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LeagueApps Partner Spotlight – Matt Bond and SixFifty Lacrosse

Lax, Press, Sports Community

One of the most rewarding things about working here at LeagueApps is the opportunity to connect with the leaders of local communities – people who actually have the potential to impact the future of the area around them.  Matt Bond is the head coach, owner, and founder of SixFifty Lacrosse in California.  Going into our interview, I knew Matt was going to provide me with a great perspective on the world of youth lacrosse.  What I ended up getting was much, much more.

When asking the owner of an elite sports club what the goals of their organization are, you would expect to almost always hear, “win at all costs.”  What I heard from Matt was entirely different.  He explained that the entire purpose of SixFifty Lacrosse was to be a pillar of support for the youth in the surrounding area.  He shared that his program and day-to-day actions are his, “personal labor of love.”

Matt did eventually agree that at least part of the drive for his coaches and players was to win games.  The reward, he said, was not taking home trophies, but growing his players into well-rounded young men.  As role models, the key is to, “invest in the personal development [of the players]…where are they now, and where are they going to be when they’re 17?”

That is something that every coach should be asking.  Many players have the dream of growing up and to continue playing at the elite level, be it in Division I college sports, or professionally.  The sad reality is that less than 1% of players ever get the chance to live out their dream.  Matt touched on how important it is for coaches to realize this, and look at the future of each and every athlete.  By doing this, they can shape each player into a complete individual that will be successful at whichever path they choose to live their life.  “The worst thing that we can do as adults is push a child down a path that they did not choose on their own.”

Pushing to get a deeper understanding of why Matt thought this was on his shoulders was quickly met with a response,  “coaches have the greatest opportunity to impact a generation than any other group.”  He went on to explain that there is no larger common denominator between the world’s youth than sports.  It is truly a universal language that everyone can relate to.  Regardless of economic status, intelligence, or religion – sport is what binds us all together.

The challenges around coaches fulfilling their obligations to their participants isn’t seen in the weight room or on the field – rather it is seen in offices and on the sidelines.  “You get to see the good and the bad.  It’s the things that hurt that stick with you, if the kids don’t have an adult to guide them, they’ll get lost.”  Coaches see the greatest joy coming from winning a tournament, and the darkest lows – sometimes coming from the loss of a loved one.

So why then have we seen player retention rates drop over the past few decades?  Matt thinks that it has nothing to do with the joy of the game, but rather the pressure that comes associated with playing.  “There is pressure to win at all costs.”  He mentioned a stat that I have read a few times since joining the LeagueApps team – one out of every three children in the U.S. plays some sort of competitive sport.  Of that number, 70% quit by the time they reach high school.  Many organizations stress winning as the most important goal for their players, when in reality, the coaches and organizers should be focusing on growing each player as an individual.

Which brings me to the perfect opportunity to shamelessly plug the most inspiring aspect of the SixFifty program.  Each year, Matt brings around thirty members of his club down to Costa Rica.  Not for a leisurely trip, but instead to give the players an opportunity to become well-rounded young men.

During the trip, the team plays against the Costa Rican National Team and helps prepare players for the international scene.  They also visit local schools equipped with their own gear and expose the area’s youth to a game that they probably never would have experienced otherwise. 

To learn more about SixFifty Lacrosse and follow the club, head over to their website for updates as they happen.

 

Changing the Name Behind the Game – Soccer in the United States

Best Practices, FC, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps

By Jim Ambrose

In 1994 the United States hosted its first FIFA World Cup. Two years later Major League Soccer in the United States kicked off its first match. Soccer has grown immensely since then and it has become a significant part of many Americans lives. Youth soccer is bigger and better than ever; and every weekend parks and fields are filled with youth soccer players. Parents are dropping their kids off at practice, driving right from work to watch high school and club games.  Adult soccer leagues continue to pop up all across the country. But soccer is still perceived as the “other” sport.  In large cities and among young people the perception is slowly changing.

So what can we do to further the progression of the sport?

Be a contender in the World Cup

Americans expect to win in every high level sport, why should the world’s biggest sporting event be any different? Having Americans become invested in their nation’s team will go a long way.  There are those in the States who dismiss soccer as being nearly, “unwatchable.”  Having a team with the skill to win the world’s most prestigious trophy carries the potential to change all of that.

Keep the youth involved in soccer

How do we create a national program capable of winning such a title?  Simple, start early and keep participants involved.  Millions of kids nationwide play the sport, from inner cities to the suburbs. Yet once they become teenagers, soccer falls by the wayside and the interest shifts to baseball, football and basketball.  There’s glory in the ‘beautiful game,’ we just have to embrace it.

Continue to improve the MLS

The MLS has been around since 1993. The League has tried time and time again to become as popular as the other professional sports, but it has struggled. The league sees spikes of interest following the World Cup, but quickly loses ground as time passes. It largely only caters to its small but loyal audience. They need to improve every aspect of the MLS to be able to reach more of a fan base. 

You can see the perception of soccer changing from just this last World Cup. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was bigger than the NBA Final or World Series, and bigger than just about any piece of programming. Thousands joined together and watched the games on huge screens in parks and stadiums across the country. For the first time in a long time, the U.S. Soccer team was on everyone’s minds and even if you didn’t enjoy the sport you were talking about the event. Soccer will continue to grow in the U.S. regardless of the public opinion.  So people in the U.S. should stop trying to fight soccer and just embrace it. It is easy to root for a sport on top but it takes real passion to be a soccer fan in the U.S.

The LeagueApps Deal Center – Provide More Benefits To Your Organization!

Company News, Release Notes, Value of LeagueApps

LeagueApps recently rolled out our Deal Center.  We’re hoping this is another way for LeagueApps to provide value by sharing great companies and products that may benefit your sports organization and combine with LeagueApps to enhance your organization. We’ll always try to provide exclusive discounts and offers on these products or service. It’s another way we try to put your organization in position to score.

We are often impressed by other products or services that may benefit our partners. Other times, we’ll get recommendations by our current partners about how they utilize or integrate LeagueApps with other services. The Deal Center is our way to showcase these companies.

The initial release of the deal center is stocked with a few initial offerings from companies that we love – and are confident that you will love too!

To start, there are five deals including offers from Paypal, TernPro, etc..  We are working closely with more companies to form tight relationships and bring even more amazing offerings to the Deal Center!  If you have any suggestions for companies that can be valuable to sports organizers please do share and let us know!  We are constantly on the watch for new opportunities to add into the deal center.

Go ahead and take a peek at the deals that we have listed.  If one catches your eye, all you have to do is fill out the form and we will get back to you ASAP with the next steps required for you to realize the benefit. We haven’t yet automated all of these processes so please bear with our team while we process your requests.

Remember though, The Deal Center offers are only available to active LeagueApps partners.

Show me the Deals! »

 

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