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Marketing/Sponsorship Tips and Trends By Phil Summers, Executive Director VYSA Measuring Your Sponsorship Assets In today’s competitive and sophisticated youth sports landscape, winning significant sponsorship dollars for your club or league has become a science. Youth soccer is competing with more and more youth sports organizations for a finite amount of sponsorship dollars being allocated by brands looking to connect with the youth demographic. To successfully compete for those dollars, clubs must become more sophisticated in how they pitch their assets and brand. Gone are the days where clubs could win large partnership deals by providing a menu of sponsor assets (web banners, jersey logo, facility signage etc.) and assign a price for each. Today, sponsors are looking for specific metrics tied to everything you are trying to sell them. Frequently, a brand seeking to connect with the youth market will engage a sponsorship marketing agency who will evaluate your proposal and assign a true dollar value to everything you have pitched. You must be prepared to defend how you value what you are selling. For instance, what is a digital banner on the home page of your club’s website worth? An agency evaluating your site will ask for the total number of page views (PV’S), total number of unique page views (Uniques) and the total amount of banner ad positions you are selling on the homepage. A sample value allocated to your site by an agency could be determined like this:  

500,000 PV’s per year, 4 ad banner positions available per position (rotating inventory) and a $15 cost per thousand (CPM) Value: 500 x $15 = $7,500 divided by 4 = $1,875

By creating more ad positions, you deliver a “share of voice” or SOV that is a percentage of the number of rotating ads. If there are four being sold the SOV is 25%, if two are rotating the SOV is 50% and so on. To determine the value of a jersey asset being included in a sponsorship package the agency will look at the number of players wearing the jersey with their logo, the number of league/tournament matches being played in a year and the estimated number of spectators attending those games tournaments. The valuation would look something like this: 

1000 players x 20 games/events x 75 average spectators per event = 1,500,000 impressions x $15 CPM = $22,500 (Value of jersey sponsorship).

Next issue I will review how to develop a successful sponsorship sales deck that will help prepare you to maximize the value of your club’s sponsorship assets.

Phil Summers is the Executive Director of VYSA and an Adjunct Lecturer in the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington where he teaches courses in advertising and sports management. Prior to VYSA, Phil held senior marketing positions with the NFL, Sirius Satellite Radio and MSG Varsity.


Safety First: FC Richmond Expands Baseline Concussion Testing Program for All New and Travel Players Organization renews partnership with Sheltering Arms for testing ~ FC Richmond is first youth athletics program to require, implement a baseline testing concussion protocol for all travel players ~ Concussion program extended to include parent information session. MIDLOTHIAN, Va., November 3, 2017 -- FC Richmond has once again raised the bar when it comes to player safety and concussion awareness. Through its ongoing partnership with Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers, FC Richmond has completed baseline concussion testing for all its age-eligible travel soccer players, as well as all new U13 through U19 players entering the Chesterfield-based youth soccer club. “We take player safety very seriously at FC Richmond, and this expansion of our concussion awareness program is a testament to our dedication to their long-term brain health,” said Trip Ellis, FC Richmond's Director of Coaching. “From what we can tell, FC Richmond is the only youth soccer club in the Richmond area to both mandate these tests and facilitate their administration.” All of FC Richmond's U13 through U16 travel players, as well as all new players U13 and above, were required to complete the baseline testing this year, which was provided by Sheltering Arms. Last year, FC Richmond completed testing for all of the club's U17 travel players in its organization. In the event of a concussion, these tests can be repeated and results compared to the baseline to determine severity and nature of the injury. “These tests can be a valuable tool for medical professionals and coaching staff if a player suffers a concussion during training sessions or a match,” said Ellis. FC Richmond’s concussion awareness program also extends to training for its players’ parents. While a player is completing the 45-minute screening, which is conducted at Sheltering Arms - Bon Air Center, their parents are invited to attend an information session provided by a concussion therapist. Parents are given information about the tests as well as the latest concussion research, treatment protocols and return-to-learn/play progression. FC Richmond is planning to extend its baseline testing and parent and coach information training to its recreational programs in the spring.

According to a 2016 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, the annual rate of soccer related concussion/closed head injuries per 10,000 youth through U19 athletes. To date, FC Richmond has facilitated baseline concussion testing for more than 450 participants increased by 1,595 percent from 1990 to 2014. This can be attributed to better awareness, reporting, and diagnosis of concussion, but also there is no question the incidence of concussion injury is increasing. About FC Richmond Founded in 1985, FC Richmond provides competitive and recreational soccer programs devoted to building lifelong skills. Today, FC Richmond serves and develops 2,500 young athletes in recreation, player development, and travel soccer programs. FC Richmond is Virginia's only club to produce a High School Gatorade Male National Player of the Year. FC Richmond has also produced 14 National Team/Pool players, one U.S. Olympic Team player, one High School National Scholar Athlete of the year, and more than 20 professional players. In addition, FC Richmond has produced more than 500 players who have gone on to play at the collegiate level. Learn more at About Sheltering Arms Sheltering Arms helps patients find the power to overcome the obstacles of illness and injury with a complete range of physical rehabilitation and wellness services. To learn more about Sheltering Arms' two hospitals in Mechanicsville and Midlothian, eleven outpatient centers, and fitness/wellness programs, visit About Madison+Main Madison+Main is an award-winning brand communications firm and, simply put, we believe that Bold Brands Win. Clients include the Better Business Bureau, CowanGates, Cudas, The Dragas Companies, FC Richmond, Lightning Protection Institute, The National MS Society, Richmond International Raceway, Virginia's Office of the Attorney General, Virginia Energy Sense, Swift Creek Mill Theatre, Synalloy, Yard Works, and many others. The firm is based in Richmond, Virginia, with an additional office in Blacksburg, Virginia. Learn more at

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE TECHNIQUE! By: Gordon Miller Technical Director, VYSA With the recent loss and subsequent exclusion of our Men’s National Team from the 2018 World Cup, there has been lots of speculation, hyperbole, and criticism aimed at changing the system and/or making large or small corrections to the existing one. Sometimes a setback can be a good thing-if it’s handled in the right way. It can force us to look at ourselves in the mirror and analyze the way we are going about this business of soccer. The Germans and Belgians did it in a big way when they lost, while other well developed soccer countries continue to do it on a regular basis. League structure, tournaments, player identification, pay for play model, and coach education are all elements that should be thoroughly dissected. Not necessarily dismantled, as some have suggested, but analyzed to see what needs to be tweaked or improved. Our player’s determination, tactical understanding, physical fitness, mental strength, willingness to work hard for each other and follow instructions are all strengths that the US player possesses in abundance. We have educated men on the National Team who get it. When our players to go to Europe clubs, quite often, their coaches have been quoted as saying the US player works hard, is unaffected and gives to the team. Tim Howard captained Everton, Brian McBride captained Fulham, Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover 96 and arguably the best leader we have, Michael Bradley, the current and respective captains of Toronto FC and the National Team. We have never had a problem leading a team, or leading players. What we do need in our players is individual savvy, guile, deception and a high level of technique on a consistent basis. Yet it looks like we are moving further away from addressing those needs within our own coaching education system and then subsequent training of our players. US Soccer is changing, once again, the curriculum inside our coaching licenses to a Play – Practice – Play, model. In this new model, players, when they arrive at training will immediately begin to play amongst themselves. For example, they could start out in a 2v3 then progressively add others to the game as they arrive. Following that, there is a segment where a practice theme is

addressed for a period of time, which will once again be followed by a play again portion at the tail end of the session. This model will be instituted in the new 4v4, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 licenses due to be unveiled this coming January all across the country. These new licenses no longer have a formalized and isolated technical training segment to them. The hopes are that it will be recognized and addressed within the structure itself. Yet, if this is one of our glaring deficiencies then we must be careful not to brush past it when we are training the next generation of coaches. A great many of the grass roots coaches who attend the licenses have never played soccer at all. How can they teach it if they don’t know what the mechanics look like in the first place? Added to the fact that it’s hard to train technique under match conditions anyway, since most players revert to old habits. For example, they may be reluctant to use their left foot when it’s called for. By training technique, you are assuring that those weakest parts are being fully addressed. In order to improve technique, repetition, variety and feedback are critical elements to its success. Isolating and training technique is, in this author’s opinion, a necessary part to improving, not only the range of the skill set, but the overall comfortability on the ball itself. If you have a high level of technique then you can be taught high level tactics and subsequently be placed in any formation on the field that the coach likes. But, there is no system that will cover up the inability to control a ball or pass a ball straight. Add to that, the fact that we are seeing the ongoing effect of the Barcelona factor where a lot of our youth club’s training sessions are simply possession based only. We all want to play like Barca, where small group rondos and large group possession exercises reign supreme. However, what we fail to see is that in order to succeed in those activities players already need to have a high level of technique coming in. The exercises themselves don’t do a thorough enough job of addressing technical deficiencies. Keep stressing technical training. Keep insisting that it is done right and as often as possible. Keep asking players to do it at home. Let’s keep what made us strong, whilst adding in the characteristics that we desperately need to improve our game. The acquisition and repetition of the game’s technical skills still play a huge part in the overall plan.

US YOUTH SOCCER REORGANIZES VYSA LEADS REGIONALLY & NATIONALLY! VYSA is a proud member of US Youth Soccer (USYSA). USYSA is the largest member of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) with over 3,000,000 players and 300,000 coaches directly affiliated. US Youth Soccer has recently reorganized to deliver a more effective “growth oriented and member-centered� organization. Improvements in national programs and more are underway. As part of this reorganization, Region 1 is now identified as the East Region and is comprised of all states from Maine to Virginia. VYSA, with over 145,000 players and 30,000 coaches and administrators in Virginia and the District of Columbia is the largest association in the East Region and the third largest state association in the United States. VYSA continues to work closely with USYSA and USSF to bring improvements to programs, coaching education and player safety continuing our tradition as a leader in the youth soccer landscape.

"Though we focused on aspiring professionals who played as much as nine hours a week, playing soccer for three hours a week might be enough for a substantial effect. We already knew exercise was key for bone growth, but here we clarify what type of exercise. Although we didn't study other sports, it's reasonable to suppose that weight-bearing, high-impact, highintensity exercise like tennis, badminton, basketball and handball will have similar effects to soccer." The year-long study, of 116 boys aged 12-14, took a variety of measures including bone mineral content (BMC).

SOCCER BOOSTS BONE DEVELOPMENT IN BOYS, STUDY SAYS Playing soccer can improve bone development in adolescent boys, new research shows. In a study comparing adolescent soccer players to swimmers, cyclists and a control group of boys not involved in regular sport, scientists at the University of Exeter found soccer led to significantly better bones after one year of training. Adolescence is the key period for bone development, and poor development at this stage is linked to reduced peak bone mass (the amount of bone mass at the end of the skeletal maturation, around age 30), increased fracture risk and osteoporosis later in life. Though swimming and cycling have proven health benefits, the scientists said their study "raises a question" about whether they are good for bone development due to the non-weight bearing training - and they say young swimmers and cyclists could benefit from more weightbearing exercise in training regimes."Our research shows that playing soccer can improve bone development in comparison to swimming and cycling," said first author Dimitris Vlachopoulos, of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter.

BMC measurements were taken at the lumbar spine (lower back) and femoral neck (upper leg) - both key sites for both fractures and osteoporosis. The results showed soccer players had higher BMC than swimmers and cyclists after one year of sport-specific training. For example, soccer players' BMC was 7% higher than that of cyclists at the lumbar spine, and 5% higher at the femoral neck. The research was funded by the University of Exeter via a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie fellowship awarded to principal investigator Dr. Luis Gracia-Marco, also of the University of Exeter. Gracia-Marco said: "Adolescence is the key time for bone growth. Once a person reaches puberty, the next five years are vitally important in this respect." The athletes in the study were all playing highlevel sport - the soccer players in Exeter City FC's youth setup, and the swimmers and cyclists at leading clubs in the South West. The boys in the control group, though generally active, were not involved in regular sport. Despite the many health benefits of cycling and swimming, the study found little difference in bone development between cyclists, swimmers and the control group. Reprinted from National Alliance for Youth Sports



The official e-newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.