What do you think was most impressive about the U.S. run to winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup? Was it four goals in 16 minutes to kick off the World Cup Final – punctuated by Carli Lloyd’s wonder strike from midfield? Or the 26.7 million viewers that tuned in to see the U.S. 5-2 victory over Japan, making it the most-viewed soccer match in American television history? Despite commanding an audience larger than the recent NBA finals and last year’s World Series, not everyone agreed. One argument attributed success in Canada to economics rather than talent, tactics, and hard work. Five of the eight quarterfinal teams represented the world’s five biggest economies. Coincidence? Probably not, as clearly resources, opportunity, and cultural norms play a huge role in shaping sport and determining success. Sports Illustrated writer Andy Benoit had a harsher view of the Women’s World Cup, which unfortunately for him, he shared on Twitter. Amy Poehler and Seth Myers said, really? Snapchat might have been a better choice! Regardless of where you stand, I think we can all agree that the U.S. Women impressively left it all on the field. Maybe that’s what they’ve been doing for the last four years – Carli Lloyd says so.
I spent the last Sunday in June hanging from construction scaffolding (for a better view) in downtown Seattle, basking in the celebration of our city’s 41st annual Pride Parade. Diversity was front and center as representatives from across our city – community, corporate and government organizations – joyously marched together to support Seattle’s LGBTQA community. Parade highlights included Mayor Ed Murray's triumphant march, Dykes on Bikes leading the charge, bubbles, and of course, Soundwave rocking it for social justice.
A week earlier Sounders FC celebrated Pride Month during its match on June 20 against San Jose, honoring Jason Collins for his leadership in creating a world where inclusivity and acceptance are celebrated. The Pride Match and Parade book-ended one of the most important precedents set for equality in our generation, the Supreme Court ruling in support of same-sex marriage. I think Sounders FC’s Digital Team said it best, #LoveWins.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
Frozen is just one of many wildly successful Disney franchises that have taken the world by (snow) storm. Disney’s ‘franchise’ strategy – think Star Wars spinoffs or sequels, Marvel superhero movies like The Avengers, or animated original and sequel films – include not only big screen hits, but also themed toys, television shows, pajamas, theme park rides – really anything children can dream up. Riding the waves of its hit movies, Disney has provided fans the opportunity to experience their favorite narratives across multiple platforms. Frozen is one example of how Disney is reshaping what success looks like in the entertainment industry.. I’m curious, is this an opportunity for more community impact at Sounders FC? What would our ‘franchise’ strategy look like? Think big themes and multiple touch points. Through Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG, we’ve started to scratch this surface. But what’s next? Is it joining the fight against cancer?
Our franchise strategy might include 30 consecutive days of Sounders FC player visits to Children’s Hospital to support Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September. There may even be a Sounders FC Calendar available in October to increase awareness and raise funds for breast cancer. Stay tuned for more.
Field of Dreams
When was the last time you had the opportunity to feel like a kid again? I can tell you for me, it was running out onto Safeco Field for the 2015 United Way All-Star Softball Classic for Youth. Think Field of Dreams. Mariner Hall of Famers Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner were spot on in entertaining a crowd of over 5,000 strong that came out to enjoy the festivities and to support solutions to youth homelessness. This year the game raised a grand total of $1.4 million, producing equally as many smiles on the field and in the stands. Sounders FC alums Steve Zakuani, Taylor Graham, and this guy collectively went 3 for 4 with 3 home runs, 8 RBIs and an All-Star Classic MVP award! Another highlight was the participation of The Mockingbird Society, a primary beneficiary of the All-Star Classic, who not only provided inspiration, but also youth athletes to compete side-by-side professional athletes, reality TV stars, UWKC board members, and a world class chef. Next year, UWKC needs to recruit this guy (and baby)!
Vote for Earl
Please meet Earl Lara, Seattle’s 2015 Community MVP!
Earl is the President of Street Soccer Seattle, an organization whose soccer-based curriculum fosters camaraderie, community, and confidence to empower homeless individuals to find greater success and peace in their lives. A Street Soccer colleague said that, “Earl has a passion and drive to serve, mentor, and lead players who are struggling with homelessness.” Please join me and vote for Earl as he competes for the league-wide MLS Community MVP and a chance at $10k for Street Soccer Seattle. And yes, voting multiple times is encouraged, just wait 60 seconds and…vote again!
To find out more about how United in Green, Sounders FC’s community call to action, is using soccer as a vehicle to empower and inspire, click here.