of Johnsburg, Richmond, Lake Geneva and East Troy before finally getting to Milwaukee. The drive did seem to go faster than usual as i had a series of team related phone calls during most of the trip.

'Tis the season though, as the days, minutes and seconds continue to count down until the launch of Women's Professional Soccer!

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