By Barry Janoff
April 1, 2013: The kid who lives down the block from you and plays soccer may be ten, but soccer in the U.S. is officially 100, and the sport's movers and shakers are doing all they can to pitch that fact to fans and non-fans alike.
According to U.S. Soccer, the governing body that oversees the sport in America, the charter that officially launched the sport in the U.S. was signed in New York on April 5, 1913.
One hundred years later, coaches, players, executives, marketers and fans will rally round the flag of U.S. soccer to celebrate the first century and look ahead to the next.
"The Centennial has allowed us to share stories about people, events and moments that have truly contributed to U.S. Soccer's success through these first 100 years," Sunil Gulati, president for U.S. Soccer, said in a statement. "We hope that our membership, fans and supporters take a moment during the week to reflect on the first 100 years of U.S. Soccer and imagine all the things we can accomplish in the next 100 years."
Among a plethora of soccer-specific activation, U.S. Soccer will oversee various events in New York this week, including a takeover of Times Square, special lighting in the Empire State Building and ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell.
Soccer is current experience a surge of participation in the U.S. at all levels, including a growing number of teams participating in and fans and marketing partners supporting Major League Soccer.
Both the U.S. National men's and women's soccer teams are on course to represent the U.S. in the next FIFA World Cups, with the men's competition in Brazil in 2014 and the women's tournament in Canada in 2015.
U.S. Soccer marketing partners that are participating in the centennial events include Allstate, AT&T, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Castrol, Century 21, DePuy Synthes, El Jimador, Gatorade, Marriott, McDonald's, Nike, Panasonic, Pepsi, Visa and Yingli Solar.
Among the former and current U.S. national team players expected to attend events in New York this week are Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones, Carli Lloyd, Michelle Akers, April Heinrichs, Walter Bahr, Tab Ramos and John Harkes; as well as U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
U.S. Soccer is supporting with a multi-media marketing campaign that includes TV, print, outdoor, Internet and a heavy dose of social media at such destinations as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The campaign will continue throughout the year, with special focus on U.S. national team FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. The schedule includes June 2, when the U.S. men's and women's National Teams each play matches, back-to-back, (live on ESPN networks); and the U.S. men's team playing in Seattle (June 11), Salt Lake City (June 18), Columbus (Sept. 10) and Kansas City (Oct. 11).
The U.S. Soccer takeover of Times Square is scheduled for April 4. A press conference is scheduled for April 5 in New York's City Hall to mark the official 100th anniversary day.
According to Sunil Gulati, "Celebrating in New York City – where 100 years ago a group of visionaries came together to pave the way for soccer in the United States – is truly merging our past with the present, while demonstrating a 100%% commitment to the future of the game and our organization in the U.S."
Back to Home Page